The San Antonio Spurs took a big step toward yet another 50-win season with a 39-point thrashing of the Detroit Pistons on Sunday in which the home team made life without Tony Parker look very easy. Of course, it’s just the Pistons (no disrespect) and the Spurs absolutely cannot get comfortable without Parker because not only are they one quick losing streak away from falling out of the No. 1 slot in the Western Conference, but they’re also trying to get some younger guards ready for the playoffs just in case Parker was to miss time then as well.
During the win over the Pistons, Corey Joseph got the start in place of Parker and filled in relatively well in 17 minutes with eight points and four assists. Patty Mills got slightly less time at the helm and poured in six points with four assists while Nando De Colo contributed three points and two dimes in only 13 minutes. So what can we take away from this? Nothing.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich hasn’t even begun to make a decision on who would be the primary starting point guard in Parker’s absence and it’s likely that won’t change. With the incredibly balanced attack San Antonio has displayed over the past few games and especially against Detroit, the young trio of point guards could continue to split time while Manu Ginobili brings the ball down the floor some of the time as well. Why not? It worked to perfection against the Pistons and the Spurs did exactly what they’ve set out to do over the past few weeks, even with Parker in the lineup–play a more balanced game.
Ginobili and Tim Duncan are still scoring plenty while adding rebounds and assists, but they’re doing it in 30 minutes or less, which is the key for the Spurs, especially come playoff time. Getting quality production from the Big Three without any of them playing significant time will make a huge difference in the postseason, where the Spurs hit a brick wall last year because those stars were leaned on so heavily.
It’s only one game and it’s only the Pistons, but it at least appears the Spurs are making the transition into this new philosophy, which will be most critical in the playoffs. Their home game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night will be a slightly better indication on exactly how well they’ve employed this new game plan.