Spurs vs. Grizzlies: The Process Begins Now

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The regular season is upon us. Tonight the San Antonio Spurs host the Memphis Grizzlies, the same team they swept in the 2013 Western Conference Finals. While we typically look forward to fresh beginnings at the start of each season, we’ll find these teams are remarkably similar to last season.

Both the starting units and benches are mostly the same. The big offseason addition for the Spurs, Marco Belinelli, looks like he’s going fit in nicely with the San Antonio’s second unit. Memphis’ one big addition is also a familiar face. It wasn’t long ago that the Spurs saw plenty of Mike Miller over seven games in the NBA Finals. Even Memphis’ new head coach, Dave Joerger, was on the Grizzlies bench last season as an assistant.

So what new are we looking forward to? First and foremost, real basketball games. Second, seeing Pop’s early idea of a rotation. How much are we going to see Belinelli and Manu Ginobili play together? How many plays will Pop call for Kawhi Leonard? How many different towel waves does Patty Mills give us? Is Nando De Colo wearing a full suit, or just a sports coat and jeans?

The important thing to remember about opening night is looking at process as opposed to results. How does Kawhi Leonard get his points, not how many points he gets. Does Cory Joseph initiate the offense with the second unit? Are Ginobili and Belinelli going to run the second unit or will they play off the ball? Will Matt Bonner keep wearing New Balance kicks after suffering another flat tire? (Spoiler: he will)

These are questions that will be asked a lot over the next six months and the answers won’t come tonight, but it’ll be the first piece of a puzzle that will take time to piece together. Tip-off for tonight is at 7:30 p.m. from the AT&T Center. You can catch it on KENS-TV.