Today’s Spurs team and their future is very reminiscent of the Robinson Era Spurs; however, our current Spurs team is in a different dilemma than the Robinson-led Spurs. Currently, the Spurs are 31-34 and the 10th seed in the West. With this continued losing streak it is tough to tell whether the Spurs can hold on and make the play-in tournament. The 11th seed Pelicans are one and a half games back, and despite having Stan Van Gundy as their head coach they have a legitimate chance of overtaking the Spurs. The question now is whether winning now or preparing for the future is more important. Back in the nineties, the Spurs were a playoff team, but until the arrival of Duncan and Popovich they weren’t serious contenders, and the Spurs of today are stuck at just barely competing for the playoffs and either need to make changes or draft the next Tim Duncan.
With the current roster, the Spurs look like they should be focusing more on player development and preparing for the future rather than winning now. The Spurs roster is an awkward combination of veterans like Rudy Gay and Demar Derozan alongside younger players like Keldon Johnson and Lonnie Walker IV. Hypothetically if the Spurs were to make the playoffs and advance from the play-in tournament, it would provide valuable experience for all of the young Spurs. Even though a first-round exit would show who on the team is playoff ready, it isn’t as valuable as a high lottery pick, and continuing down the current path that the Spurs are on would leave them somewhere between making deep playoff runs and a rebuild. With a young core of Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker IV, Devin Vassel, Tre Jones, Luka Samanic, and Derrick White along with other players, the Spurs are a few good players from becoming a future contender. With another lottery pick and free-agent signings, the Spurs are almost ready to be competitive again.
If the spurs managed to get into the top of the lottery, they should either take Jalen Suggs or Cade Cunningham if they want a wing player, or they could draft their next superstar big man, Evan Mobley. If the spurs get a wing in the draft, they should try to sign either Jarrett Allen or John Collins. Both centers would fit in with the Spurs time table for the future and would give the Spurs some much-needed help on offense. If they drafted Evan Mobley he could be the next Tim Duncan for the Spurs. In order to optimize a roster with Mobley, the Spurs should sign Gary Trent Jr. and Lauri Markkanen. Trent would be a needed wing player and Markkanen could be a stretch five or big four that could space the floor on offense and help overwhelm teams on defense with the combined size of him and Mobley.
In order to match the roster of the future, you need a coach of the future because sadly Pop can’t coach forever. Popovich took over the Spurs after multiple playoff losses in the second round, so he had a good team and needed the final ended up being Tim Duncan. The current Spurs have a solid group of young players, but none of them look like future all NBA type talents, so we still need a few pieces. If the Spurs end up with a high lottery pick and draft well and hopefully sign someone in free agency, they will be ready to contend in the future. The coach that makes most sense for this team is Becky Hammon. She has been an assistant coach since 2014 and coached the Spurs summer league team to a championship back in 2015. Hammon has seen the development of some of the younger spurs and also helped coach serious contenders like the 2015 and 2016 Spurs. Besides being the logical choice for the job, she would also make history as the first female head coach in the NBA. With her leadership and a few more pieces the Spurs are primed for deep playoff runs and hopefully a championship in the future.