Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte Hornets – Game #1

The San Antonio Spurs begin regular season action with a home game versus the Charlotte Hornets. While NBA pundits don’t have high expectations for the Spurs this season, it’ll be interesting to watch this super young squad show what they can do in games that count following a 1-4 record in preseason.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

Head coach Gregg Popovich started the same five players in each of the final two preseason games: Tre Jones at point guard, Devin Vassell at shooting guard, Keldon Johnson at small forward, Jeremy Sochan at power forward and Jakob Poeltl at center.

Will Popovich keep that starting lineup in the regular season? Yes, most likely he will. Although it’s possible that he’ll change his mind, that starting five has a lot of potential defensively and possible offensive upside.

If Popovich does make a change, it’d likely be elevating Joshua Primo to the starting point guard job or starting Keita Bates-Diop in place of Sochan, a 19-year-old rookie who was drafted with the ninth pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The Spurs dealt with injury issues in preseason — most notably Keldon Johnson and Joshua Primo both missed the first three preseason games. Additionally, Josh Richardson and Zach Collins were both sidelined for the final two preseason games. Richardson had a minor knee injury and Collins was in concussion protocols.

The good news as San Antonio enters the regular season is that everyone is healthy and available for the opener against the Hornets.

Charlotte Hornets Injury Update

The injury news for the Hornets isn’t nearly as positive. LaMelo Ball, a young star for the Hornets who is viewed as the organization’s franchise player, is out with a left ankle sprain. Ball was injured during preseason action and is expected to miss multiple weeks.

Charlotte Hornets Starting Lineup

With LaMelo Ball not available, the Hornets are expected to start Terry Rozier at point guard, Kelly Oubre Jr. at shooting guard, Gordon Hayward at small forward, PJ Washington at power forward and Mason Plumlee at center.

Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Hornets

Prognosticators have the Hornets as a one point favorite over the Spurs. While San Antonio probably won’t do a whole lot of winning this season, this is actually a game to bet on the Spurs.

First of all, Ball is out for the Hornets. Even with Ball, Charlotte isn’t considered a contender in the Eastern Conference. Without him, they are probably one of the worst teams in the league. Conversely, the Spurs are as healthy as they will be all season.

Secondly, the Spurs are at home. Expect the young players for San Antonio to come out full of drive and energy to start their season on the right foot.

Last but not least, Popovich’s record in openers can’t be overlooked. As coach of the Spurs, he has a record of 23-2 in openers. Sure, Tim Duncan and company deserve most of the credit for that impressive record — but Popovich obviously knows what buttons to push in season openers.