If the experts are correct, wins will be at a premium for the San Antonio Spurs during the 2022-23 campaign. That skepticism shouldn’t come as a surprise to Spurs fans after San Antonio traded away Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal that all but made it official that the franchise has come to terms that a complete rebuild is necessary.
The Spurs are projected to win 24.5 games this season, which is tied with the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers for the fewest projected wins in the league. Last season, the Spurs were 34-48. The previous season, San Antonio finished 33-39. In both seasons, the Spurs advanced to the NBA Play-In Tournament before losing in the first game of the tournament. This season, experts believe the Spurs will be significantly worse.
Difficult Start to the Season
Could the Spurs shock the basketball world and make a playoff push next season? With the way the schedule plays out, fans following the San Antonio Spurs live scores will know early in the season whether the squad is capable of overachieving.
To begin the season, the Spurs have two relatively easy games. The first game of the season for the Spurs is in San Antonio versus the Charlotte Hornets. The second game of the season is in Indiana against the lowly Pacers.
However, after those first two games, things get much, much more difficult for the Spurs. The following 12 games are all against teams that finished with a winning record last season and appear to be primed to make the playoffs this coming season. Teams the Spurs play in this stretch include the Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets.
If the Spurs are going to be as bad as prognosticators expect, San Antonio will likely only be able to muster two to three wins in their first 14 games. On the other hand, if the Spurs have anything close to a .500 record after 14 games, that’ll be an early sign that San Antonio will once again be in the mix to make the playoffs.
The difficulty of the schedule could even extend beyond the first 14 games. In fact, there’s a very real chance that the Spurs won’t have a home game against a team with a sub-.500 record until some point in December.
Another Tough Rodeo Road Trip
When San Antonio’s schedule is released, one of the first things to do is to assess the difficulty of the annual Rodeo Road Trip. This season’s trip looks like another hard one.
Prior to the All-Star break, the Spurs have six road games in ten days — all against Eastern Conference teams. After the break, San Antonio has three more road games. All told, the Spurs will be away from the AT&T Center from February 3rd until March 2nd.
The Homestand After the Rodeo Road Trip
If the Spurs are still in the playoff mix, they will have a golden opportunity to pile up wins following the Rodeo Road Trip. From March 2nd to March 19th, the Spurs play eight of their nine games at home. Additionally, five of the games are against teams that had a losing record last season.
The most notable game during that stretch will undoubtedly be the final contest. That’s when Dejounte Murray and the Atlanta Hawks come to town. It’ll be Murray’s first and only game against the Spurs in San Antonio next season.
Other Reunion Games on the Spurs Schedule
The Spurs will face Lonnie Walker IV and the Los Angeles Lakers on November 25th and November 26th in San Antonio. Derrick White, who the Spurs traded to the Boston Celtics last season, will make his first return trip to San Antonio on January 7th. Bryn Forbes, who was with the Spurs last season before being traded to the Denver Nuggets, will play in San Antonio on October 30th when the Minnesota Timberwolves travel to South Texas.
Difficult End to the Season
Not only is the schedule difficult for the Spurs at the start, it’s also difficult at the end. Of their final 11 contests, only three will take place in San Antonio. The eight road games include daunting contests against the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks.
Considering that both the beginning and the end of the schedule appears to be difficult on paper, it’s not surprising to learn that at least one methodology has the Spurs facing the league’s toughest schedule this coming season.
Not Much Traveling in Preseason
With one of the youngest rosters in the league (including a trio of first round picks in Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley), head coach Gregg Popovich will need to do a lot of teaching this season. Thankfully, the preseason schedule will allow for just that.
Not only are three of San Antonio’s five preseason games at home, one of their road games is a hop, skip and a jump away in Houston. The only real road trip of the preseason game will be a contest against the Jazz in Salt Lake City. Expect Popovich to hold an extended training camp and use the added time to practice more than usual prior to the start of the 2022-23 season.
Looking at the Schedule with Tanking in Mind
Following the Dejounte Murray trade, this is the first time in a long time that wins don’t appear to be the aim for the Spurs. Instead, for the long-term health of the franchise, a lot of losses and a high draft pick is likely what makes the most sense.
With that in mind, the fact that the schedule starts out difficult and ends up difficult is perfect. The difficult start should put to bed any hopes of San Antonio making a surprising postseason push. Late in the season, if the Spurs are in full-on tank mode, the difficulty of the schedule should limit the number of unwanted wins to close out the campaign. All in all, Spurs fans who are hoping for a top draft pick have to be thrilled with the look of San Antonio’s regular season schedule.