Pregaming: Spurs vs. Suns

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AT&T CENTER — Not the most exciting of matchups tonight as the Phoenix Suns come to San Antonio to take on the Spurs. The Suns have won their last two games and are coming off a recent coaching change, as Alvin Gentry and the team parted ways. Lindsey Hunter is coaching the team right now. On paper this looks like a huge mismatch, but stranger things have happened, especially when the Spurs will again be without some key pieces.

  • No Gregg Popovich or Tim Duncan once again for the Spurs tonight. Duncan is battling soreness in his left knee and Pop is still sick. The Spurs don’t play again until Wednesday night, so all the extra rest was a factor in resting Duncan.
  • I got to the AT&T Center early enough to see new signing Aron Baynes get his pregame work in. He has a workable jumpshot. His release is slow and he’s got a lot of negative motion (bringing the ball behind his head a bit too much), but he hits it at a consistent clip. Considering the work Chip Engelland has done with Nando De Colo and Kawhi Leonard over the past few months, I wouldn’t put it past Chip to make Baynes into a solid pick-and-pop guy next season. And that really seems like that’s where Baynes comfort is, in the pick-and-roll. His post game seems solid by very robotic, but in the pick-and-roll he moves his feet well. I think that’s where his biggest contributions will come offensively.
  • Speaking of Nando De Colo’s shooting form, I’m really impressed with the strides he’s made this season. He’s shooting 39 percent from 3-point range this season and his pregame work looks even better. He was hitting contest shots in a variety of ways. His form and confidence have both come a long way since the beginning of preseason.
  • Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer said that Manu Ginobili will again be on a minutes limitation after coming back from the strained hamstring, but didn’t give a specific number.