San Antonio is in uncharted waters. They missed the playoff bus last year after entering the postseason eight times in the last ten years. Spurs fans were spoiled during the Tim Duncan era, and reality seems to have struck in San Antonio. Welcome to the rest of the NBA.
The fans cheered louder for the Lakers
In a game against Western Conference rivals Los Angeles Lakers, more than a few people noticed that the home crowd cheered louder for the visitors. San Antonio went on to lose the game, 125-121. Had the crowd gone wild for the home team, it could have swung the favor to the Spurs.
We know Lakers have fans in every city in the US, and so does LeBron. But the Spurs have a long-standing rivalry with the Lakers, and a certain level of pride is expected. This must've been the first time since Pop is on the bench Lakers got more love than the Spurs in their home arena. The team may not be competitive, but this is a low point for Spurs fans.
Why the Spurs fans seem to have given up
Let's admit it; not many could recite the players on the Spurs roster now. After all, the current team's average age is the youngest the team has ever had in history. San Antonio is not in a familiar place; they are not accustomed to losing and the rebuilding phase. However, the team is going in the right direction.
There were rumors that this could be Coach Gregg Popovich's last year as a coach, as analyzed on Basketball News. Many were saying he should have retired after the Olympics. That isn't an option for Pop - whoever takes over in San Antonio, Popovich wants to leave a healthy foundation.
The Spurs tried to be relevant again post Tim Duncan era, but Kawhi Leonard forced his way out after his pairing with LaMarcus Aldridge did not work out. DeMar DeRozan joined the Spurs, but his game wasn't enough to make them competitive in the playoffs.
The strength of the Spurs has always been their system and the players who can play that way. How far can Coach Pop lead the team with Dejounte Murray, Doug McDermott, Loonie Walker, and Bryn Forbes? Realistically speaking, the team might not make the playoffs again this year. They don't' have the assets to trigger a trade for a game-changer.
The Spurs might be rebuilding in the next few years unless they get lucky signing unheralded players deep in the draft, such as Manu Ginobili, who was picked at 57th spot. The key is to bottom out in the right season and land a franchise cornerstone. For now, the Spurs are the Orlando Magic zone - not good, not bad enough to build through the draft.
The message to the fans is clear: trust the process. Gregg Popovich knows what he is doing. Fans may feel weird their team isn't an automatic 50 win regular season juggernaut, but it's time to return the favor and cheer their team through the bad times.