With the San Antonio Spurs winning the right to draft a generational prospect such as Victor Wembanyama, the Spurs have a lot of decisions to make when considering how this team will look next season. I want to take an in-depth look at possible future lineups, additions to the team, how Vic and the rest of the team should mesh on the court, and a prediction of the Spurs’ record.
There have been rumors that the Spurs are looking to find a way to gain another first-round pick inside of the lottery to draft a point guard. The Spurs have plenty of assets to trade for a mid-lottery pick so maybe teams like Orlando, Dallas, and Utah would be interested. As far as who we can trade, many people are suggesting Keldon be traded for a lottery pick. While that is plausible, I doubt it will happen. Keldon being the first option this season scored 22 points per game on iffy efficiency and poor defense. Still, I don’t think he will be traded since he is an important piece in the locker room and a good shooter when he isn’t the first option. In the 2021-22 Season, he scored 17 ppg on 39.8% from 3 with a 57.4 TS% When he isn’t the first option he can contribute to at least league average TS% with a good 3pt percentage and can drive and finish well around the rim. With Wembanyama, Keldon will feast on attacking closeouts and get easier drives to the rim, and will get more catch-and-shoot opportunities and just easier shots in general. Hopefully, with the lesser role, he can put more energy into defense as well since he isn’t carrying the offense as much. As far as other tradable assets, the Spurs have a plethora of future first and second-round picks to use along with Blake Wesley (if they want to explore his value), Devonte’ Graham, and Doug McDermott.
The Spurs could run a lineup of Sochan, Vassell, Johnson, Wembanyama, and Collins. I like this the most since you get the defensive versatility of Sochan, Wemby, and Vassell, and the offense of Keldon and the rest of the lineup. I don’t think Sochan will be the primary ball-handler in this lineup but we have seen him play point guard. already so it isn’t a stretch. Also, Vassell and Wemby are very capable of handling some ball-handling and playmaking responsibilities.
I believe Fred VanVleet would be a decent fit for the Spurs. Although he averaged 19 ppg on pretty bad efficiency, he can still create for himself and others and is a pest on the defensive end. With plenty of shooters around him in a lineup of FVV, Devin Vassell, Keldon, Sochan, and Wemby, he’ll naturally help create more three-point opportunities and his efficiency should increase with the lower volume of shots he’ll be taking in this lineup. I don’t like him as a primary ball handler but his playmaking numbers are pretty decent so as long as he plays pass first (which I believe is unlikely) then he should be fine on a team with better spacing like the Spurs.
After his spectacular run in the playoffs with the Lakers, Austin Reaves is looking to get paid this offseason. He averaged 17ppg on amazing efficiency and showcased a really good ability to facilitate as a secondary or tertiary ball handler next to LeBron at times when necessary. He can shoot, play make, and shows a lot of effort on the defensive end. He is a restricted free agent so the Spurs most definitely have to overpay a high enough amount to where the Lakers don’t match. According to a report by the Athletic, the Spurs are hoping to steal Reaves from the Lakers. Though apparently, the Lakers are willing to match almost any offer up to 100 million. The Spurs have the money for that but it is unlikely they offer that much.
Of course, the Spurs don’t even have to sign a different point guard and just go with Tre Jones. Although he’s undersized, he’s a good defender, a great facilitator, and a high-IQ player who doesn’t make many mistakes. The only knock on his game is his lack of a three-pointer, which limits his overall offensive game but as he’s continued to improve every season, who’s to say he won’t improve there as well?
With a lineup of Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan, and Victor Wembanyama, this team has the makings of a play-in team at worst, of course suggesting that Wembanyama and the rest of the team stays healthy and plays a decent amount of games together. They have good defenders at every position besides Small Forward and a defender like Wembanyama will help alleviate their mistakes on defense. Sochan and Wembanyama will be one of the best defensive frontcourt duos in the league. It’s almost comparable to having Giannis and Draymond in the same lineup defensively. I don’t think they’re at that level yet but they definitely have that type of potential in the future.
Offensively this team is also going to be hard to contain. Three out of five of the players in the starting lineup can shoot consistently, and it’s possible the other two improve their shot as well. Seeing how much Pop loves the midrange, Wembanyama will destroy teams on pick and pops, handoffs, fadeaways, step-back middies, you name it. Much like KD, there is no one that’s able to contest his shot, especially in the midrange area. With his handles, he can create shots for himself and just shoot over just about anybody, like KD. If he is double-teamed he can just pass it over defenders to the open man, that's where the shooters come in. Keldon and Vassell are going to feast on catch-and-shoot opportunities and since Wemby will garner so much attention on offense, these guys will get a lot of easier shots. Sochan offensively will thrive too. He moves very well without the ball in his hands and with Wemby, Vassell, and Keldon garnering most of the attention, teams may forget about Sochan. That will give him more opportunities to cut to the rim. With Sochan in the post, he’ll be able to find guys cutting and moving around the perimeter to get 3pt shots. If not, he can hit the fadeaway in the post. Of course, Tre Jones is going to orchestrate this offense and I believe he’ll do a good job of doing so.
If Wembanyama is starting at Center then Zach Collins is going back to the bench but I believe both can start in the same lineup, it just depends on who is the point guard. ]
Malaki Branham can keep up the offensive load off the bench as a sixth man with Doug McDermott and Devounte’ Graham as shooters to pair up with them. Charles Bassey will also play a big role as the rim protector off the bench. Defensively, the bench isn’t the best so far so it’s important that the Spurs go after good defensive players either in the draft or in free agency, specifically at the 3 and the 4 spot. If Keita comes back then he’ll do his role well as always at the 4. Mamu can also play a good role on the bench as well since he was pretty solid since coming to the Spurs.
Overall, I believe the Spurs have a chance to be competitive. At best, they can be a play-in team with a record of around 40 wins and 42 losses but they could be better. And at worst, this team is most likely a late lottery team. Of course, everybody's health will play a major factor in this, especially Wembanyama. The Spurs probably aren’t done making moves yet so we will see how this roster changes in the next month.