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Tre Jones, Victor Wembanyama & More: 3 Takeaways From the San Antonio Spurs' Home Back-to-Back

Between Tre Jones getting consistent starts and Victor Wembanyama playing consistently, the San Antonio Spurs have looked leaps and bounds better than where they started. The win totals aren't completely showing that yet, but the young team is on the right track.
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A rhythmic cadence of four words chanted between a series of five claps rang through the concourse at Frost Bank Center Friday night. 

As fans exited their seats and filed out the door on the way to their cars — not to go honking, as this occasion was far less grandiose — in a celebratory mood, the chants kept coming. It was the first time of the season they could exclaim it, after all.

"Two game win streak!" 

"Two game win streak!"

San Antonio had just beaten the Charlotte Hornets in blowout fashion — another first at home — and the game prior taken down the Detroit Pistons on the road to avoid losing to the league's worst squad. So, naturally, the fans were into it. 

"I've got to give a huge shutout to the fans," Devin Vassell said of the Spurs' home environment. "It's not easy to stick with a young group like this going through a stretch like [the one we had]. We appreciate all the support.

"At the end of the day, we need them."

As those much-needed fans filed out, some were content to go home and watch the next night's matchup against the Chicago Bulls at home, while others were already preparing to make a return trip. Unfortunately for those identifying with the latter, however, San Antonio didn't make a two-game win streak a three-game one. 

It fell to Chicago 122-116 without Victor Wembanyama to close out its home stand before hitting the road for six straight games, leaving the arena once again waiting for a win. But between the close loss and the game prior, there were plenty of positives. 

Here are three of them:

San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama and point guard Tre Jones at Frost Bank Center against the Chicago Bulls (right) and Charlotte Hornets (left).

San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama and point guard Tre Jones at Frost Bank Center against the Chicago Bulls (right) and Charlotte Hornets (left).

Tre Jones' Continuous Starts

It was a long time coming for Tre Jones to crack the starting lineup. 

Entering the season, Gregg Popovich and company knew what his skillset was. He played a more traditional point-guard's game — though his veteran coach might not admit that — and was more-than capable of facilitating an offense. 

In short, the Spurs knew him. 

But what they didn't know was the other options, namely Jeremy Sochan, at that position. And with a roster as young as they had, it made sense for them to get to know those alternatives. 

That resulted in Jones spending 100 percent of his minutes off the bench. It meant that he had to watch Sochan or anyone else bring up the ball and attempt to facilitate an offense, and while it was doable, it just wasn't as practical. 

But still, it never got to him.

“Every chance you’re on the court, whether starting or coming off the bench, you have to try and prove yourself the best you can,” Jones said of his back-seat role. "That’s what we were trying to do. And we’re still trying to figure that out. ... We’ve got a ways to go until we crack into the playoffs and start to win a lot more."

Popovich agreed, but he also couldn't ignore the two crystal-clear facts that sat in front of him with Jones in the starting lineup: Jones was talented, and the Spurs were better with him as the No. 1 point guard option.

“It doesn’t matter if he starts or doesn’t come in until three minutes left in the game,” Popovich said. “He’s Tre. He does everything he can to win a basketball game.”

Before cracking the lineup, that meant providing offense from the bench. But now, five starts later — consecutively, it should be added — that means providing starting offense ... and enabling Wembanyama.

With Jones as the starter, the Spurs are leaps and bounds ahead of themselves when he wasn't. They've cracked the top-10 in offensive efficiency and have improved vastly, not to mention been far more consistent. 

Jones is now averaging just over nine points and just under five assists on the season, though if he continues to be San Antonio's starting point guard, that's likely to improve.

As will the team's overall record.

Wembanyama's Consistent, Efficient Impact

With a more grounded point-guard and a renewed energy surrounding him, it's not surprising that Victor Wembanyama has begun to flourish. 

He's always had the talent, the ability to make highlight reels and a knack for drawing the defense's attention, but like the rest of the league-youngest Spurs, he was inconsistent. Part of that stemmed from his shooting, but part of it stemmed from his touches — that is, when he got the ball and how. 

Both factors have cleaned up and improved greatly over the past few games, which is why San Antonio was able to notch a pair of wins against the Pistons and Hornets. And to avoid the "bad-team" argument, it played to the wire against the Bucks, Bulls and Cavaliers on the road, all in the span of a week-and-a-half.

In that span, Wembanyama has averaged 23.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and three blocks to go with north of 85 percent free-throw percentage and efficient floor shooting as well. He's played extremely well as the Spurs' No. 1 option on offense and even begun to work on his overall positioning — remember his lob-happy phase?

That, combined with his dismissal of the not-passing narrative regarding his teammates have made things a lot brighter in San Antonio, and while it still has ample work to do before it can become consistent winners, it's on the right track. 

Jones' impressive play and Wembanyama's consistency has made sure of that. The next step is for the record book to start showing it.

A Positive Team Trend

A six-game road trip for a 7-30 team isn't exactly a recipe for success.

Yes, the Spurs have come within striking distance of every one of their opponents in the last five games, but not all of them have turned into wins. The latter part of that statement has rang true all-season long, but the former? 

Not so much.

Part of the Spurs' biggest issues — like mentioned above — is their lack of consistency. That takes different forms, though the most common ones were from the floor and in the rotations. 

“We’ve had a lot of different lineups this year, trying to mess with things, let some guys develop in certain areas,” McDermott said. “(The coaches) are going to do what’s best for the organization and best for guys moving forward in their careers.”

Experimenting with different lineups isn't anything new for this year's San Antonio squad, with the latest iteration being Tre Jones as a starter, but for once, it seemed to work. Not only are the Spurs playing better, but they've recorded a few wins as well. 

Atlanta, Boston and Philadelphia pose serious threats for San Antonio over the next few games, but as they've shown recently, the Spurs have the ability to keep up. If they're able to grab a win against any of those teams, pairing that with two games against the Wizards and Hornets, could certainly result in a multi-game win streak. 

San Antonio doesn't know it yet, but winning multiple games in a row on the road is the biggest source of momentum, and for a young team that's struggled all year long, that's exactly what they need.