The San Antonio Spurs are on a roll to start the season, but I’d still like to see these three young players get some more minutes moving forward.
The San Antonio Spurs couldn’t have asked for a better start to the regular season after a rocky preseason that was riddled with injuries to their promising young guards.
The Spurs currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 5-2 record that includes a win over the playoff-hopeful Timberwolves and two wins over the Lakers.
It’s difficult to ask Gregg Popovich to change up the rotation after such a good start to the year, but we know he likes to rest his veterans as the season progresses which will open up some opportunities for San Antonio’s younger players.
Here are the three players I think should be getting more playing time as we head into the second month of the season.
Next: Davis Bertans
Davis Bertans has always been a tantalizing player for Spurs fans with his great size and knockdown shooting ability.
He is off to a hot start this season hitting 52.6% of his 2.7 three-point attempts per game, and Bertans was actually a pretty strong defender last season ranking 11th among small forwards in defensive real plus-minus.
Dante Cunningham has been a solid starter so far this year, but I think the 25-year-old Bertans certainly provides more upside on the offensive end and has better defensive statistics than Cunningham who ranked 55th among small forwards in defensive real plus-minus last season.
Popovich has never fully trusted Bertans in the past, but I think that should change this year.
Next: Jakob Poeltl
There’s no way around it, Jakob Poeltl has been a disappointment this season.
He began the season as the starting center, but Poeltl completely fallen out of the rotation riding the bench for the entirety of three of the past five games and only playing in garbage time in a blowout victory against the Suns.
Pop clearly trusts Pau Gasol more in his center rotation despite Pau’s struggles on the defensive end at 38 years old. The Spurs have also been playing more lineups with LaMarcus Aldridge at center to avoid giving Poeltl any playing time.
Poeltl is still a young player and he’s going to make mistakes. However, the Spurs made an investment in him and he needs to get on the floor in order to improve.
Next: Chimezie Metu
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This one is admittedly a bit of a longshot, but it would be fun to see the extremely athletic 6-foot 11-inch rookie get some consistent playing time.
Metu has a small sample size of garbage time minutes so far this season, but he is +16 in his 16 minutes this year.
He also played very well in Summer League dropping 10.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in 20 minutes per game in Utah and was similarly successful in Las Vegas with 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per night.
During the broadcast of the Spurs’ win over the Suns, the crew mentioned that Pop thinks Metu can eventually play small forward with is incredible versatility.
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It’s hard to argue that Metu should have a solid spot in the rotation right now, but as he gets more experience in the system I could see him turning some heads with an increase in playing time this season.