Spurs season overlooked by ESPN and national media

Photo by Madalyn Mendoza

Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) heads for the basket against Pelicans goaltender Trey Murphy III (25) in the first half of a playoff game in New Orleans on Wednesday April 13, 2022.

Gerald Herbert, STF / Associated Press

I’m more of a Sean Elliott and Bill Land Spurs fan and would rather not listen to the national media snubbing the team. Yet I was shocked hours before the whistleblower on Wednesday April 13 when I heard a voice on the radio promoting the upcoming play-in battle against the New Orleans Pelicans as Game 1 Spurs was televised on ESPN.

A tweet from SB Nation, a sports website, pitted the Spurs’ season debut on ESPN against the Lakers, who did not make the play-in. While Spurs have had one appearance, the Lakers have played 40 games on ESPN this season. Perhaps that’s why Dejounte Murray, who has had an outstanding season, has been grossly underestimated. Murray was a season leader in steals per game (2.0, 1st in NBA), assists per game (9.2, 4th in NBA) and rebounds per game (8.3, 2nd among guards ).

The night against the Pelicans was symbolic of their struggle throughout the season. Despite the losing record, the opponents or, even worse, the negligent, Spurs fought on. Devin Vassell cut a 21-point deficit to 6 with five minutes left, finishing the game with seven 3-pointers.

After the game, Popovich asked about where he will be next year. While most Spurs fans might hope for more time with Pop, his competitive culture will endure beyond his 26 seasons. What was built in the Big Three era is a standard and a legacy that future generations will embrace as the team focuses on the youth movement.

But let’s focus on the season that has just ended, the so-called rebuilding season. The season that found an All-Star in triple-double King Murray, a first since 2019. A ranking season for Pop, who became the winningest coach of all time with 1,336 wins, now with 1 344. After all that, Spurs and their fans have what should be a pretty eventful draft night with three first-round picks to look forward to.

At the end of the season, Spurs fans were divided, splitting into “Team Tank” for better draft picks, or “Team Play-In” for a fight to the end. The fact that Spurs even had the chance to decide how to end their 34-48 season is amazing in itself.

If this is our reconstruction, they are impressive bones.

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