Predicting the point guard rotation for the San Antonio Spurs in the 2017-18 NBA season.
The San Antonio Spurs’ point guard position will look different for the 2017-18 NBA season. It will begin without Tony Parke whose torn quad, which he suffered in the playoffs, will keep him out for a chunk of games that potentially stretch into 2018.
That means someone new will be the point guard starter on Opening Night, when the Spurs play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, Oct. 18. Whoever it is, will have to go against Jeff Teague.
Outside of the starter, there will be one or two backups at the position. Who will those be? Let’s take a look at a point guard projection for the upcoming season.
Third string: Derrick White
Derrick White has no NBA experience, except for a handful of Summer League games. He was selected in the 2017 Draft to add depth at the point guard position, which turned out to be the team’s only addition there, even with Parker’s injury.
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Given recent Spurs draft picks, it’s unlikely White receives much on-court time. That was the case with Dejounte Murray last season, as he spent just 38 games on the roster, with the rest of it in the D-League. While it’s no guarantee the Spurs choose to go this route for the Colorado product, it’s a blueprint to give him as much on-court time possible, instead of sitting on the bench.
If the Spurs keep White on the Opening Night roster, he’ll likely sit behind Murray in the point guard rotation. That could mean receiving anywhere from eight-to-12 minutes per game, coming in when everyone else needs a rest or in garbage time. Otherwise, look for a handful of DNP-COACH’S DECISION for the rookie guard.
There is potential for White to do more, but that may not come until 2018 or 2019. He may be eased in at first, whether that’s on the main roster, the D-League, or a combination. Either way, however he can find valuable experience will be the best course of action.
Next: Dejounte Murray
Second string: Dejounte Murray
How the San Antonio Spurs use Derrick White may be similar to how Dejounte Murray was deployed in his rookie season. However, Murray should be ready for a step up the playing time ladder in 2017-18.
With Parker out, it allows everyone to move up a rung on the depth chart. That pushes Murray to the backup point guard spot, which is a significant upgrade from 2016-17. It features him getting more than 38 games-played and an increase from 8.5 minutes per game. That should lead to an increase, across the board, on the stat sheet, as well as valuable experience as a 21-year-old on the floor.
It’s possible Murray could start a handful of games, too, pending injury or what Gregg Popovich wants to do with the starting lineup. He could give the veterans a rest (which has become a guarantee for Pop’s teams) and mean the younger guys get a chance at carrying the load for a night, or two, for the Spurs.
This second season should be a bigger one for Murray, as long as the Spurs don’t bring in an additional veteran point guard before the season starts. Look for about 14-18 minutes per game from him.
Next: Patty Mills
Starter: Patty Mills
Even with never being a full-time starter at point guard, the San Antonio Spurs all but guaranteed Patty Mills the starting spot when he re-signed for four years, $50 million to start the offseason. Sure, big contracts were handed out all over the NBA, even to players who no one expected, but giving this to him meant either more money to stay in the same sixth man-esque role or to be the beneficiary of Parker’s injury, for now, and the future.
Mills’ eight years of NBA experience tops Murray and White’s combined one. That comes with just 18 games started at point guard, but he added to it in the playoffs, being used once Parker went down and playing anywhere from 25-35 minutes per game.
Mills should slide right back into this role for the 2017-18 season, potentially for its entirety. If the Spurs play well and remain near the top of the Western Conference with the Aussie as the starter, he could fend Parker off and make him into the backup, if it’s best for the team. If so, Mills could finish the season at 30 minutes per game, averaging around 12-15 points and close to five assists per game if his playoff stats were any indication.