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Spurs newsletter: Season predictions, Vegas odds, Spurs fans reject Tim Duncan slander

Spurs season tips off at Memphis on Dec. 23, first home game against Toronto on Dec. 26

(Spurs newsletter Gregg Popovich image)
(Spurs newsletter Gregg Popovich image) (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – We are about 24 hours away from the start of another Spurs regular season and what a wild two months it’s been since the end of the Orlando bubble. Welcome to the first KSAT.com Spurs newsletter of the 2020-21 regular season.

The Spurs young core that played well in the bubble is back, but the looming question during this shortened offseason has been how does this group, with veterans like DeMar DeRozan and Rudy, incorporate LaMarcus Aldridge.

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At this moment, many experts and the oddsmakers in Las Vegas do not have much faith in San Antonio. The Spurs are projected to go 29-43 this season and finish around 12th in the West out of 15 teams!

It’s a transitional period for this franchise, but the coaching staff saw something in Orlando, and hopefully, that can carry over into this regular season and get the Spurs back into the playoffs.

San Antonio mostly handled in-house business this offseason, re-signing Derrick White and Jakob Poeltl, but there was no extension for DeRozan. If San Antonio struggles, he or possibly Aldridge could be traded by the deadline.

The Spurs also added rookie Devin Vassell to the roster. This dude looks like the steal of the draft and could be the most impactful rookie since, dare I say, Kawhi Leonard in 2011.

For those of you new to this Spurs newsletter, we’re going to have a mix of on-and-off the court stories (Fiesta jerseys what’s up!) and fun because after all, this is hoops.

Like the story of Spurs fans coming to the defense of the iconic Tim Duncan this week. When Dan Rather has something to say about the Anthony Davis-Duncan debate, you know it’s getting out of hand! Check out that story here.

Let’s get it going. The Silver and Black are back and remember, fans might be allowed back into the AT&T Center as early as Jan. 1. Thanks for taking the ride with us and if you have questions or comments about the newsletter, hit me up at rmarquez@ksat.com.

POP SOUND OF THE WEEK: The Spurs coach says the staff and team are committed to playing bubble ball, but how will they mesh now with LaMarcus back? Pop breaks it down here.

Tweet about Lakers forward Anthony Davis and Tim Duncan sets off Spurs nation firestorm

Spurs agree to contract extension with Derrick White

Many Spurs fans will not be able to watch games to start season, here’s why

Becky Hammon honored with mural north of downtown San Antonio

ROUND BALL ROUNDTABLE: Time to make some season predictions.

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I believe the Spurs will return to the playoffs this season, but only as a lower-tier team, between the 6th and 8th seed. This is going to be a transition year, implementing their new up-tempo style with their young talent. I will be surprised if both LaMarcus and DeMar finish the season in silver and black. I believe one of them will be traded before the regular season is over.

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Last season, the bubble Spurs went 5-3 providing some genuine hope for this season. They were seven seconds away from going 6-2. The Spurs went all-in on their young guys and it worked.

LaMarcus Aldridge is back so the post-bubble dynamic won’t be the same as it was in Orlando. Aldridge, DeRozan, Rudy Gay and Patty Mills are all 30-somethings and will take minutes away from the young guys. While I feel they have the talent to surprise, I think they will barely miss the playoffs again. I predict 33-39 and 13th in Western Conference.

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After getting a lot of playing time in the bubble, some of the young guys should step up this season.

They played so well that Popovich is even changing his style to let the guys run more, although they still have to play defense.

Thanks to the new playoffs play-in format, the Spurs have a great shot at making the playoffs. It was also a huge plus that Demar Derozan decided to stay, but contending with the West powers may be tough. If they can stay healthy and the young guys continue to improve, they should at least be among the bottom rung of playoff teams.

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Feels like the West is more loaded this year than last and that’s saying something. I think San Antonio can finish with about a .500 record, but they can’t afford to lose to bad teams. I’m expecting a lot from Derrick, Dejounte and Lonnie Walker. This is their team now with the uncertain futures of DeMar and LaMarcus. If those three can improve significantly, then I can see San Antonio sneaking into the play-in tournament and possibly getting the 8th seed, but no higher.

Follow us on Twitter or tweet us your Spurs questions to: Greg at @GregSimmonsKSAT, Larry at @LRam2, David at @DAVIDKSAT or RJ at @KSATRJ

PLAYER SOUND OF THE WEEK: Lonnie Walker says the young Spurs are trying to get Pop on Twitter and teaching him about rappers like Lil Baby (LOL).

OFF COURT STORY OF WEEK: The Spurs revealed when they will wear Fiesta jerseys this season. Yes, it finally happened. The Fiesta jerseys are no longer a pipe dream. Details here.

San Antonio Spurs reveal Fiesta jerseys for 2020-2021 season.
San Antonio Spurs reveal Fiesta jerseys for 2020-2021 season. (Spurs)

POWER RANKINGS PULSE: These aren’t pretty. Brace yourself.

ESPN.com: 21st...”It was a quiet offseason,” which can be translated to expect to see another below .500 season.

NBA.com: 21st...it’s never good when you’re sandwiched between Atlanta and Chicago.

The Ringer: 22nd...teams might be “interested in acquiring DeRozan or Aldridge.” Spurs have a lot of prove.

SPURS SCHEDULE LOOK AHEAD:

Dec. 23: at Memphis

Dec. 26: vs Toronto

Dec. 27: at New Orleans

KEY GAME/MATCHUP OF WEEK: The NBA didn’t do the Spurs any favors. San Antonio starts with two upcoming West teams on the schedule and an East power. Not pictured are the back-to-back games versus the Lakers at home. If the Spurs can get at least 2 of those 5, that would be a decent start. Facing Memphis’s Ja Morant without Derrick White will be difficult, but I get the sense San Antonio needs to steal this opener or things can go downhill fast.

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The most interesting Spur in the world, or former Spurs player, is Manu Ginobili. What has Manu been up to? The Spurs icon became a cycling guru over the past year, even dragging along Tim Duncan, or the “old guy” as he refers to Timmy, for these 30-mile plus treks along the Hill Country. This awesome pic was taken by Scott Duncan. Can’t wait to see Manu compete in the Tour de France one day. MANU. FOREVER.

(Image via Manu Ginobili's Twitter account.)
(Image via Manu Ginobili's Twitter account.)

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