Spurscast Ep. 637: Derrick White’s struggles and Spurs through 12 Games of the Season

In Spurscast episode 637, host Paul Garcia discusses the latest San Antonio Spurs topics: 

2-2 in Last Four Games

The Spurs went 2-2 since the last Spurscast episode, defeating the Magic by 13, losing to the Thunder by 5, defeating the Kings by 19, and then falling to the Mavericks by 14.

The Team Through 12 Games

Through 12 games, the Spurs are closer to a league-average offense and defense. The Spurs are 14th on offense scoring 1.073 points per possession and 15th on defense allowing 1.066 points per possession.

Some areas on offense where the Spurs are in the Top-10 are fast-break scoring, limiting turnovers, pace, ball movement, taking and making shots from the floater range, and scoring in the paint. They’ve also improved their 3-point accuracy to 8th among teams in the league.

Some areas on offense where the Spurs are in the Bottom-10 on offense are getting to the free-throw line and attempting 3-pointers.

On defense, the Spurs are Top-10 in not putting opponents on the free-throw line, not allowing many fast break points, forcing turnovers with steals, scoring off turnovers, and limiting opponent accuracy near the rim.

The Spurs have found themselves in the Bottom-10 on defense in allowing teams to get many shot attempts at the rim and teams are able to avoid taking many shots from the non-restricted area and mid-range against the Spurs’ defense.

Derrick White’s Struggles on Offense

White has had a tough last three games offensively, shooting 3-of-21 overall for 7 total points. For the season he’s averaging 10.8 points on 10.3 shot attempts. His 3-point accuracy has dropped, but he’s still moving the ball well on the team.

In the episode, White’s shooting numbers are analyzed. While his finishing near the rim is still efficient, it’s his shots from the floater range that are really having an impact on his shooting accuracy, along with his outside shot.

One good sign for White is that through these struggles, he’s still making 46% of his wide open 3-pointers. The problem though is defenses are only letting him get 52% of his 3-pointers wide open.

Defensively, White continues to be one of the standout players on the team. He really pops out in defensive field goal percentage, contested shots, and blocks among his teammates.

Should There be a Starting Lineup Change?

In the episode, a starting lineup change is explored. The Spurs only got 7 games with Jakob Poeltl before he had to go into health and safety protocols. Because of the limited time with Poeltl, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich may not want to make a starting lineup change until he sees a larger sample size with Poeltl and the other four starters.

If White were to go to the bench, Devin Vassell would likely be the next player to move into the starting lineup. If this happened, more responsibility would fall on Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson to have to create for the offense, since White is the second primary ball-handler on the team.

Looking at different data points, a starting lineup change with Vassell in for White is explored.

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