Ahhh another Spurs season opener. Normally, my excitement is through the roof at this point. However, no Timmy, no Tony, no Kawhi…and an extended LaMarcus Aldridge. Really, I was feeling pretty meh going into this game. I am quite happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this game. Sure the Spurs seemed to let off the gas every ten minutes or so but it was still a solid team victory.
Pau Gasol – He was strong offensively to start the game, did a decent job on the boards, and had some solid passes throughout the game. However, it was mostly a blase game for Pau and he had a terrible fourth quarter with his shot selection and a terrible pass to LA. C+
LaMarcus Aldridge – I don’t like LA on the Spurs. One of my first posts here was about how I don’t think he’s a real Spur. So it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops for me when the Spurs extended him. (I do give him props for coming out and talking about his issues rather than dropping passive aggressive comments throughout the season while feigning happiness).
With that said, I loved his aggressiveness and fight this game. He looked more engaged emotionally than he did at any point last season. He was decisive, strong on the boards (though he still has those T-Rex arms), and good defensively. Most impressively, he was confident making the right play even when that play was a pass rather than a turn-around jumper. He didn’t shoot particularly well but he controlled the game in a way that he’s rarely done since coming here. If he can play like this all season, I will gladly eat all the crow possible. I still need to see this consistently from him and once Kawhi comes back. For now though, good start. A
Kyle Anderson – I’m hoping this is the SloMo we get all season, though I feel like once Kawhi comes back, he’s going to fall out of the rotation again. He was great on the boards, had some awesome sneaky moves (loved that play where Jimmy Butler had him trapped for what felt like an eternity…only for Kyle to slowly extend past him and somehow get a layup) and he even shot a three without hesitating for an hour! B+
Danny Green – Is it me or did Danny hit three step-back mid range jumpers this game? Pretty sure he hit exactly zero of those in the last seven years. Danny had his usual great defense, both on Jimmy Butler and with his casual destruction of an opponent’s fastbreak. Plus, he hit a couple of big threes. Only issue was he had some bad shot selection in the second half until his final burst. (That and he had an up and under layup that sailed over the backboard). B+
DeJounte Murray – Damn, the upcoming decision Pop has got to make between Parker and Murray has gotta be keeping him up all night. (Then again he’s Pop…I’m pretty sure he’s past the point of ever having anxiety over someting like that.). Sure he was loose with the ball at times, sure he wasn’t great at creating for others, and sure I don’t know what his shot looks like because god knows I can’t recall him ever taking a jumpshot. But man, he was in attack mode and his defense makes me salivate thinking about him, Danny, and Kawhi hounding everyone and everything as soon as they come across half-court. A-
Joffrey Lauvergne – His numbers didn’t look great but his energy was excellent at creating extra opportunities for the Spurs. You can just see he knows and thinks the game well. Just hope he’s able to harness that energy a bit better going forward. B
Rudy Gay – Wow. Through one game, I am ecstatic with this signing. He was so smooth, assertive, confident, and he melded extremely well with the rest of the team. Scoring, defending, running the floor, rebounding, he did it all. His size is definitely an asset and I was really impressed with his passing, particularly running the hammer play for him to swing it to DG. Damn, the Spurs are long this season. A+
Manu Ginobili – It was great to see him back on the floor after almost retiring last year. The team continues to just feed off his energy and there were so many Manuisms this game. The little fist pump after the three pointer, his excellent passing, and the classic “Manu is pissed by something that happened on offense so he’s now going to just take the ball from the opponent” moment. He didn’t shoot it great, but Manu’s imprint was all over the game. B+
He spontaneously turned Jamal Crawford into a spaz.
Patty Mills – I love Patty but this was not one of this better games. He hit that early three and then basically vanished from the game. Did get some positives by being on the floor during the final push. D+