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San Antonio Spurs Team Preview

Popovich Spurs
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The San Antonio Spurs finished the previous season with a 33-39 record which was good enough for them to reach the play-in tournament. In the play-in tournament, they would lose a close game to the Memphis Grizzlies, being eliminated from the postseason in the process. After twenty-plus seasons of reaching the playoffs, Gregg Popovich and the team have now missed back-to-back years of reaching the playoffs. The only time that has happened in his coaching career. 

Make sure to check out all of our other NBA Season Previews.

Offseason Recap

The Spurs started off their offseason by drafting Alabama guard Joshua Primo. A shocking draft selection as the team already has two capable guards in Dejounte Murray and Derrick White. Primo will mostly be seen in the G-League or at the end of the bench this upcoming season unless the team struggles with injuries. The selection of the guard came as a shock as Primo was projected as a late first-round and some even had him in the second round. 

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San Antonio would sign sharpshooting forward Doug McDermott to a three-year deal. McDermott came off a great season with the Indiana Pacers and provides much-needed shooting versatility to this team. After waiving LaMarcus Aldridge this past season, the team was looking to move on from wing DeMar DeRozan. They found a sign-and-trade partner with the Chicago Bulls. San Antonio would send DeRozan to Chicago for Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, a 2025 first, and two second-rounders.

The team would later bring back former Spur Bryn Forbes to the team. Forbes signed with the Milwaukee Bucks last season and would later win a championship with the team. Forbes provides another shooting presence that the team lacked off the bench last season. The Spurs would see Rudy Gay walkout, as the versatile forward signed with the Utah Jazz.

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The Starting Five

PG- Dejounte Murray

SG – Derrick White

SF – Devin Vassell

PF – Keldon Johnson

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C – Jakob Poeltl 

Murray, White, and Johnson are the three main pieces to this team. All three of them performed well for the team last season and played their role under Popovich with high regard. Devin Vassell had a slow start to his career in San Antonio, but in his second season, he should become that three and D type starter the team wanted when they drafted him. Poeltl finally looked like a caliber NBA player last season. The center averaged eight points and nearly eight rebounds per game last season as the main starter for the team. The Spurs do not have another big man who can contend with Poeltl for starting minutes unless the team wants to move into the direction of “small ball”. 

The Bench

The San Antonio bench is looking surprisingly deep. The starting five is solid but the team might be better off playing their bench heavy minutes. The team will have McDermott, Lonnie Walker, Forbes, and Tre Jones who are all elite shooters. The Spurs were not the best three-point shooting team last season, but with the additions of McDermott and Forbes, the bench now looks suitable. Aminu will provide a few minutes of ‘3-D’ and act as a mentor to Vassell and Johnson. 

The center depth is awful for this team. Popovich could play Young at the center position, but that would hinder the team’s post defense. The team signed Jock Landale who will need time to develop but could turn into a solid bench piece behind Poeltl. Landale should provide low post-scoring and defensive rebounding, which is what this team lacks. Although Landale is still a project so that might not come to fruition this season. Zach Collins and Drew Eubanks are on the roster, but their role will be limited as they have yet to show any flashed in previous seasons that they are rotational guys in this league. 

One Potential Move

If the Spurs start the season slow, it should not come to anyone’s surprise that the team trades either Murray or White for draft capital. These two guards are starting-caliber players on a championship roster and are in their prime right now. Their careers are not lined up with the San Antonio rebuilding timeline. Murray and White could garner two first-round picks each which would help the front office in their rebuilding attempts. Popovich knows that these two will provide wins for the organization. If the team wants to tank the season away the best move would be to trade the two to stock up the war chest.

Teams such as the Philidelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and New York Knicks are all looking for gritty guards to push them over the top as title contenders. White would be a great fit in Phoenix or New York and both teams have the assets to trade for him. Two first-rounders or one draft pick and young talent that the other team is not willing to wait for. Murray would have a great fit with the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are looking for a combo guard who can do a little of everything. Two firsts and a pick swap would be a great deal for San Antonio to let go of White. Boston has multiple draft assets that they can part with. Grant Williams or Romeo Langford could also serve as possible returns as well.

Season Outlook

Expectations are low for this team. Popovich is not a fan of tanking in the NBA. Expect a high motor from the team early on in the season, but once the season drags on and the team losses start to pile on. The Spurs will start weird lineups and losing will become a necessity for the team in order to receive a high lottery pick. This year’s Spurs team is simply not built for the playoffs. When the losses begin to pile up, expect a fire sale of the team’s veterans. 

Vassell, Johnson, Poeltl, and Primo might start seeing more playing time and having the offense being played through them. This season will be all about development and these four players will need to show flashes this season. Although they do not need to become great NBA players this season. As long as they perform well consistently enough, this season will be a success for San Antonio.

Season Prediction: 35-47, fourth in Southwest Division


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
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