A Fan Peers Into His Crystal Ball…
This has been one of the most interesting seasons in recent memory for the San Antonio Spurs. The organization seems to be in rebuilding mode, yet the product on the court doesn’t reflect any uncertainty going forward. Watching them has been fun and entertaining.
Veteran leadership stabilizes the young core and the results have been striking. As of today, they stand six games over .500 and in the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings.
So, I had the chance to gaze deeply into my Official “Bob Knight See The Future Water Glass” earlier today.
The images of the future were about as clear as Knight’s were of Damon Bailey all those years back, but I decided to share them with you anyway.
The Remaining Schedule
My “goddamn cheap piece of crystal” didn’t provide the schedule, so I had to crunch the numbers myself. They look like this: The Spurs have 34 games remaining. 18 of those games are on the road, 16 at home. There are 8 back to back situations sprinkled throughout, with 4 of those happening in San Antonio. There are two splits, where one game is at home and the other is away.
Some Initial Images
At a glance, I think the San Antonio Spurs could end up as high as the fifth seed or even finish around the tenth seed. I wouldn’t be surprised if they fell into the play-in. That wouldn’t reflect poorly on them though. I say that because anything can happen and usually does. The crystal glass doesn’t take possible injuries into account, so all things being equal, I would venture to say that this team qualifies for the playoffs as the seventh or eighth seed.
Once in the playoffs, this will be a dangerous team, one that a lot of teams will want to avoid. They are a problem. Various players provide the scoring punch. Eleven different players have been leading scorers in games this season. Offensively, they are a balanced squad. If there is one player to focus on, it would definitely be DeMar DeRozan.
DeRozan has come a long way since the trade for Kawhi Leonard, and he’s been a consummate professional. He’s clearly a better player now than when he arrived, and has become the closer as of late. DeMar used to struggle down the stretch of games. That was evident in the playoffs when he was in Toronto, especially when the Raptors were getting sent home by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Upon Further Review
At the risk of sounding like a hopeless homer, I have to say that every player who gets meaningful minutes has improved over the last year. It’s useful to remember that this is basically the same roster as last season. Derrick White was a revelation in the bubble and he has continued his progress after returning from injury. Lonnie Walker IV shows flashes when he’s not cheerfully out of control. Keldon Johnson is a beastly, fearless player and will likely be an all-star soon. Jakob Poeltl, who arrived with DeRozan from Toronto, has provided a massive presence inside with his 7’1” frame and deft footwork.
I’m just going to say it…
They will beat the Utah Jazz in the first round. And this isn’t just trendy Jazz hate either. I actually like this Jazz team, unlike the Malone-Stockton versions of old. Donovan Mitchell is one of my favorite players to watch in fact. I think the San Antonio Spurs match up favorably with the Jazz. The aforementioned Poeltl will tie Rudy Gobert up nicely. I can see it clearly. The Spurs will have several different defenders assigned to make life difficult for Mitchell. Defense will provide the positive results. They can and will win four games in the first round against Utah.
The cheap piece of crystal said one final thing regarding the Spurs. It quoted William Shakespeare, who may or may not have had a handle. Apparently he said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves”. I take that to mean that the Spurs will decide their future on the hardwood. I tend to agree.
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