The next eight games could determine the Spurs’ fate if they could continue their playoff streak or become a lottery team. Either way, they’re both winners that prepare to compete for the coming years. For the record, the Spurs have a winning record against the teams that they will play compared to the four other teams (Memphis, Phoenix, Sacramento, New Orleans).
The Spurs are 6-6 with two wins against Utah, 1-1 against the Rockets and Kings, 1- 0 versus Pelicans, 1-2 against Grizzlies, and 0-1 versus the Nuggets. The Spurs had an easier schedule compared to the Memphis and Portland, but the Pelicans got the easiest with a half-game lead against the Spurs. They also play lesser games with only 63 games that could affect the percentage that they could use to determine the ninth seed. Those Spurs six losses, only two games are not even close. Without the service of LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs will adjust to some big men like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Rudy Gobert. They will likely rely big on Jakob Poeltl to help minimize these big men inside the paint. The Spurs are winning in three quarters against the Nuggets and Rockets until blowing it in the final quarter.
The first two games for the Spurs must be win game to set the momentum and to get ahead which could pressure other teams. This is a winnable game for the Spurs even Ja Morant is playing on the next level winning Rookie of the Year. Same with a healthy Sacramento Kings. The Spurs had enough premier defender to guard these guys. While the game against Rockets could be an entertaining one the way they played the last two games. On the other hand, the Jazz, Nuggets, and Sixers could be a tough one for the Spurs as they have no enough depth of big men. Jakob Poeltl could be tested well but he responds well if minutes are given to him.
Gregg Popovich needs to employ more minutes for Dejounte Murray and Derrick White to play together. Starts Lonnie Walker and more time than Bryn Forbes, Keldon Johnson first than Marco Belinelli. The Spurs are proven to be a winner when they opt-in to give more minutes on their young guns who can play both ends. Spurs had a better chance when Murray and White had more responsibility. While Walker and Johnson give excellent defensive output that lacks from Bryn Forbes and Belinelli.
All-season the Spurs are at the bottom of the league with the common starters they have. DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes don’t bring too much on the table but one-dimensional offense. The opposition is more dangerous offensively with multiple threats on the court. The team’s fate is on how they should adjust on a rotation that doesn’t work for them. They had a small sample which one could look better that give them more chances to win not only now but for the coming future.