The San Antonio Spurs play their second of three scrimmages this afternoon. After losing their first scrimmage against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Spurs face the Brooklyn Nets at 3:30 p.m.
Will the Backcourt be Dejounte Murray and Derrick White?
The big surprise in the first scrimmage was the fact that San Antonio started Dejounte Murray and Derrick White together in the backcourt. That alignment, which moves Bryn Forbes to the bench, gives the Spurs a chance to once again be a quality defensive team.
The issue with starting Murray and White together resides on the offensive end of the court. Both Murray and White can be hesitant shooters, which doesn’t mesh well when the Spurs already have non-shooters like DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl in the starting lineup.
That said, it’s obvious that starting Murray and White gives the Spurs their highest ceiling going forward. Let’s hope they stick with it. If the duo starts against the Nets, that’d be a good sign that the coaches are willing to test out the alignment for at least the rest of the regular season.
DeMar DeRozan, the Power Forward
While it wasn’t as much of a surprise, the Spurs went with Lonnie Walker IV at small forward and DeMar DeRozan at power forward. The Spurs want to give Walker an opportunity to play a lot of minutes the rest of the way and DeRozan, at this stage of his career, might be best defensively at power forward. Given those two statements, the Spurs may stick with this undersized forward pairing.
DeRozan is certainly small for a PF but he’s a very poor perimeter defender due to his slow feet and the lack of defensive instincts. It’s unlikely he will hurt the team more playing at power forward than he does when he tries to defend swingmen.
Looking at the Spurs Bench
Patty Mills didn’t play in the first scrimmage. That was most likely simply a case of the coaches giving a veteran player a day off. However, if he doesn’t play again today, perhaps the Spurs are planning on going with younger players during the regular season’s final eight games.
If the Spurs do go younger, Keldon Johnson is a player who appears ready to step into a bigger role. While he still has some rough edges, the rookie plays hard on both ends of the court and has enough skill to make positive things happen on a consistent basis.
Behind Jakob Poeltl at center, it appears to be Drew Eubanks’ job to lose. Chimezie Metu could conceivably make a run for the gig — or even Tyler Zeller.