The San Antonio Spurs take on the Miami Heat on Tuesday night in their second preseason game of the 2019-20 campaign. After the Spurs got destroyed 125-89 by the Orlando Magic in their preseason opener, I’m sure Gregg Popovich and the coaching staff is looking for a better performance against the Heat. Getting a win isn’t important, of course, but the Spurs need to show more cohesion than they exhibited last time out. Here are six other things to watch out for this evening:
1. Starting Lineup
In the first preseason game, the starters were Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Lonnie Walker IV, LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl. With DeMar DeRozan back in the lineup tonight, the starting lineup will be different. Will Pop just replace Walker with DeRozan or will he experiment with a completely different look?
I think Pop should test out a few smaller lineups during preseason in order to see how those lineups fit on the court during live action. For example, replacing Poeltl with Rudy Gay or DeMarre Carroll is worth looking at.
2. Point Guard Minutes
Against the Magic, Murray and Derrick White played exclusively at point guard. What will happen with Patty Mills available to play? Logically, one of those three players is going to have to shift over to shooting guard — or be dropped from the regular rotation completely. It’s possible Mills gets dropped from the rotation, however it’s more likely that either White or Mills is slotted for shooting guard minutes.
3. Lonnie Walker IV vs. Marco Belinelli
With Walker and Belinelli both available to play, we’ll get the first true indication regarding which player is currently higher in the depth chart. Walker had a strong summer but Belinelli is obviously a more proven player and one of the better bench scorers in the league. Will Pop go with Walker or Belinelli first off the bench? We’ll find out.
4. DeMarre Carroll’s Fit
What the coaches have planned for Carroll is still a bit of a mystery. He has played both small forward and power forward over the last few years. Right now, it looks like Gay and Carroll will both come off the bench and play forward. Are they big enough to pull that off? Which one will be playing more on the perimeter? We’ll start getting answers tonight. As it stands, Carroll could begin the season anywhere from a starter to out of the rotation.
5. Bryn Forbes’ Ascension
Forbes led San Antonio in scoring in the preseason opener with 24 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the floor and 5-for-6 shooting from three-point range. A lot of the halfcourt action was designed to either get a shot for Forbes off of screens or put the ball in his hands to run a pick-and-roll. It’ll be interesting to see if his role is still expanded with DeRozan suited up.