New Orleans Pelicans: 3 storylines to watch against the San Antonio Spurs

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans grabs a rebound (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans grabs a rebound (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Eric Bledsoe
DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs is blocked by Eric Bledsoe #5 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans vs. San Antonio Spurs: From the bubble to the Big Easy

The San Antonio Spurs are currently operating with a depleted roster.

Against the Thunder, Gregg Popovich was missing six players: DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Quinndary Weatherspoon, and Derrick White. Additionally, four of the Spurs’ players were recently announced to have tested positive for Covid-19, which led to the postponement of San Antonio’s games against the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets.

The NBA’s health and safety protocols mean that the four players who returned positive test results will once again miss the Spurs’ Saturday night game in New Orleans. DeRozan is currently listed as questionable.

With their squad in tatters, the Spurs recently recalled forward Luka Samanic and guard Tre Jones from the Austin Spurs. The Spurs’ developmental team is part of the G League Bubble in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Samanic is a lanky 6-foot-10 Croatian who was a first round pick in 2019, while Jones is a 6-foot-1 point guard who was a late second round pick last year out of Duke.

In his six games in the G League, Samanic averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds. However, he also turned the ball over a lot and made less than 30 percent of his threes. The appeal with Samanic is that he could develop into the mobile stretch four type that NBA teams covet nowadays, but he is still a work in progress. In his return to the NBA, he started at small forward and scored four points in 19 minutes.

Jones, meanwhile, scored 18 points while dishing out nearly 10 assists per game. The brother of Tyus Jones, currently on the Memphis Grizzlies, he is a pure playmaker. Jones is not an outside shooter at all going back to his days playing for Mike Krzyzewski. However, he is a steady point guard who plays with maturity and looking to put his teammates in positions to succeed.

Should they get minutes again, there’s no doubt Samanic and Jones will be looking to make the most of their opportunities so that they can put their days with the Austin Spurs permanently behind them.