There is an important NBA game today that will actually be without some of the most important players in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors play the San Antonio Spurs in what is a crucial battle in the arm wrestle for the 1 seed. Unfortunately, a majority of the best players on each team will not be playing. Steve Kerr will be resting Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala. While Gregg Popovich will be without the services of Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Dejounte Murray, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
This game is still significant, however, even without significant talent. Both teams are likely to put out units that rarely see the floor and hope they are able to get the job done. The game is still very much worth watching. There are several capable above average NBA players who will be getting more playing time than usual and makes for an intriguing game with a plethora of possible outcomes.
The first player to watch in this game of attrition is Davis Bertans. Averaging only eleven minutes per game this season he is nailing 39% of his three-point attempts with the Spurs while taking over two per game. His shooting stroke is so smooth every open jumper appears likely to go in. One lineup the Spurs could run out that may be too much offensively for the depleted Warriors to handle includes the second player on this list, Dewayne Dedmon.
A lineup of Patty Mills, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, Davis Bertans, Dewayne Dedmon could possibly win this game for the Spurs. Dedmon has been a defensive presence for the Spurs all season and has played fairly well in his time as a starter. Playing defense, grabbing 8 rebounds per game and converting 72.3% of his shots as a starter is nearly exactly what the Spurs needed. He is a rim runner who has active feet defensively. Because the Warriors will be shockingly lacking three-point shooting this may be all the Spurs need defensively in this game to outlast their opponent.
The one player that is above league average from behind the arc for the Dubs may prove to be one of their most important players. Ian Clark is shooting over 40% from downtown this season. When the rest of the starting lineup is a combined 32% from three, whether Ian Clark is hitting his shots or not becomes vastly important.
The Warriors will be forced to play a much different style of offense with their lack of shooting. Expect tons of mid range jumpers from Shaun Livingston who has made a career out of such shots. It will be interesting to see Shaun Livingston control the offense almost completely for the Warriors. His resurgence in Golden State is still one of the better stories in the NBA and seeing him have complete control will be fun, at least for one game.
Finally, let’s not forget the two-time [REDACTED] MVP and the player no one is allowed to make fun of anymore, Javale McGee. He has played less total minutes than Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur this season but seems to create more high and lowlights than any other player. A couple Livingston/McGee PNR’s ending in dunks or rim denials will be entrancing.
These are the players that could eventually determine home-court advantage in the playoffs. A year filled with triple doubles, historic performances and an abundance of elite talent could be majorly affected by a Javale Mcgee slam dunk or a Davis Bertans three-point jumper. This truly is one of the best seasons of all-time.