The Spur’s two losses were against Los Angeles teams. But they show the potential to getting better each game. Both games they allowed only 103 points against the team that had the top five players in the league now. First losing to the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard takes 38 field goal attempts to score 34 which is less efficient. While with the Lakers they need an extended minute with LeBron James and Anthony Davis to seal the close win. Opposing teams did this because the Spurs had a great bench.
When the second unit came in they chop the deficit which they can give extra minutes of rest for starters. The more they stay on the bench means they are healthy and still efficient to produce. They can outplay the opposing bench, Spurs had Derrick White, Rudy Gay, Jakob Poeltl, Patty Mills, Marco Bellinelli and Demarre Carroll off the bench. These guys had enough experience in big games, played deep run on playoffs. Most of the championship teams had a depth bench which the Spurs also had the same success in 2014. The bench played a huge role, it can avoid injury or too much usage of players.
The Spurs just getting better every game. With the two losses, LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 14 points which is something unacceptable. Without the offensive burst of big man All-Star, it’s hard for the offense to score if they can’t dominate the paint. With the Spurs roster, only Aldridge can do those things. With him clicking on his shot, they had a lot of options.
Demarre Carroll already playing which means Pop figured out where to put him on the rotation. The veteran responded with good numbers. He runs in transition offense, moves without the ball and played hard nose defense. Demarre Carroll had a good experience in Atlanta Hawks with a good run in 2015. Same he did in Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets.
The Spurs, we know that they had minutes restrictions to Dejounte Murray. The game that a loss could be a win if he finished the game. Against the Lakers when the scored was tied at 90 Murray sit out. His backup point guard Derrick White played with him all but 5 seconds through six games. Of course when the game really counts they will play together and it will be a nightmare for any opposing backcourts. The defense will adjust they will not going to rely on DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes to guard as they did to Kawhi Leonard. The switch that Lakers did with Anthony Davis to DeRozan is a perfect mismatch. The Spurs had a great defense that playing well now which they can develop later in the season.
They faced the four teams that rank ahead of them before the season started and beaten the two of them. They are the two Western Conference finalists last season. The Portland Trail Blazers had an electric backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. They are one of the most improved teams the last offseason which they add Hassan Whiteside and Kent Bazemore. While the Golden State Warriors without Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry but they had two All-Star of Draymond Green and De Angelo Russell. These two went ahead of ESPN NBA rankings than any Spurs player. The Clippers had no Paul George to dominate the Spurs.
The Spurs had a lot of work to do before they achieve the elite status once they had.