If you thought the Spurs would take a step back in 2016-17, you’re absolutely wrong…so far, at least.
San Antonio’s the first team to 4-0 after defeating Miami earlier today, 106-99.
Kawhi Leonard continued his scorching-hot start to the year w/ another impressive line:
27 points – 16 in the 4th, 10-12 FT • 6 dimes • 50% FG
Kawhi’s blazing his own trail to start the year – calling him anything less than a top 5 player is impossible at this point. Offensively, he’s grown leaps and bounds (avg. over 28 points/game) and on defense, he’s done a nice job of exploiting weak points.
Kawhi’s confidence (& usage) is through the roof. Here’s a couple other observations from San Antonio’s 4-0 start:
- Introducing…Jonathon Simmons. Simmons made a nice first impression when (unofficially) introduced to mainstream audiences during SA’s 29-point burial of GS on Opening Night. He scored a team-high 20 points off the bench, including a monster flush over JaVale McGee:
Simmons is a relative unknown to most – he’s a crazy athlete at SG, runs the floor, finishes well, and competes on defense. Danny Green‘s starting spot is in jeopardy down the line.
- Mills > Parker. Ahh, Coach Pop is faced w/ a dilemma moving forward. It’s tough to say but Tony Parker may no longer be a starter. His game log hasn’t been too kind so far:
9 & 4 at GS – W • 4 & 2 at SAC – W • DNP-REST v. NOP – W • 3 & 4 at MIA – W
Now, Parker competed during international play this summer, so fatigue is an early factor. But looking deeper than the numbers, TP hasn’t passed the eye test – he’s consistently slow on defense & has been passive offensively – Parker’s elected to ease his way back into things rather than force the issue.
It may be time for Coach Pop to consider making the switch to Patty Mills, who’s capable of handling a larger role. Mills is able to play more uptempo & is one of the better reserve defenders in the league.
With Manu Ginobili heading out the door in 2017, is TP a viable candidate to take over Manu’s 6th Man* role?
*Manu isn’t first off the bench every night but still has the title