After two games the Spurs went perfect. They win against the better teams despite being down in double figures. This time against a contender in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors. With experts ranks the San Antonio Spurs as one of the worst teams in the league, and ESPN put the team-best player at 82nd best only they showed the league what they can capable of. Even this is only two games and a very long way to go, the Spurs are fun to watch compare to last season that starts 3-0. Gregg Popovich put more responsibility on the young guys by giving more minutes and closing the games. The trio of young guys with Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, and Lonnie Walker IV is playing major minutes with DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge in the starting five.
Dejounte Murray had his first career triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists as he turned over the ball just twice after the point guard made a 21/6/9 in their first win. Murray looks been patient with his decision making and finding his teammates on the right spot. After being paired with Walker in the backcourt and Johnson he’s not being burned too much defensively which helps him to create more offensively.
The leadership of DeMar DeRozan was a big part of the Spurs win after putting 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists against the Memphis Grizzlies he followed a huge clutch performance after hitting a three-pointer with 67 seconds left on the game and down one on which he made three times in the game at four tries. The 12-year veteran picks up his player option with the Spurs and showing how much he worth to the team. Against his former team, DeRozan had 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists. He let the young guys get their confidence in the game early on by being a facilitator. Then when the team needs him, he contributed big time. DeRozan is not shooting volume also but in a very efficient game in which he shot more than 50% from the field.
Putting more responsibility for Walker and Johnson was the great decision made by Popovich. Walker averaged 15 points in two games while Johnson had scored in double figures. The third-year guard out of Miami made his way to the basket more often without hesitation. Lonnie Walker improved his decision-making while finding his men perfect when to take a shot. Been aggressive to the lane and converting either his layups and dunks. He’s been very dangerous in the open court. While Keldon Johnson continues to shine after that bubble performance. Offensively he needs to work on his outside shots. The funny thing is he’s not afraid of a collision with somebody bigger than him. Gregg Popovich gives him a huge responsibility to defend Paskal Siacam which the Raptors All-Star struggle all night.
With LaMarcus Aldridge diminishing his role offensively, the veteran gladly accepted it. He barely touches the ball in the post and worked for himself offensively but he’s been doing efficiently on the pick and pop with Dejounte Murray. Aldridge not forcing the issue for a contested fade away. That sacrifice was a huge start for the team who missed the postseason for the first time in 23 years.
With Derrick White still out due to injury, the Spurs are not in full strength yet. Derrick White was the second-best player in the bubble for San Antonio. The team locked him up for the next four years. The fourth-year veteran had enough experience to help this team long term. While Spurs lottery pick Devin Vassel is slowly gaining his confidence. He made 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and a block for just 12 minutes of action. While Patty Mills continues to spark the offense on the second unit, the Spurs is in good hands.
The season may be too early but this the best Spurs who are young with potential and they are showing that their time is now with a veteran that been highly motivates the team. Plus a handful of cap space that they can play within the next offseason.