The latest of the Spurs rumors leading up to the trade deadline connects San Antonio to Pistons swingman Stanley Johnson. Here’s why he’s a good fit for the Spurs.
There are plenty of Spurs rumors flying around with just a couple of weeks to go before the NBA trade deadline.
The latest name to be bandied about in San Antonio is Stanley Johnson, according to a report from The Athletic’s Jabari Young.
At this point of the season, San Antonio knows where they weaknesses lie and where they need to improve as they push for the postseason in an incredibly deep Western Conference.
Their biggest weakness is their lack of depth on the wing, and the Detroit Pistons have a young wing who has not been seeing the floor much this season and may be looking for a new home very soon.
Here’s why the Spurs should strongly consider making a move for Stanley Johnson ahead of the upcoming trade deadline.
Next: Spurs lack of wing depth
Spurs lack of wing depth
When Dejounte Murray went down with a torn ACL in the preseason, the Spurs knew they were in trouble at the wing position, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
Behind those two, the rest of San Antonio’s roster is full of big men or guards who are incapable of guarding opposing wing players.
The Spurs desperately need some depth behind Gay on the wing, and Stanley Johnson has the potential to fill that role.
Next: Taking a chance on youth
Taking a chance on youth
A common theme of the trade speculation on this site has been acquiring young players who have the potential to become members of the next great Spurs team.
While Stanley Johnson can certainly help the team this year, his biggest value to the organization may come in the next five-to-ten years.
This is Johnson’s fourth season in the league, but he’s still only 22 years old and his inconsistent playing time in Detroit may have stunted his growth as a player.
The Pistons’ organization can’t decide if they’re playing for the present or the future, and that lack of direction has left their former eighth overall pick behind.
Stanley Johnson may simply need a change of scenery to realize the potential that made him a top-ten pick back in 2015.
The Spurs’ offense has been humming for most of the year as DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge have been dominant for stretches of the season, and the team is getting significant offensive contributions from their group of role players.
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However, San Antonio’s defense remains to be a problem as they currently rank 18th in defensive rating after giving up over 120 points in a road loss to the Sixers.
Stanley Johnson has struggled to find his shot in the NBA, but he’s been a very solid defender throughout his four-year career.
The former Arizona Wildcat currently ranks 17th among 89 qualifying small forwards in defensive real plus-minus. He is ahead of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Otto Porter, and the Spurs’ own Davis Bertans among others on that list.
He has consistently gotten better on defense each year he’s been in the league, and that improvement should continue as he enters the prime of his career.
Stanley Johnson’s defensive ability would help the Spurs’ depth problems on the wing, and he has the potential to be a building block in San Antonio for years to come.
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The Spurs could send Dante Cunningham and Quincy Pondexter to Detroit for Johnson. San Antonio would probably have to send a second round pick along with those two veterans, but I think that would still be a good deal for the Spurs.
As long as the Spurs don’t have to give up a key rotation player or a first round pick in this deal, I think they should give the Pistons a call about Stanley Johnson.