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  1. #1
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    "We're going to let him run, take advantage of his athleticism. Players will have to run like they've never had to run before because he's going to go. And if they want the ball, they're going to have to run with him." -- Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich on Dejounte Murray


    While media day was as boring as it usually is for the Spurs, the above comment by Pop gave Spurs fans a glimpse into the coaching staffís mindset. How San Antonio would manage the spacing in an offense with at least three limited shooters in DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Dejounte Murray is the biggest question mark heading into the 2018-19 campaign. The answer, if Pop is to be believed, is the Spurs plan to run early and often with their third-year point guard leading the way.

    Athletically, Murray is capable. Of players who played at least 400 minutes last season, Murray was second in the NBA with an average speed of 4.87 miles per hour, just behind Ish Smith at 4.88 MPH. Offensively, the Spurs point guard was even faster, averaging 5.26 MPH.

    Interestingly, though, last year Murrayís speed didnít translate to the Spurs playing at a fast pace when he was on the court. Overall, the Spurs had the second slowest pace in the league at 97.16 possessions per 48 minutes. With Murray running the show, the Spurs pace was 97.18. Thatís almost identical to San Antonioís pace of 97.15 when Tony Parker was running point.

    Why did the Spurs play at such a slow pace last season? Look at LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs pace was only 95.64 when Aldridge was on the court, far and away the slowest mark for any starter in the league last year. When Aldridge was on the bench, San Antonioís pace was 101.72, which would have the sixth fastest mark in the league, just behind the Golden State Warriors.

    (While the Spurs played faster on offense with Aldridge off the court, they didnít play better. With Aldridge on the court, San Antonio averaged 110.5 points per 100 possessions. With the bigman on the bench, it dropped to 105 points per 100 possessions.)

    Logically, it makes sense that the pace would plummet with Aldridge on the court. No matter who was running point guard, slowing it down and passing it to Aldridge in the low block was almost always the best option. Aldridge delivered last season and did a commendable job carrying the Spurs to the playoffs.

    That said, Popís comments tell us he wants to change that up. In fact, reading his quote again, it may very well be a subtle hint to Aldridge: if he wants the ball, heís going to have to keep up with Murray and company.

    DeMar DeRozan will help the Spurs push the pace. The Raptors played at their fastest when DeRozan was in the game.

    DeRozan 100.84
    Ibaka 100.81
    Lowry 100.74
    Anunoby 100.23
    Valaniunas 100.13
    Miles 100.00
    Powell 99.41
    Poeltl 99.32
    Siakam 98.61
    VanVleet 98.48
    Wright 98.34

    Instead of Pop trying to get DeRozan to play at Aldridgeís speed, heís going to try to make Aldridge run to play at DeRozanís pace. Murray will be commanded to make that happen.

    Itís going to be fascinating to see how that plays out. While Murray is undoubtedly capable of running and pushing the pace, last season he was inept at finishing transition opportunities. Though he led the Spurs in fast break possessions, the team scored at a rate of only 0.95 points per transition possession, which was in the 21st percentile of the NBA.

    Finishing off transition opportunities is another area where DeRozan will help; he was in the 80th percentile in points per fast break possession league-wide last year. Two other players who can help makes Popís wishes come true: Jakob Poeltl and Davis Bertans.

    Poeltl found himself in transition opportunities more than two and a half times more often than Aldridge and he finished in the 98th percentile in terms of turning those opportunities into points. That shouldnít be a huge surprise if youíve seen how the Austrian can run the floor:







    Bertansí transition prowess is a little bit of a surprise. He was the only Spur with an average speed faster than Murray on offense (5.32 MPH) and he also was in the 95th percentile league-wide at turning fast break opportunities into points. (The two-year, $14 million contract he signed this offseason makes more sense if the Spurs really do want to run more this season.)

    Can Pop push the pace this season with Murray and DeRozan leading the charge or will the Spurs revert to what worked last season? If the pace does increase, can Aldridge keep up? If not, will Aldridge be happy if his touches precipitously decline? Will Poeltl or Bertans get a starting gig in order to maximize a run-and-gun offense? Will a faster pace mitigate the lack of three-point shooting in the starting lineup?

    Get the popcorn ready. This will, as I stated earlier, be fascinating.

  2. #2
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    Yes, and it could also be turnover city. It's a little nerve wrecking becuase whenever I saw him turn on the jets, seems like there were a lot of turnovers. But I guess he coached Manu and let him play with reckless abandon. That worked out fairly well. Maybe this will too.

    Pau just moved further down the bench with this strategy.

  3. #3
    Hope springs eternal. SAGirl's Avatar
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    Something to watch out for.
    I didn't know Poltl was significant in transition scoring, so it should be interesting to see if he's starting games at some point in the season and holding on to the spot legit.

    It's going to be worth watching to see if Bertans really can hold on to a rotation spot. His contract says the Spurs believe in him, but he's never held a rotation spot in a firm fashion, in a way that leaves no doubt he is the best option at his position.

    Derozan will do his.

    I didn't know that Murray was so poor in transition. He certainly misread some passes in transition and missed opportunities at times. Also, he didn't seem to try to cross over people and try to get by them as much as I would have thought for a player with his athletic gifts and long strides. The criticism on his ballhandling was legit. Hopefully the dreaded high dribble is improved and he is craftier.

  4. #4
    ಥ﹏ಥ DAF86's Avatar
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    If he really wants to run he can't play a traditional lineup with Aldridge at the 4 and Gasol (or Poetl) at the 5, like many are anticipating.

  5. #5
    D up! exstatic's Avatar
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    If he really wants to run he can't play a traditional lineup with Aldridge at the 4 and Gasol (or Poetl) at the 5, like many are anticipating.
    That's pretty ignorant. Didn't you read or watch anything above? THE POODLE CAN RUN!!!!!

    One more thought: LaMarcus has apparently been working on his 3 ball. If he's consistently trailing the break, and I consider it likely, he may get all he can eat of transition threes. He'll likely get a lot of open looks.

  6. #6
    Every game is game 1 Seventyniner's Avatar
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    That's pretty ignorant. Didn't you read or watch anything above? THE POODLE CAN RUN!!!!!

    One more thought: LaMarcus has apparently been working on his 3 ball. If he's consistently trailing the break, and I consider it likely, he may get all he can eat of transition threes. He'll likely get a lot of open looks.
    The one video I saw had LMA spotting up in the corner. That gives DeRozan more room to operate and is a shorter shot, on par with the long 2s LMA likes shooting so much.

    I hope that LMA would just extend his range on the pick-and-pop to the three-point line, but he's had years to do that and never has. I'm afraid that that ship has sailed.

  7. #7
    ಥ﹏ಥ DAF86's Avatar
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    That's pretty ignorant. Didn't you read or watch anything above? THE POODLE CAN RUN!!!!!

    One more thought: LaMarcus has apparently been working on his 3 ball. If he's consistently trailing the break, and I consider it likely, he may get all he can eat of transition threes. He'll likely get a lot of open looks.
    Sure, for a 7 footer. No team with two traditional bigmen will ever be among the leaders on pace on today's NBA.

  8. #8
    Satanic Point Guard Stabula's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Veteran cd021's Avatar
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    If he really wants to run he can't play a traditional lineup with Aldridge at the 4 and Gasol (or Poetl) at the 5, like many are anticipating.
    Not necessarily. Parker was able to get out and run with Duncan and Splitter playing in the same units. Duncan was an excellent outlet passer, Gasol- since he play's closer to the rim should be able to do the same thing.


    That's pretty ignorant. Didn't you read or watch anything above? THE POODLE CAN RUN!!!!!

    One more thought: LaMarcus has apparently been working on his 3 ball. If he's consistently trailing the break, and I consider it likely, he may get all he can eat of transition threes. He'll likely get a lot of open looks.
    Valid point; teams tend to focus on stopping ball in transition, LMA's man might lose track of him, leaving Aldridge open at the top of the 3 pt line. He has range out to that point but he's been pretty spotty as a 3pt shooter and has a tendency to stop shooting them if they aren't going in, so I don't know if their will be a discernible jump in attempts per game.

    Finding out Poeltl is good in transition makes since, he actually reminds me of a much higher BBIQ version of Javelle McGee from his Washington days-tall, quick and athletic and running hard in transition. I don't expect him to be named a starter over Gasol but he fits with what Pop wants to do.
    Last edited by cd021; 09-27-2018 at 11:29 PM.

  10. #10
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    I'll give it 2 months beforr Pop is forced to revert back to Aldridge. Unless, Murray improves his dribble and his vision, this isnt going to be a working strategy

  11. #11
    Chopper Ed Helicopter Jones's Avatar
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    I think once LMA pouts about a lack of touches the Spursí seven seconds or less offense will be abandoned.

  12. #12
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    I think once LMA pouts about a lack of touches the Spursí seven seconds or less offense will be abandoned.
    The Spurs dont have the personel to run seven seconds or less let alone "run". They dont have the dribbling, the slashing nor the defensive a en to create a "run" offense.

    They will attempt to see if they can do this with Murray, but i dont believe for a second hes good enough or consistent enough for it to be a viable option.


    Their best bet is to hope forbes improves, mills finds his shot back, white becomes a shooter and Derozan becoming a shot creator that can take advantage of the space he creates. All of which is a tough ask and even achived is a top 5 team in the west at best.

    Derzoan is a great shot creator, but a shot creator for himself. He isnt tony or even kawhi who knew how to use spaces created by their own idnividual brilliance.


    So really their best bet is to hope derozan can attack the basket enough to compliment aldridge who undoubtley is the only player the spurs should be trusting to create a system with.

  13. #13
    Veteran cd021's Avatar
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    I'll give it 2 months beforr Pop is forced to revert back to Aldridge. Unless, Murray improves his dribble and his vision, this isnt going to be a working strategy

    The Spurs dont have the personel to run seven seconds or less let alone "run". They dont have the dribbling, the slashing nor the defensive a en to create a "run" offense.

    They will attempt to see if they can do this with Murray, but i dont believe for a second hes good enough or consistent enough for it to be a viable option.


    Their best bet is to hope forbes improves, mills finds his shot back, white becomes a shooter and Derozan becoming a shot creator that can take advantage of the space he creates. All of which is a tough ask and even achived is a top 5 team in the west at best.

    Derzoan is a great shot creator, but a shot creator for himself. He isnt tony or even kawhi who knew how to use spaces created by their own idnividual brilliance.


    So really their best bet is to hope derozan can attack the basket enough to compliment aldridge who undoubtley is the only player the spurs should be trusting to create a system with.
    -Pop saying that he wants Murray to push the ball and for others to get out and run, isn't seven seconds or less. The Spurs actually did this against that 05' 7 seconds or less. They were a half-court team that was able to get easy buckets in transition by having Manu and Parker get out and run, attacking unset defenses.

    -Pushing tempo, can be something like Gasol grabbing a defensive rebound and throwing a quick outlet to Murray or DeRozen near half court so they can get out in transition and attack in open space. Murray has definitely shown flashes of being able to do that, and I don't see any reason why Gay and DeRozen can't do the same. I think they have enough players to be able this style and it may only end up being when Murray is in the game.

    -Agree with Timvp, Aldridge may be the player that Pop was alluding too. LMA is actually pretty mobile, so if he needs to run the he should be able too. Spurs slowed the pace down to play to Aldridge's strengths but he wants to the Spurs to play with pace this season. Its a new season and he is going to have to adjust, maybe it is trailing behind the play and taking 3's like Exstatic mentioned.


    -Murray's vision is fine, I think his dribbling could definitely be tighter. I would say DDR is actually a pretty good creator for others too, not just himself. I think he may end up being the primary ball handler in the SL with Murray as a secondary option.
    Last edited by cd021; 09-28-2018 at 04:29 AM.

  14. #14
    Remember kobyz's Avatar
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    murray is the most overrated defender i ever saw, being an all defensive team selection is delusion, he can't lock up anyone on defense...

  15. #15
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    Great write up, however I think theres a big misconception in regards to LaMarcus and the Spurs last year. Yes, LaMarcus had a great year but only 44.8% of his offense came from post ups, and he actually shot better off rolls (51%) than post ups last season.

    Majority of his offense last season was a by product of the phenomenal shape he was in to get to better spots on the floor off rolls, cuts, put backs on the offensive glass, early seals, spot ups ( which were less frequent from the previous season 2.6 attempts to 1.8 attempts). Spurs were actually a better offensive team from a PPP perspective when they didnt go through him on the post. And to note, only 9% of the offense consisted of going through LMA in the post last season ( he averaged 9.4 post up possessions per game).

    The common misconception is that the Spurs' offense went through LA in the post and they impemented the archaic, work it in & out, style of offense last year ( because in their mind, LA having a great year= post up game was heavily utilized). And that couldnt be more wrong.

    As for Murray, I think a big reason for the decreased paced with him on the floor last season was due to Murray trying to accomodate to Pop by pulling back in transition to get the team in the offense. Murray did this and held back A LOT last season. Now that thats over with, It sounds like Pop is going to finally take off his leash and let him run free, which should be a great addition to the offense ( transition opportunities are always welcomed). I expect Murray to have a big year.
    Last edited by MaNu4Tres; 09-28-2018 at 05:25 AM.

  16. #16
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    Bertans starting at small forward actually makes some sense

    He's bad on perimeter defense, but so is Rudy at this stage in his career.

    Marco isn't any better.

    Bertans struggles rebounding aren't a big deal if he's on the court with Dejounte, LMA, and Pau/Poeltl.

    Besides him running with Dejounte, Bertans adds the shooting the starting lineup needs

    He might be the best of some bad choices

    Better Bertans trying to check guys than Mills

  17. #17
    Machacarredes Chinook's Avatar
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    Bertans starting at small forward actually makes some sense

    He's bad on perimeter defense, but so is Rudy at this stage in his career.

    Marco isn't any better.

    Bertans struggles rebounding aren't a big deal if he's on the court with Dejounte, LMA, and Pau/Poeltl.

    Besides him running with Dejounte, Bertans adds the shooting the starting lineup needs

    He might be the best of some bad choices

    Better Bertans trying to check guys than Mills
    Bertans was another guy whose defensive analytics were surprisingly elite as . He and Forbes scored the best in a number of categories. No freaking idea how that happened or what it means. You could be right about Bertans starting at the three or four.

  18. #18
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    This seems like a bad idea. Murray's decision making is still highly suspect. His ball handling and passing ability in transition could be a train wreck.

  19. #19
    Pronouns: Your/Dad TheGreatYacht's Avatar
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    Lol @ starting Bertrash next to Aldridge and Gasol/Poetl. Spurs season is on the horizon and so are the takes

  20. #20
    Pronouns: Your/Dad TheGreatYacht's Avatar
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    Also, this tells me PATFO was planning on letting that sloth Fathead go all along (unless the league decided his worth was worthless) and thank god for that.

  21. #21
    Veteran james evans's Avatar
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    Yes, and it could also be turnover city. It's a little nerve wrecking becuase whenever I saw him turn on the jets, seems like there were a lot of turnovers. But I guess he coached Manu and let him play with reckless abandon. That worked out fairly well. Maybe this will too.

    Pau just moved further down the bench with this strategy.
    Pau needs to be moved off the team.

  22. #22
    NostraSpurMus phxspurfan's Avatar
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    Like others have said this will make LMA ball not as viable and will remove a big part of the iden y last year that made LMA so effective. Not sure if the gains from Murray running around will make the team or it's record better. We will see if Pop can replicate D'Antoni style ball just as well, or if this is just an experiment that falls on its face. Also what does this mean for old stodgy guys like Gasol and Rudy Gay? They likely can't play a whole season at this pace. They will get hurt.


    Also, like others have said, Murray is not the best finisher. So we shall see, but I think sloppy run and gun is not going to get us a ton of wins, unless Murray works a ton on his finishing and improves markedly in that department. Otherwise good teams will just load up on our finishers on the break and play Murray like Lonzo Ball/Rondo (non shooter). And Murray doesn't have the court vision of Ball or Rondo, so he may not be so great at finding guys like those two are.

  23. #23
    Veteran SpursDynasty85's Avatar
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    With such a deep team. Running and playing at a furious pace will help. I believe slowing it down will be easy for us if we need to.

  24. #24
    Veteran superbigtime's Avatar
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    hate to say it but DJ is the most important player right now. Not a shooter, distributor, ball handler, or a finisher. IQ certainly in question. If he fails we are f'd.

  25. #25
    Veteran rastaspur's Avatar
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    If poetl starts then that will take some pressure off of lma as a floor runner. He can pull up around the 3 point line sometimes as a trailing shooter and have poertl being lead big running the lanes on the break

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