X

Spurs 2019-20 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds and Record Predictions

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 18: Head Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs stares on during the game against the Denver Nuggets during Game Three of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2019 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
Mark Sobhani/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs have been the most consistent team in the NBA for more than two decades, and they will try to keep things going in 2019-20.  

Head coach Gregg Popovich took over on a full-time basis in 1997-98, and since then the franchise has reached the playoffs 22 straight times while winning five NBA titles. The players have changed, but guys like LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan should keep this squad competitive.

On the other hand, the last two seasons were the two worst in the Popovich era by win percentage, resulting in back-to-back first-round exits.

The Spurs will hope to get back on track this season and re-establish themselves as legitimate contenders.

                           

2019-20 Details

Season Opener: Oct. 23 vs. New York Knicks

Championship Odds: 40-1 (via Caesars)

Full Schedule: NBA.com

       

Top Matchups

Los Angeles Clippers (First Game: Oct. 31)

TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 22:  DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors on February 22, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledge
Mark Blinch/Getty Images

The Spurs only saw two games against Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors last season following an ugly divorce between the two sides.

While the teams split the season series, including a DeRozan triple-double in a January win, Leonard definitely had the better year when he helped the Raptors win their first NBA championship.

San Antonio will now have more chances to get even against their former superstar after he signed with the Los Angeles Clippers this offseason. The teams will play four games while also competing for positioning in the Western Conference standings.

Unfortunately, his new team could be even better after also adding Paul George to a squad that features Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell.

The Clippers will be especially impressive defensively, so it will be up to secondary options like Derrick White and Bryn Forbes to have big games like they did in the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets.

                

Houston Rockets (First Game: Dec. 3)

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 10: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors during Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 10, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The first step toward getting back into title contention will be to take care of business within the division.

The Houston Rockets have won the Southwest in each of the past two years, going 6-2 against the Spurs in this span. 

Houston will be one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA this season with a backcourt featuring James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Although the pair might have problems sharing the ball, they will also cause a lot more issues for opposing defenses with their ability to score and fill up the box score in a lot of ways.

Dejounte Murray's return to the court will be huge after he missed all of 2018-19 with a knee injury. The guard is an excellent on-ball defender and can slow down either of these superstars. DeRozan can also use his length to force difficult shots for the opposing guards.

If the Spurs can play to their ability defensively, they can match up well with Houston and get back to controlling their division.

            

Prediction

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 25:  LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs receives celebration from bench and fans after scoring against the Denver Nuggets during Game Six of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at AT&T Center on
Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

The biggest problem last season came on the defensive end as the squad was just 19th in defensive rating (111.2 points allowed per game), per Basketball Reference. It was the first time since 1997 the Spurs were below-average in this category.

Hopefully, Murray's return and some improved chemistry will lead to more success on that end.

San Antonio also has a lot of upside in rookie first-round picks Luka Samanic and Keldon Johnson, both of whom can play a significant role in the rotation during the upcoming season.

If DeRozan and Aldridge play at All-Star levels, this squad can earn a home series in the playoffs.

On the other hand, there is too much talent elsewhere in the Western Conference between the Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Nuggets, Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz. It will be a challenge just to make the postseason, and this could be the year San Antonio is on the outside looking in.

Record Prediction: 44-38