San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: Without Kawhi Leonard, what’s next?

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NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 02: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs in action against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 2, 2018 in New York City. The Spurs defeated the Knicks 100-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 02: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs in action against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 2, 2018 in New York City. The Spurs defeated the Knicks 100-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs are in for another Kawhi Leonard-less era in the 2017-18 season. Will it be anything different from the last extended stint?

Well, here we are again. It’s the 2017-18 season and the San Antonio Spurs will not have Kawhi Leonard for an “indefinite” period, according to the team. This was the case from the end of September to Dec. 12. Factor in a left shoulder strain and “return from injury management,” and it led to just nine games the “Klaw” played in, as of Jan. 18.

It seems like a déjà vu situation, right. Leonard sits out. Kyle Anderson takes a spot in the starting lineup, along with 25-30 minutes per game and others move up in the rotation. LaMarcus Aldridge will assume the alpha role on offense. Then, the Spurs remain at No. 3 or 4 in the Western Conference.

That’s fine, but it presents a problem that’s lasted for most of the season: San Antonio, aside from Aldridge, does not have another healthy scorer that can take over games.

Wait, didn’t Patty Mills just explode for 25 points vs. the Brooklyn Nets? Yes, but he has played hot and cold for most, if not all of this season. He can stay as the sixth or seventh man, but the volatility can’t make him trusted as one of the next scorers after Aldridge.

Patty Mills hit a career-best SEVEN threes tonight. ? https://t.co/7a3HwANj65

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 18, 2018

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It’s happened in spurts with other players, like Davis Bertans, Rudy Gay (when healthy) and Pau Gasol, but the Spurs often descend into offensive funks when Aldridge isn’t having his best night or sits on the bench. Kawhi Leonard would have solved this problem, but after playing fewer than one-dozen games and now out “indefinitely,” it leaves the solution on the sidelines.

Will this make the Spurs pursue a trade? They are rarely active at the NBA Trade Deadline, opting to keep things status quo or make a minor move.

How quiet are the Silver and Black at the Trade Deadline? So much, that they have made two moves since 2010; sending Nando de Colo to the Toronto Raptors and acquiring Stephen Jackson from the Golden State Warriors. That’s it.

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Is this team good enough to top the Warriors or the Houston Rockets without Leonard? That’s up to the front office to decide over the next three weeks. History says fans should not expect anything, but this team can use an extra scorer to replace some of the lost production and take the load off Aldridge’s shoulders. Who, though?

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