August 4, 2021

Spurs need El Cuatro’s production to win more games

The San Antonio Spurs went to just 1-5 on their last six games and looks they’re fading out of the top eight with a game ahead of Memphis Grizzlies. Spurs had the worst record at home among the top 20 teams in the league, also worst against the Western Conference. In March, the team went to record 6-9 and a couple of 30 point losses. They are 3-6 at home, 1-4 at the last five. The best win came against the Chicago Bulls on the road when they came back from a 23 point deficit. In most losses, the Spurs bench just had a poor game which cost them especially when Patty Mills and Rudy Gay’s game faltered. For sure San Antonio Spurs missed the production of Lonnie Walker IV which provides a lot of intangibles coming off the bench. Outside of the starters, Walker can change the game as he showed recently after he makes the game more competitive against the Milwaukee Bucks as he manages to scores a career-high with 31 points, on a 13 of 21 shooting and 5 of 9 from the arc.

Lonnie Walker had multiples games which he struggles with big-time to be consistent with his production. In 37 games this season, the Spurs was 19-18 with him as he started 30 times. Lonnie Walker scored in double figures 24 times, as he got the worst shooting against the Minnesota Timberwolves when tallied 2 points for 1 of 10 from the field. But regardless of bad shooting, Lonnie Walker is the only guy who can create for himself from any part of the basketball court. With these skills, he’s the only guy who can initiate and facilitate to his teammates which can’t be seen on the stat sheet. Rudy Gay is a scorer but isn’t a playmaker and already lost his steps while can’t stay to his man defensively. Patty Mills was a shooter but the lack of size makes it difficult for him to create without using picks. Lonnie is the package of two veterans, he can put pressure defensively while can be a good shooter or creator offensively. He’s also the second-best shooter behind Mills from the arc shooting 35.6% per game, although this number went down compared to last season. All Walker needs to do is to be a little more selfish offensively which he’s no doing consistently. With the lack of aggressiveness, Popovich chooses Patty Mills often to finish the game rather than Lonnie Walker IV. This thing could be bad in a situation where they need defensive play which Walker can provide. This could be understood as the Skywalker had experienced the first time to be given more opportunities compared for the last two years.

When the Spurs struggle offensively mostly from the paint they need a shooter which neither from the Spurs guard can provide in shooting from the arc. When Walker gets hots, the Spurs had a great chance of winning. The Spurs went 12-12 when Walker scored in double figures. Among the current Spur, Lonnie Walker IV still had the most upside player. At 22 he already had skilled that can put the Spurs into the next level if Gregg Popovich trusts him more. He’s the second-most in missing games due to injury behind Derrick White which stops him to continue to develop more of his game. After that career night in Milwaukee, he was just limited to nine minutes and missed the next four games.

Without the production of Lonnie Walker IV, the Spurs bench struggled to get points and the flow becomes stagnant. Rudy Gay was an isolation player, Patty Mills was a shooter while Devin Vassell has been a spot-up shooter so far. Without DeMar DeRozan, Murray or White, on the court it’s hard for them to find buckets. The average scoring of Walker has surely missed it which cost them too much when he’s out. Without him, these three guys were burned to score more points.

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