The Spurs are the defending NBA champions, and return just about everyone from last year’s squad.
They’re also full of veterans who know when it’s time to give maximum effort, and the preseason is not one of those times.
San Antonio finished its exhibition schedule with a record of just 2-7, and while wins and losses are meaningless at this stage, the effort that goes into them is not. So perhaps unsurprisingly, Gregg Popovich wasn’t pleased with the way things turned out.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pulled no punches after his team completed a lackluster preseason in Houston, where the Rockets led by as many as 18 points before settling for a 96-87 victory Friday at the Toyota Center.
“We look very poor,” he said. “We look like we’re not very interested.” …
“I just can’t wait until the season starts,” Tony Parker said. “This was preseason, and it doesn’t mean anything.”
Popovich’s assessment may have been accurate, but so was Parker’s. And to be fair, San Antonio was without two of its starters for almost all of those contests — Kawhi Leonard continues to be sidelined with a nasty eye infection, and Tiago Splitter has been out since training camp with a calf injury. The availability of both players is in question for opening night on Tuesday.
This Spurs team in particular, however, has little to worry about in terms of bringing the effort once the season begins. It may have been frustrating for Popovich to see his guys simply go through the motions, but with the continuity level being so high, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where San Antonio doesn’t just flip the switch once the regular season begins.