The San Antonio Spurs dropped their second straight scrimmage, this time against the Brooklyn Nets by a final count of 124-119. Versus the Milwaukee Bucks, the starters played well but the bench struggled mightily. In San Antonio’s latest scrimmage, the Spurs starters played poorly but it was the bench that almost completed a comeback victory.
Last game, I thought DeMar DeRozan looked slow and wasn’t able to successfully blow by defenders. Against the Nets, it was more of the same. DeRozan played like he was stuck in mud, exhibited minimal effort and spent many of his 24 minutes whining to the referees. While the Spurs are extreme longshots to make the playoffs, they will have absolutely no chance if DeRozan continues to play this terribly.
The silver lining in this game was the play of Derrick White. After turning down shots in the first scrimmage, he let it fly this afternoon — and the results were really positive. When he wasn’t creating scoring opportunities for himself, he was setting up his teammates with heady passes. He finished the game with team-highs in points (22), three-pointers made (4) and assists (4) in 27 minutes of action.
Dejounte Murray’s point guard play continues to be uneven. He’s not creating for others well, his ball-handling is sloppy and his decision-making is poor. Versus the Nets, he compounded those issues by struggling to score the ball. Murray’s defense hasn’t been notable either.
Lonnie Walker IV
I was pleased with Lonnie Walker IV’s play. He had some errors on both ends but he did well overall. His shooting stroke looks really smooth, he’s getting more comfortable attacking the rim and he flashed glimpses of playmaking talent. If DeRozan is going to struggle to round into form, the Spurs may have to really rely on Walker for points.
Jakob Poeltl was caught out of position more than usual on defense, which resulted in him picking up five fouls in 23 minutes. Beyond that flaw, Poeltl did well. He finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and an emphatic blocked shot. Through two scrimmages, it looks like the big Austrian is fully capable of eating up a lot of minutes as a starting center.
While Marco Belinelli leading the bench in minutes played during a scrimmage isn’t what you necessarily want to see, he undeniably played pretty well. It looks like he has lost a little bit of weight since the last time we saw him, which is allowing him to move better on both ends. While he’s never going to be a plus defender, he still looks like a capable scorer when things are going right for him.
Patty Mills again didn’t play. With Murray struggling, the Spurs turned to Bryn Forbes to play quite a bit of point guard. While Forbes was able to score 15 points in 22 minutes, his running of the offense was ugly. He made numerous errors, struggled to control his dribble and wasn’t getting his teammates involved. If Mills keeps racking up DNPs, Forbes will likely need to play some point guard minutes. If that’s the case, let’s hope he can improve upon how he did in that role today.
Drew Eubanks had 12 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in 23 minutes. That’s a very productive outing for the team’s backup center. While he’s really athletic, Eubanks often struggles with timing his jumps — which results in him being out of position for rebounds and blocks. Against the Nets, his timing was perfect. If the young big can turn the corner and consistently take advantage of his athleticism, the Spurs may have something here.
Ouch. Rudy Gay looked old, slow and uncoordinated. When he was involved in a play, he could usually be found bobbling the ball or tripping over himself.
Keldon Johnson had eight points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes. I liked his tough drives to the hoop and his ability to use his big body to his advantage. His work on the defensive boards was also really helpful. On the other side of the coin, Johnson tallied six fouls and he didn’t appear too confident in his outside jumper.
Chimezie didn’t see the court until the game’s final six minutes. In his time on the court, he was forcing the issue too much and made a handful of mistakes in his limited minutes.
Luka Samanic also played the game’s final six minutes. He literally didn’t scratch the box score other than to commit three fouls. Samanic didn’t look too interested in playing and failed to pull down a couple rebounds he needs to get if he’s going to be an NBA player.
I’m glad the Spurs kept the same starting lineup of Murray, White, Walker, DeRozan and Poeltl. I’m hoping that’s the lineup they use once the regular season officially restarts. Mitch Johnson was the coach in this scrimmage while Pop looked on with his N95 securely strapped to his face. Johnson sure did rely on Belinelli a lot but other than that I thought he did fine.