The Spurs are on a 4-game losing streak and it is partly because of defense (mostly) and partly because of not-as-good offense as the team produced last season. Coming into this season, the idea was that Marcus Morris and / or DeMarre Carroll would provide some defense along side the returning Dejounte Murray.
Instead he has played sparingly, and the defense has been just about the same level as last year’s iffy squad. The offense, missing Davis Bertāns, has not been as amazing. The strange thing is that it has been good, with a 109 offensive rating compared to last year’s 111 or so. The ranking is the same, but the wins and losses are different.
The Spurs have been unlucky — the non-call against DeMar DeRozan the other night vs the Grizzlies was bad — but putting yourself in a position to win or lose based on luck is a recipe for losses.
The Spurs had a big lead against the Magic, but do not have the savvy to hold it or pull out.
This is the kind of thing that mediocre teams encounter. They need things to be perfect to pull out wins, and they fall victim to bad luck more often than not. The Spurs are very mediocre because not much has changed from last season. Everyone was hoping for Murray to make a big difference – he has in spots — but the Carroll-for-Bertans swap — however unintentional — has not paid off.
Last year the Spurs found a groove, and worked their way to a seventh seed — and one game away from the second round. That is very possible this season given the number of young players that can make a leap. The team really needs DeMar to be better than good — he needs to be special. Aldridge is 34, and that extra gear can only be reached infrequently as he gets older.
That is the nature of the game. DeMar still can reach that level. He needs to carry this team, and right now, he is just playing a role.