The San Antonio Spurs improved to 2-2 in preseason after pulling out a 101-100 victory on the road against the Orlando Magic. The Spurs led by 18 points early in the fourth quarter before the Magic made a furious run to tie the game. At the end, San Antonio made just enough plays to tally a victory.
Spurs at Magic: Final Grades
This was a completely uninspiring effort from White. From sloppy passes to shaky ball-handling to halfhearted defense, he didn’t do much to indicate that he’s ready for the regular season. To make matters worse, White started passing up open shots as the game progressed.
Scoring-wise, Murray was really good. When he attacked in the open court and in pick-and-roll sets, positive things usually happened. His jumper looked smooth and he was more under control on the defensive end. That said, Murray’s playmaking for others was limited and his court vision was narrow at times.
Johnson played another strong half of basketball. This time, his strong half was the first half. When he was on, Johnson took smart shots, attacked with precision and also authored a couple of impressive passes. Defensively, his effort seemed to come and go.
The Good: McDermott’s movement was a plus and his perimeter shot opened space for his teammates to operate. He also had a few better-than-advertised passes while on the move. The Bad: McDermott’s finishing left something to be desired, while his play within crowds wasn’t clean enough. He efforted on defense but his effectiveness was iffy.
Poeltl rebounded extremely well, finished well and usually made the right passes. On the flipside, he sometimes held the ball too long and his rim protection was subpar based on his normal standards.
Vassell looked solid. I liked his aggression on offense and he was shooting the ball with confidence. Defensively, his quickness and anticipation jumped off the screen. Vassell limited his mistakes and was continuously a positive force on the court.
Bates-Diop got his most extended run of the preseason and there were positives and negatives. The Good: His length was very helpful on defense, he was a capable ball-handler in transition and exhibited flashes of aggressiveness on offense. His overall basketball IQ is obviously higher than average. The Bad: Bates-Diop’s lack of athleticism hurt him when trying to finish at the rim. Even his unending length doesn’t help when it’s difficult for him to get off the ground. Passing-wise, he could have been better and quicker when making decisions.
Lonnie Walker IV
This was far and away the best outing for Walker in preseason. He was given more ball-handling duties with the second unit this game and he made sure that decision paid immediate dividends. Not only was he creating shots for himself, he was breaking down the defense to create lanes for others. Defensively, Walker paid more attention and made a few plays with his timely help.
Eubanks did more of what we’ve come to expect from him this preseason. He hustled, he threw his body around and he once again showed off a surprising amount of awareness on offense. He didn’t really move the needle this game but Eubanks continues to look like the favorite to be the backup center to begin the season.
When in doubt, Bryn Forbes launched the ball towards the rim. With the Magic closing out fast on him, he did a lot of his damage in the mid-range and going to the rim. There were times when he should have passed the ball but his overall offensive output was good enough. Defensively, Forbes was uncharacteristically solid, particularly in terms of the help he was providing off the ball.
It was another roller coaster ride of an evening for Young. He was active on the boards and also swiped three steals. But his lack of footspeed on the perimeter was a glaring issue whenever he got stuck on a smaller player. Offensively, most of his passes were well thought out but otherwise he looks uncomfortable on that end.
Wieskamp played the final ten minutes. Unfortunately, he looked a step behind the action most of the time. He had trouble doing anything positive on either offense or defense.
Primo had his ups and downs as he played the game’s last nine minutes but I thought there were more positives than negatives. He confidently attempted momentous shots and knocked down his fair share. His ball-handling and passing were loose but he kept competing. Defensively, his switching speed and physicality were impressive given his age and experience level.
Samanic was thrown into the frying pan with four minutes on the clock — and he held up okay. He looked to attack right away, which was good to see even though his aggression rarely led to fruitful outcomes. Defensively, he moved his feet and avoided fouls.
I think it’s safe to say Pop has stumbled upon the starting five that makes the most sense right now. The rest of his rotation is still a work in progress. I liked that he gave Bates-Diop an extended look, especially since the Spurs will need to make a decision soon on whether to keep him or release him. Considering how well the pair was playing, I wanted Pop to give more minutes for Walker and Vassell.