After being left to ponder all summer, Spurs fans finally have an answer to the question of who will be in the starting lineup for their regular season opener against the Dallas Mavericks. While Devin Vassell, Victor Wembanyama and Zach Collins were all pretty much foregone conclusions, that begged the question of who who would fill out the remainder of the starting lineup. Last night against the Rockets, Gregg Popovich revealed the group that started then will start on opening night, meaning the answer to the summer-long question is Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan.
Pop said tonight's starting lineup - Sochan, Vassell, Johnson, Wemby & Collins - is penciled to start on opening night:— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) October 19, 2023
"They better play well or we are in trouble. Those are the big guys. They are tall, they are big, they are going to start."
As revealed in the quote above, Pop is going with length: an indicator that he’s going back to his bread-and-butter of valuing defense above all else after last season’s disastrous results on that end. It was also revealed that while we can still expect “team” offense from the starting unit, Pop’s plan is for Sochan to play “point guard”, something he ran by Wemby and got approval for with both parties seeing plenty of promise for the future.
Wemby gave his stamp of approval to Pop's decision to start Sochan at PG: "Of course, all of us got a long way to go, but he's already pretty wise on the court and efficient and the ball is safe in his hands, so he's got a hundred percent of my trust..."— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) October 19, 2023
More from Wembanyama on Sochan starting at PG:— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) October 19, 2023
"I think the way he's going to keep developing is going to be scary."
At the same time, this also answers the other parallel question of who among last year’s starters would be the Sixth Man this season, and at least for now, it’s Tre Jones. The bench is looking like it will be pretty good offensively with presumably Malaki Branham, Cedi Osman, Doug McDermott and Charles Bassey (based on preseason performance) rounding out the second unit, so Jones will be an excellent point guard with that squad.
So there you have it. When referring back to our four Spurs questions heading into the offseason, they have generally all been answered. Will Vassell sign a contract extension? Heck yeah, he did. What will the starting lineup look like? You’re looking at it. Who will win rotation minutes? Likely the ten players listed above, and it’s possible Pop plays some more guys a few minutes per game, like Julian Champagnie, Sandro Mamukelashvili and/or Blake Wesley (none of whom have had great preseasons). And lastly, how will the Spurs trim down the roster? They answered that today as well by finally waiving Khem Birch.
The roster is set, and we now know who will be starting on October 25, so who’s ready for the regular season?! (After Friday’s preseason finale, of course.)