Grades: Spurs vs. Magic – Preseason Game #1

The San Antonio Spurs started off the 2019-20 preseason action by getting thrashed by the Orlando Magic by a final score of 125-89. The Spurs trailed by two points at the end of the first quarter, 27-25. But after getting obliterated in the middle two periods, San Antonio was behind 100-67 heading into the fourth quarter. That’s when super-extended-garbage-time commenced. 

Should the Spurs be worried? Nah, this was a meaningless preseason game made even more meaningless after the Spurs decided to have DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli, DeMarre Carroll and Trey Lyles “rest” and watch from the sidelines. 

The Magic, on the other hand, had all their guns available and used their regular season rotation for much of the first three quarters. Considering Orlando made the playoffs last season and brought back the same core, a blowout wasn’t surprising given the circumstances.

Spurs Grades In The Preseason Opener

LaMarcus Aldridge
7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 turnovers in 13 minutes
3-for-5 from the floor, 1-for-1 on threes

On San Antonio’s first possession, LaMarcus Aldridge drilled a three-pointer off of a pick-and-pop. While I was hopeful after that play that Aldridge shooting threes would be a featured part of this team’s halfcourt offense, we didn’t see that action again for the rest of the evening. All in all, though, Aldridge appears to be in shape and moved pretty well. He ran the court with ease and had a few good moments defensively. 
Grade: B

Dejounte Murray
11 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 turnovers in 15 minutes
3-for-7 from the floor, 1-for-1 on threes, 4-for-4 at the line

To begin the ballgame, Dejounte Murray was too excited to be back. He airballed his first jumper, picked up a couple reach fouls and was tripping over himself defensively. Eventually, Murray settled in and played well. On offense, he was extremely aggressive and was constantly forcing the action. While he was out of control at times, he showed promise both playmaking- and passing-wise. Most notable is the fact that he looked nothing like the passive offensive player he was two seasons ago. On defense, after a slow start early on, Murray regained his footing and illustrated why he’s so valuable on that end. When he wasn’t playing the passing lanes or pressuring the ball, he was seamlessly switching off onto a big man or grabbing a contested rebound. 
Grade: B+

Bryn Forbes
24 points and 2 assists in 23 minutes
9-for-13 from the floor, 5-for-6 on threes, 1-for-1 at the line

If it wasn’t for Bryn Forbes’ hot hand, the Spurs would have lost this game by … 50 points? He was a one-man offensive firecracker for much of the night. The offense featured a whole lot of plays in which either Forbes came off screens or had the ball in his hands in a pick-and-roll set. It’ll be interesting to see if Forbes remains a focal point in the offense when the lineup is at full strength. From what he showed against the Magic, he looks ready for the regular season. His jumper looks smooth, he appears to be in great shape and he’s brimming with confidence. 
Grade: A

Lonnie Walker IV
8 points, 5 assists and 2 turnovers in 25 minutes
3-for-8 from the floor, 0-for-1 on threes, 2-for-2 at the line

The good: Lonnie Walker IV exhibited a lightning fast first step, especially when he had a defender rotating over to him. He had a few really smart, really sharp passes in transition and within halfcourt sets. He was attentive to his defensive responsibilities. The bad: He could have been much more aggressive on offense. With DeRozan out, the Spurs needed Walker to pick up more of the slack but he was too often thinking pass. A couple times he turned down clear lanes in favor of a tough pass. Defensively, while his focus was good, his aggressiveness was lacking at times. He too often was simply along for the ride instead of trying to impact play on that end.
Grade: B-

Jakob Poeltl
4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and two turnovers in 14 minutes
2-for-4 from the floor

Jakob Poeltl tried to show off an extended repertoire on the offensive end with iffy results. More often than not, he was getting in the way in the halfcourt sets. He was best on offense when he ran the court and made cuts away from the ball. Defensively, he was fine. He played with effort and was by far the best big man on the team in terms of protecting the lane.
Grade: B

Derrick White
3 points, 6 assists, 2 steals and 3 turnovers in 17 minutes
1-for-9 from the floor, 1-for-3 on threes

Derrick White came off the bench and, with Patty Mills resting, he played only at point guard. It turned out to be a forgettable night at the office. He was aggressive enough on offense but he spent much of the night fumbling and bumbling. White didn’t look confident with his decision-making and as a result he was second-guessing his shots and was slow with his passes. Things went from bad to worse when White came in to run the second unit. Defensively, it wasn’t much better. He didn’t defend well on the perimeter and wasn’t making much of an impact away from the ball.
Grade: D

Rudy Gay
4 points, 6 rebounds and 3 turnovers in 18 minutes
2-for-6 from the floor, 0-for-1 on threes

I wasn’t impressed with how Rudy Gay played tonight. He looked slow and lethargic against Orlando. Let’s hope it was a case of preseason boredom. He had trouble getting separation from his man out on the perimeter and spent much of his time on defense standing around and watching. The only bright spot was his rebounding.
Grade: D

Keldon Johnson
7 points and two rebounds in 23 minutes
2-for-14 from the field, 0-for-3 on threes, 3-for-5 at the line

Well, Keldon Johnson hustled, at least. He wasn’t bashful about throwing his body around or going hard after loose balls. His actual basketball play was underwhelming, though. On offense, Johnson’s dribbling was okay but he resorted to no-touch runners and leaners too often. On defense, he rarely had a positive impact, as the Magic had little problem going around him. Johnson isn’t big or athletic on the NBA level so he’s going to have to work on his skills to make it in the league. Tonight showed that he’s going to be a work in progress for time being. 
Grade: D+

Dedric Lawson
5 rebounds and 2 turnovers in 20 minutes
0-for-1 from the field

Ouch. Not a promising first outing for Dedric Lawson. Offensively, his rolls to the rim were so weak and timid that it clogged things up for the rest of the team and resulted in a handful of turnovers. To make matters worse, it looked like he didn’t know where to go when playing away from the ball. On defense, he didn’t show much nimbleness outside of the paint and wasn’t effective guarding the rim, either. He does appear to have a knack for rebounding, at least.
Grade: D

Daulton Hommes
3 rebounds in 19 minutes
0-for-1 from the field, 0-for-1 on threes

Eye test-wise, I was somewhat intrigued by Daulton Hommes. He has legitimate size at 6-foot-8 for a swingman and seems to move pretty well. He had a quick release and good form on the one shot he attempted. In terms of tangible production, though, Hommes didn’t do much. Defensively, he was murdered off the dribble. His closeouts were especially poor. Offensively, he didn’t show he could do anything if the defense took away his shot. I’m intrigued enough to pay attention to what he’ll do in the G League but he’s obviously nowhere near ready for the NBA.
Grade: D

Chimezie Metu
6 points and 3 rebounds in 16 minutes
3-for-4 from the field, 0-for-1 on threes

Physically, Chimezie Metu looked good. He appears to be in better shape than the last time we saw him in San Antonio. His quickness and litheness were impressive for a big man. Metu ran the court well and was quick in the halfcourt. Unfortunately, I didn’t see evidence that his basketball IQ is on the upswing. Defensively, he was particularly poor. Metu was terrible defending in the paint and really weak on the boards. His rotation were non-existent. On offense, he did alright for himself but didn’t show much awareness regarding team concepts. Metu’s tools are promising but he needs to start to put things together.
Grade: C-

Drew Eubanks
5 points and 3 rebounds in 16 minutes
1-for-4 from the field, 3-for-4 at the line

On offense, Drew Eubanks showed a willingness to shoot his jumper and illustrated sneaky athleticism when going to the rim. He probably could have passed the ball more than he did but his assertiveness was helpful with all the struggling going on around him. Defensively, he was burly enough but he wasn’t skillful enough. The Magic routinely used Eubanks’ aggression against him by drawing fouls and faking him out of position.
Grade: C

Quinndary Weatherspoon
7 points and 2 turnovers in 12 minutes
3-for-6 from the floor, 1-for-2 at the line

I thought Quinndary Weatherspoon did pretty well tonight. Comparatively, at least. Like we saw in summer league, he plays with a bulldog demeanor, puts his head down and gets to work. He was strong when driving into the lane and exhibited flashes of playmaking ability. He sometimes overpenetrated but given the lack of spacing, not much more could have been expected. Weatherspoon also got after it defensively and his quick hands on the perimeter helped disrupt the Magic at times.
Grade: B

Luka Samanic
3 points and 3 rebounds in 8 minutes
1-for-3 from the field, 1-for-2 at the line

Luka Samanic didn’t play until the fourth quarter so Orlando’s starters were long gone by the time he entered. That said, the first round pick looked the part of a mobile, modern big man. His switchability on defense intrigued and he was physical on the boards. I didn’t see much hesitation on the offensive end and he seemed to reasonably understand where to go. Hopefully Samanic gets a longer leash at some point during preseason play.
Grade: B