The New Orleans Pelicans will face the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday evening for the fourth and final time this season. Although the Pelicans have enjoyed some success in recent years against their foe, they haven't fared nearly as well over the course of their entire respective schedules.
The Pelicans are poised to set a new NBA record for most games missed by their roster. It is conceivable their personnel will miss 350 contests in the span of just one 82-game time frame. Conversely, the Spurs missed 995 games in the 10 years prior to 2015-16, and this season, their roster has missed the second least amount of games in the league.
Once my envy subsides, I plan on delving into the state of the injuries at season end, but for now, I just want to make mention that I don't buy into bad injury luck as being the biggest reason for the injury woes in New Orleans. Not even close. On the other hand, I'm also not calling for the Pelicans to replace their medical staff, at least not entirely. Rather, the franchise from the Crescent City needs to take a page out of the Alamo's playbook: play the hand you're dealt intelligently.
Admit it, how many of you have snickered at Gregg Popovich when the Spurs have sat key contributors prior to a good matchup? Well, while everyone is finding it amusing, the Spurs are the ones laughing all the way to the bank. An aging roster, one that carries a habitually-injured Manu Ginobili, has evaded the bug better than any other team in the league. Trust me, it has very little to do with chance, so tip your cap to the Silver and Black and pray like crazy New Orleans realizes their model is the Holy Grail sooner rather than later.
3 Things to Watch
- The Spurs maintain their perfect home record. San Antonio is 37-0 at home and it's not going to be snapped on Wednesday night. If it wasn't for the Golden State Warriors, the Spurs would be the toast of the NBA. As such, they're right in their comfort zone -- overlooked and dangerous as all hell. Just marvel at the beauty of their movement on offense and their game plan on defense -- they refuse to beat themselves better than any other team in the league.
- Boban Marjanovic! The NBA's biggest darling has to be this 7'3'' behemoth hailing from Serbia. Earlier in the year, he captivated fan bases everywhere with his ability to produce jaw-dropping lines in limited run. With the Spurs resting Tim Duncan the last two games (and may do so again), look for Boban to get a full allotment of minutes against Omer Asik, Kendrick Perkins and Alexis Ajinca. New Orleans is going to field just 8 players so the Pelicans center triumvirate is going to play a lot. Hooray for Boban to temper our grief!
- Kwahi Leonard, future league MVP. If Anthony Davis wasn't in New Orleans, Kawhi would be my favorite player in the NBA. Hands down. Such ability, work ethic and no hint of self-serving bias. He is truly a blessing to watch so sit back and enjoy. None of us will likely ever see another player with his blend of talent and personality step onto the basketball court again in our lifetimes.