LaMarcus Aldrige is out
Much like Bojan Bodonavich for the Utah Jazz, LaMarcus Aldridge decided that it would be worth it to elect for season ending surgery and prepare for next season rather than risk further injury playing in Orlando. Aldridge underwent right shoulder surgery in early June and will be a big loss to the Spurs this summer in both scoring and rebounding. It’s understandable why he chose to have the surgery especially in light of the pandemic that we are going through and the uncertainty of this weird season, but it’s going to be tough for the Spurs to replace his production. As it stands right now Trey Lyles is set to benefit the most from Aldridge’s absence but after four years in the league Lyles has yet to prove that he can be anything more than a solid bench contributor, not the kind of dynamic scorer and rebounder that the Spurs are going to need. The Spurs also signed Tyler Zeller to help fill the void but we shall see how effective their patchwork of big men are when the ball tips again.
They are fighting to keep a playoff streak alive
It’s hard to believe that the Spurs have been a fixture of postseason basketball for 22 straight years. Combine that with five championships during that time and it’s kind of awesome to be a Spurs fan! Admittedly, as a fan of basketball it will be kind of sad to see that streak come to an end if it does this year. But the Spurs have a puncher’s chance of keeping the streak alive. Per the modified NBA season rules they have to be within four games of the 8 seed when the season ends to have a chance to challenge for the last spot. At the moment they are exactly four games back, so if they fare well during the remaining games in Orlando they could ride a wave of momentum back to their familiar spot in the playoffs. It’s going to be tough without LeMarcus Aldridge but don’t count on the Spurs rolling over and playing dead……especially with a player as competitive as DeMar DeRozan.
The Spurs beat the Jazz in both matchups this season
A lot of people(including myself) might have assumed that just because the Spurs are on the outside looking in for the playoffs this year, that they are not a dangerous opponent. Well, Jazz fans learned the hard way that that is not true on 2/21 when the Spurs came into Vivint Smarthome Arena and served the Jazz some humble pie. The score was 113-104 but it never really seemed that close even from the beginning. This was just a few weeks after the Jazz suffered a maddening back and forth loss in San Antonio. Perhaps it can be attributed to the fact that Spurs coach Gregg Poppovich knows what his former protege Quin Snyder is all about when it comes to game planning, but I personally think that this is one team that even opposing players have been overlooking a little bit this year.