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San Antonio Spurs 2021-22 Season Preview: Figure Out A Direction

The San Antonio Spurs technically participated in postseason basketball during the 2020-21 season. Granted, the Spurs lost by a narrow margin to the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in, but San Antonio was at least competitive throughout the campaign injuries for Derrick White and a roster that was clearly in a period of transition. As the 2021-22 season approaches, a lot has changed in San Antonio, but Gregg Popovich returns to guide the ship and the Spurs have a bevy of young pieces that could provide a reasonably high floor.

Roster:

Al-Farouq Aminu
Keita Bates-Diop
Zach Collins
Drew Eubanks
Bryn Forbes
Keldon Johnson
Tre Jones
Jock Landale
Doug McDermott
Dejounte Murray
Jakob Poeltl
Josh Primo
Luka Samanic
Devin Vassell
Lonnie Walker
Derrick White
Joe Wieskamp
Thaddeus Young

Projected Vegas Win Total: 28.5 wins

Biggest Addition: Thaddeus Young and Doug McDermott

The Spurs changed a lot of their roster, but they didn’t make huge splashes in terms of additions. One could make a case for Josh Primo as a lottery pick, but he is a couple of years away and wasn’t a consensus top prospect. Young arrives as part of a trade and, while he is getting up there in age, he is a tremendous defender who should provide value. San Antonio went out of its way to secure McDermott’s services in free agency, and he is a knockdown shooter that any team could use.

Biggest Loss: DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan is a polarizing player, simply due to his interesting offensive game and defensive weaknesses. However, the Spurs will badly miss his offensive creation. San Antonio built a lot of their offensive approach around him the last few years, and DeRozan is a proven scorer that improved as a distributor during his time with the Spurs. It will be interesting to see how they replace his production.

Biggest Question: What is the long-term direction in San Antonio?

After two decades of stability and one of the best prolonged runs in NBA history, the Spurs have finished below the .500 mark in back-to-back seasons. On top of that, San Antonio doesn’t have a single “star” in the pipeline, even on a team that does have talented players at various positions. That combination is treacherous in the modern NBA, and the Spurs have one of the best head coaches of all-time on the bench that may not want to endure a full-blown rebuild. San Antonio probably has to pick a direction, and this season could paint the picture.

What Makes This Season A Success

Overall, the biggest success would probably be picking a direction, whether it be pushing in chips for now pushing them away for later. Aside from that, a reasonable goal for the Spurs would be competing for the play-in. With a projected win total in the high 20’s, that may seem lofty, but San Antonio has reason to believe they can defend, and there are enough young players where a few could break out.

What Makes This Season A Failure

If the Spurs win 28 games and don’t have a premium player to build around, it might feel pretty bleak. That isn’t necessarily an overwhelmingly likely outcome, but it’s definitely a plausible one. The other problem with winning ~30 games would be that there would be fewer ping-pong balls than several other teams when trying to secure that elusive (and important) top-three lottery pick.

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