The Spurs have accumulated a lot of nice young pieces in their post-Kawhi Leonard rebuild, but they don’t have the guy yet. Maybe that player will emerge this year now that veteran guard DeMar DeRozan has moved on to Chicago. The Spurs haven’t been good enough to make the playoffs the last two years, and also haven’t been bad enough to get a high lottery pick. In the twilight of Gregg Popovich’s legendary career, it finally feels like the latter could happen.
Somehow sneaking into the playoffs, or at least making the play-in tournament. The Spurs have finally gone young, so the pressure is off, but if a few things go right, the postseason could be a possibility. There’s enough defensive talent on the roster for San Antonio to keep most teams in check, but the offense could be an issue. If a couple of players take a step forward on that end, the Spurs could really turn some heads.
No one from the young core steps up, and the veterans play big roles for a team that still doesn’t even make the playoffs. This season is supposed to be all about growth from the players the Spurs have been drafting in recent years. If the ones who were already in the rotation don’t take a leap, and the ones that have been stuck at the end of the bench don’t prove that they belong, San Antonio would have to consider drastically reshaping its roster.
The Spurs will probably be bad but fun. Defensively, they have disruptive players and, if what Gregg Popovich said on media day is true, they will try to run. The roster is deep, the veterans seem to fit well next to the young guys, and they will be well-coached. Things could turn ugly in the half court on offense with no go-to scorer, and in terms of top tier talent, San Antonio will be at a disadvantage almost every night, but the Spurs should keep things competitive most of the time.
The young core, unleashed. The NBA has had teen superstars, so “young” is a bit of a deceptive word for guys like Derrick White (27 years old) and Dejounte Murray (25 years old), but for various reasons they haven’t been able to play together much. It will be exciting to see them get that opportunity. Watching what Lonnie Walker IV, Luka Samanic, Devin Vassell and maybe even rookie Josh Primo can do with rotation roles will also be fascinating. And Keldon Johnson could be ready for a big leap. It’s an exciting time in San Antonio after a few seasons in limbo.
Josh Primo (rookie).