2018 Silver and Black Scrimmage notes and observations

Spurs win!

The Spurs held their annual Silver and Black Scrimmage on Wednesday night, putting on a remarkably competitive exhibition before a packed lower bowl of fans who got a free look at DeMar DeRozan, Lonnie Walker and the rest of the 2018-19 squad in five 10-minute quarters of action. (Yes, I said five, and yes, they called them quarters, so I get to, too.) Here’s a look at the rosters for both teams:

Black

*changed from Black to Silver in the fifth quarter

Silver


Player observations:

LaMarcus Aldridge got his requisite diet of post-ups and elbow looks, mostly against Pau Gasol and Jakob Poeltl. Poeltl held his ground well, but Aldridge’s moves and use of his size caught the young big man reaching on a couple of occasions.

Poeltl put up the kind of stat line fans can expect to see a few times next season, going an efficient 4 for 4 from the field (all around the rim), and adding 7 rebounds. He also followed up a Blossomgame miss for a nice tip dunk in the third quarter.

As opposed to his first game versus Miami, DeRozan attacked regularly in isolation, whether it was on switches against Pau Gasol or working the pick and roll with Aldridge. Early in the first quarter, he got Gay to bite on a nifty pumpfake and finished with an up and under, the first of a handful of times he gave the fans something to cheer for. He scored 12 points total on 4 of 7 shooting.

Dejounte Murray had what seemed to be one of the quieter nights of all players, but still managed an 8-point, 10-rebound, 4-assist performance (to 0 turnovers). He hit his first floater in the lane, but spent much of the scrimmage getting the offense set and letting both DeRozan and Aldridge get their touches, playing precisely the role of productive facilitator that Pop seems to envision of him in his second year as the starting PG.

Gay had a high volume of touches and shots throughout, looking to build off a great preseason opener against the Heat. He shot 6 for 11 from the field, many of them from the midrange, and got the crowd excited with a two-handed dunk on a fast break. He also refused to give his friend (but opponent for the night) DeRozan a dap before tip-off.

Gasol and Mills are known commodities at this point. Both played their parts, hustled, and it seemed like neither hit an especially high percentage of their shots. Mills did tie up Aldridge for a jump ball in the first quarter, earning some cheers for his efforts, but he did not win said tip.

Belinelli only made 3 of his 11 attempts and none of his 4 from deep. Oddly enough, some of his more memorable moments came around the basket, using his craftiness to try and will a few balls in, and finding Gasol for a finish with a no-look pass. Bertans hit his first jumper, a corner three off a pass from Forbes, but was also fairly cold on the night. He was doing what he was supposed to, though, which is hunting for three-point looks. He took 10 on the night, but made just 3 of them.

Often running the show for the Silver side, Derrick White picked his moments for when to be aggressive, and hit at least one very natural pull-up from midrange. He did have a few lapses in concentration, leading to a few turnovers and some cursory moments of visual frustration for him.

If anyone looked like they were treating this more than an intra-team exhibition, it was his counterpart on the Black team, Bryn Forbes, who played full-court defense on Quincy Pondexter as he brought the ball up the floor, and went especially hard against White, a man who he’s presumably battling for minutes for this season. Still, his greatest strength was on full display through the night, as he hit 4 of 6 from deep. He outscored everyone on the night with 16 points, and added 4 assists when assuming some point-guard duties at the end of the night.

The undeniably athletic rookie, Lonnie Walker IV, also made the most of the moment, taking a game-high 12 shots and hitting 5 of them in his debut in front of the fans. Walker’s physical gifts are obvious in basically everything he does, and he was able to treat the fans to an open-court tomahawk dunk shortly after getting into the game.

Dante Cunningham looked very much in his element for a newly arrived role player. He knocked down all three of his three-point looks and played simple, smart defense throughout — which is the main reason the Spurs picked him up.

2018 second-round pick Chimezie Metu stuck out in both good and bad ways, which is what you might expect from a promising young player with a raw set of unique skills. His movements, from how he runs, to his shooting stroke are incredibly fluid and more like those of a wing. That seems to be a double-edged sword, though, as it also applies to how he jostles for position against other bigs. Some time in the G-League should certainly help him leverage his length and athleticism and combine it with his other physical tools, which could make him an interesting player.

The complementary fifth quarter was a chance for the end-of-bench and non-guaranteed guys to get more reps. Jaron Blossomgame looked to attack off the dribble when he could. Okaro White made a jumper as I was looking down at my computer. Drew Eubanks displayed a high level of activity on both ends of the floor, hitting the offensive glass and coming over for a nice weakside block on Cunningham. He also received a pass off a pick and roll and finished it with a dunk. With so many guards commanding touches ahead of him, Nick Johnson didn’t get too many opportunities to shine, although he did steal the ball from Derrick White in the backcourt and finish with an easy lay-in.

All in all, it was an exhibition — albeit a highly competitive and relatively physical one — so take most of whatever sounds new here with a grain of salt. However, it did offer to those able to watch some fun looks at some of the more interesting Spurs and, more importantly, it gave the new group of guys another chance to learn to play together. For a whole five quarters.

Source: Pounding The Rock

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