The Spurs kick off their season opener Wednesday as they play host to the Orlando Magic at the AT&T Center. While the offseason saw DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, and Patty Mills depart San Antonio to join playoff contenders, it also welcomed fresh faces like Josh Primo, Thaddeus Young, and Doug McDermott.
With the youngest roster of the Gregg Popovich era and without an All-Star on their roster for the first time in franchise history, the Silver and Black are undoubtedly entering uncharted territory. There are plenty of unanswered questions. And there aren’t any championship expectations for this club, yet fans should be excited for the unknown.
What if the future wasn’t so shrouded in mystery? What if we could get a glimpse into what this season holds for the Spurs? And that’s where NBA 2K22 comes into play. Video games aren’t down to an exact science, but the updated association mode allows players to take complete control as the general manager of their favorite franchise.
So, I simulated San Antonio’s season and put a few rules into place to ensure I didn’t have too much influence over the outcome. First, I barred myself from making any deals until the trade deadline. Then, I ran with the starting lineups we saw during the preseason and allocated minutes to the backups as the game recommended.
Things mostly went as I anticipated. San Antonio won more games than the 28.5 wins the Las Vegas sportsbooks said they would, but not by a lot. Josh Primo spent almost all of his rookie go-round in the G League, only coming up to the NBA after the All-Star Break. And Dejounte Murray established himself as the alpha within the pecking order.
Despite failing to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season, the Spurs set themselves up quite nicely to compete for titles in the not-so-distant future. They took home the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery, selecting Duke freshman Paulo Banchero, the fourth-best high school recruit from the class of 2021.
Even though the San Antonio Spurs had a somewhat uneventful virtual year from a winning basketball perspective, there were many fascinating happenings. Given all the artificial intelligence that goes into making 2K, these games don’t always fall in line with reality. Check out all the notable events, statistics, and transactions below.
- The San Antonio Spurs trade Bryn Forbes and Chicago Bulls’ 2022 second-round pick for Austin Reaves and an unprotected 2026 first-round pick from the Los Angeles Lakers.
- The San Antonio Spurs trade Thaddeus Young and the Indiana Pacers’ 2026 second-round pick for Josh Hart and an unprotected 2026 first-round pick from the New Orleans Pelicans.
- Keldon Johnson: Broken Left Ankle (Out 6 Weeks)
- Derrick White: Left Arm Hairline Fracture (Out 3 Weeks)
- Lonnie Walker: Right Knee Sprain (Out 2 Weeks)
- Lonnie Walker: Dislocated Right Patella (Out Indefinitely)
- Dejounte Murray (Left Knee Tendinitis (Out Indefinitely)
- Gregg Popovich becomes the all-time winningest head coach in NBA history after beating the Raptors 107-99 and securing his 27th victory of the season on March 9.
- No San Antonio Spurs are named to the All-Star team for the third consecutive season.
- Dejounte Murray earns All-Defensive Second Team honors after averaging 2.2 steals per game.
- Spurs finish with a 31-51 record (Third-Worst in the NBA) and win the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery.
- Head Coach Gregg Popovich retires after his 26th season as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs.
- The San Antonio Spurs select Duke freshman Paulo Banchero with the fourth overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft.
- Keldon Johnson finishes in third place in the Most Improved Player of the Year Award voting.
- Zach Collins didn’t play a single game for the San Antonio Spurs and informs their front office that he doesn’t believe he has a future with the team.
- Dejounte Murray leads the San Antonio Spurs in scoring (20.0 PPG), assists (4.5 APG), and steals (2.2 SPG).
- Jakob Poeltl leads the San Antonio Spurs in rebounds (9.9 RPG) and blocks (1.8 BPG).
- Keldon Johnson leads the San Antonio Spurs in free throws (3.3 FTA) while increasing his scoring load to 16.2 points per game.
- Doug McDermott leads the San Antonio Spurs in three-point percentage (36.6%)
- Derrick White leads the Spurs in threes (173 3PM) while pacing all guards in the NBA in blocks (1.3 BPG)
- Jakob Poeltl and Doug McDermott are the only Spurs to start all 82 games during the season.
- Drew Eubanks posts the best field goal percentage (56%) and plus-minus (+132) on the team.
- Josh Primo appears in 19 games and averaged 8.3 points per game on .406/.319/.903 shooting splits.
- Jock Landale appears in 32 games and averaged 6.0 points per game on .360/.230/.820 shooting splits.
- Tre Jones appears in 40 games and makes seven starts, averaging 6.9 points and 4.1 assists per game on 53.5% shooting.
- Devin Vassell appears in 82 games and makes 18 starts, averaging 6.3 points and 1.3 steals per game on .412/.277/.909 shooting splits.
- The San Antonio Spurs allowed the fewest points in the NBA (110.1 OPPG) while finishing fourth in steals (9.1 SPG) and first in points off turnovers (6.3 PPG).
- The San Antonio Spurs committed the most fouls (22.4 FPG) and second-most turnovers in the league (15.6 TOPG).
- The San Antonio Spurs finished top of the league in Pace (104.1 possessions per game)
How did my NBA 2K22 simulation of San Antonio’s season hold up to your real-life hopes for the Spurs? Let us know down in the comments.
For more Silver and Black news, opinions, and musings, make sure to check out what the rest of the Pounding the Rock staff has to offer.