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With chance for bench to impress, Anderson, Marjanovic deliver

Kyle Anderson matched Manu Ginobili with a team-high five assists Sunday against the Pistons. Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard poured in a game-high 21 points. That's expected.

Manu Ginobili hit 5-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point range for 15 points, in addition to dishing out five nifty assists. No big deal.

Perhaps the most interesting development in San Antonio's first victory of the preseason, a 96-92 triumph over the Detroit Pistons, was the play of rookie center Boban Marjanovic and second-year guard/forward Kyle Anderson.

The duo didn't dot the box score with gaudy numbers. They combined for just six points but performed well enough to give the team even more optimism about its depth, which will be tested this season, given the ages of frontline players such as Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, not to mention Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's penchant for resting key contributors throughout the season.

Playing with San Antonio's second unit, Anderson scored just two points in a little more than 14 minutes of action, but he dished out five assists, including three in the last 2:34 of the third quarter, as San Antonio built an 80-63 lead heading into the final period.

"Well, Kyle makes everybody better," Popovich said. "He is a heck of a passer. He really sees the floor. That's something you can't coach. Some guys have it; some don't. He's really a smart player. He's going to play a variety of positions during the season."

Anderson did that against the Pistons. He played small forward and power forward.

"I just told myself coming out to this game, 'Just slow down. Play your game,'" Anderson said. "What I'm trying to do is just get comfortable, relax, play my game. We moved the ball out there great today, so I think that made it a lot easier out there to get comfortable. It's a lot of fun, really."

Marjanovic, a 7-foot-3 rookie from Serbia who most recently played for Crvena Zvezda in 2014-15, didn't enter Sunday's game until the fourth quarter. But once Marjanovic got on the court, he drew a difficult test in the paint in Detroit's Andre Drummond. In 8:26 of action, Marjanovic pulled down five rebounds, blocked two shots and knocked in a couple putbacks for four points.

Popovich admitted he was somewhat surprised by Marjanovic's ability to run the court, considering the latter is listed at 290 pounds.

"He runs a whole lot better than I expected when the guys told me about him and everything," Popovich said. "He's a heck of a teammate. He's a really good passer. He's got a nice touch, and he understands how to play. He was a first team all-Euroleague selection. He's a pretty good player. He's just got to get used to the NBA, with the physicality, the size of people and that kind of thing."

What made Marjanovic and Anderson's performances even more promising was the fact Detroit left its starters in for the majority of the game.

"It helps me see who I want to keep and who can play when the lights come on," Popovich said. "Having those guys out there is important. I was glad they had most of their starting guys on the court because it's a good test to see who can do a good job against them."