After each team gets knocked out of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, The Game Day provides a season recap, highlighting the highs and lows of the year and looking into the future. This edition of the 2020-2021 NBA season reviews focuses on the San Antonio Spurs.
- After reading our 2021 NBA Season Recap San Antonio Spurs: Highs, Lows, & The Future, check out our 2021 NBA Playoffs Power Rankings & our full 2021 NBA Playoffs Guide.
2021 NBA Season Recap San Antonio Spurs: Highs, Lows, & The Future
2021 NBA Playoffs Run
Eliminated in Play-In Game by Memphis Grizzlies
It seemed like the Spurs were going to get blown out after ending the first quarter down by 19, but they quickly rallied to cut the deficit to seven by halftime. San Antonio kept it close in the second half, but wasn’t able to overtake Memphis and ultimately fell just short, 100-96. Ultimately, poor shooting sunk the Spurs, as they converted just 35.1 percent of their field-goal attempts.
While veterans DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay both scored 20 points apiece, San Antonio’s younger stars struggled to get anything going on the scoring end. Dejounte Murray recorded a triple-double but was just 4-for-17 from the field. Jakob Poeltl and Keldon Johnson each notched double-doubles but had only 10 and 11 points, respectively.
2021 Season Recap Highs: Overcoming The Odds
Before the season started, the Spurs were picked to finish near the bottom of the Western Conference. They got off to a strong start, however, and played well throughout the first half. At their best in mid-March, they were 22-16 and in line for a postseason berth.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 caused a number of their games to be rescheduled to the second half of the season, resulting in a lot of back-to-back nights and severely limiting practice time. San Antonio won just 11 games the rest of the way, finishing 10th in the West and losing the play-in game to Memphis. The Spurs were also hampered by the loss of Derrick White, who only played half the season.
Despite the disappointing finish, the Spurs’ 2021 season review was encouraging, especially for their young talent. Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, and Jakob Poeltl all made significant jumps in their scoring and increased their rebounds and assists per game. Based on their swift development this season, the Spurs’ young nucleus may be ready to contend as soon as next year.
- Look ahead to the San Antonio Spurs’ future — as well as all other NBA teams’ potential new players — with our 2021 NBA Mock Draft Round 1 & 2021 NBA Mock Draft Round 2.
2021 Season Recap Lows: Three-Point Shooting
In a game that’s dominated by three-point shooting, this is a bad problem for a team to have. This year, San Antonio ranked dead last in three-pointers made (9.9) and in three-pointers attempted (28.4) per game while ranking 24th in three-point percentage (35%). This isn’t a new problem for the Spurs, but it’s one that needs to be addressed.
San Antonio finished the season with only four players averaging at least one made three-pointer per game. Of those four, two are over the age of 30 (Patty Mills and Rudy Gay), so it’s imperative that the Spurs’ younger players become more efficient from beyond the arc.
Looking Towards The Future
Poor finish aside, San Antonio’s core is starting to come together under head coach Gregg Popovich. The team lost a number of close games this year, but with more experience and better luck, some of those losses could turn into victories next year. With the right complementary pieces and continued growth, the Spurs could be a championship contender once again in a few short years.
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