How might the center rotation look for the San Antonio Spurs in the 2017-18 season?
The center position for the San Antonio Spurs saw Pau Gasol start in the 2016-17 season. It was his first for the organization, which saw him contribute to a Western Conference Finals push. Dewayne Dedmon sat behind him in the rotation.
However, Dedmon is out and the rotation at center looks different. It may not look like a reconstructed position, but there is a new face and other than that, not much else.
How will the center position look for the Spurs in the 2017-18 season?
Second string: Joffrey Lauvergne
Joffrey Lauvergne is the de facto backup center, much like Davis Bertans is set as the backup power forward. There’s no one else to contest Lauvergne for this role, unless the San Antonio Spurs make a last-minute offseason addition. This could have been David Lee, but after opting out of his contract, the team hasn’t re-signed him.
Lauvergne is a three-year journeyman that played backup center for the Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Chicago Bulls. He never showed much rim protection ability, but can work his way into the post and shoot from mid-range. It’s different from what Dedmon brought to the team, but floor spacing may have been the motive here.
Starter: Pau Gasol
After re-signing for three years, Pau Gasol will be back as the Spurs’ starting center. He’s uncontested for this role, unless Lauvergne breaks out.
Gasol is aging and it showed in 2016-17, as he put up just over 12 points and seven rebounds per game. These were some of the lowest marks of his career.
On the wrong side of his 30’s, Gasol’s decline may continue in the 2017-18 season. If so, leaving Lauvergne as the lone backup at center isn’t the best scenario. That may leave LaMarcus Aldridge to man the five spot, but he’s best suited to play the four.