With unique individual performers throughout the San Antonio Spurs’ roster, there are a variety of Spurs worth drafting in fantasy basketball this year.
For many, fantasy basketball is considered niche in comparison with other fantasy sports such as baseball and football. However, the stats-based game continues to wrangle fans of all demographics to gather and compete each week.
Plenty of fans will consider San Antonio Spurs players for their rosters this season, and rightfully so. There are a ton of points available in the Alamo City. Between the group’s leaders in LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, who are the 26th and 27th respectively in average draft position in ESPN drafts, are set to put up big numbers in their second season playing alongside each other.
However, the big names aren’t the only offerings San Antonio has for fantasy players.
The Spurs are building for the future while competing for the playoffs and boast a significant amount of talent through the deep roster. This can be a point of difficulty for fantasy players to start the season, as Gregg Popovich will toy with lineups and insert players as need be.
Outside of the duo of potential All-Stars, the Spurs have players at every position to fill roster needs. With skill-based players ridden throughout the roster, Pop’s group offers a lot of stat value that can help fantasy managers take their teams to the next level.
Next: Game-based streaming options
Game-based streaming options: Mills and Carroll
Sometimes you need a quick fantasy pick up to fill in for an injured player or push you past your weekly opponent. One widely adapted strategy is to cycle through players based on matchups to ensure higher point totals for the week.
In terms of streaming options, the Spurs have a lot to offer. Some players with streaming potential will be covered in the next section, but two individuals come to mind with pure streaming potential. First off, Australian point guard Patty Mills is prone to pop off in short stretches.
The nature of his play style is as a spark plug off the bench, running the open court and zipping off of screens in the half court. Mills looks especially sharp in a preseason coming off of a tremendous run as leader of the Australian National Team in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
As a result, the 31-year-old is playing some of his best basketball in years and could be a great pickup, especially if any of the younger guards miss time this season. He’s a player to keep on the radar down the stretch of the season.
The same can be said for DeMarre Carroll, who has starting-caliber potential and is sure to play a decent amount of minutes night in and night out. Because of the defensive stats he’s capable of putting on the stat sheet, combined with his scoring potential and high aptitude for gathering rebounds, Carroll could be inserted to a daily fantasy lineup or as a streaming option for teams in larger leagues.
According to ESPN’s rankings, both Carroll and Mills go undrafted in most standard drafts, so they’ll likely be available on your waiver wire for when you need them.
Next: Potential fire starters
Potential fire starters: Gay, Forbes, White and Poeltl
It’s hard to guarantee the fantasy output of players in a Gregg Popovich-led system considering the prioritization of the team over the individual. That leaves players prone to poor stretches because this year’s roster is deep and there are only so many touches to go around. With that in mind, there are some Spurs with serious potential to pop this season.
Regardless of whether he slides into the starting five or comes off the bench, forward Rudy Gay is sure to rack up fantasy points this year. After posting a career-best 55.4 percent effective field goal percentage last season, Gay earned a two-year deal to remain in San Antonio for big money. As a result, he’s expected to follow up his performance with another strong season as he ages in Pop’s system.
Because of his superior length and underlying athletic ability, Gay can get up for rebounds with ease and has a ton of double-double potential, especially considering the fact that he’ll split frontcourt minutes with LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl. That, combined with his high-usage as a scorer and defensive upside, makes him a snag for fantasy teams.
The same can be said for Poeltl, who has been in and out of the starting lineup since being traded to the Alamo City last offseason. He proved himself to be a noteworthy defensive presence when matched up against Nikola Jokic in the 2019 Playoffs and is in a contract year for the Spurs. He’s not only playing to prove himself, but also to earn his first major payday of his career and will push himself because of it.
Poeltl is an excellent source of rebounds and blocks with a high threshold for steals. He won’t go above and beyond as a scorer too often but will also be able to put together some high scoring totals as the year progresses.
It’s become evident that Popovich is sticking with Bryn Forbes as the starting shooting guard for the season, which bumps Derrick White’s value down just a tad. However, there’ll be an abundance of opportunity for the sophomore guard as he leads the second unit. Keep an eye out for White to take off in his new role.
Forbes, on the other hand, is an absolute sleeper pick. Despite his status as a starter on a playoff team, Forbes is owned in only 3% of Yahoo leagues and can provide a huge spark to his teams this season.
Fantasy isn’t all about star power – you need quality role players to fill out a championship-contending roster and these noteworthy Spurs have a chance to swing the pendulum for a lot of competitive rosters this season.
Next: Spurs draft priorities
Draft priorities: Aldridge, DeRozan and Murray
In terms of scoring average, Aldridge and DeRozan were nearly identical for fantasy purposes in the 2018-19 regular season. DeRozan and Aldridge each averaged just under 40 fantasy points per game, making them one of a handful of duos to post averages above 35 fantasy points per contest.
As the foundational leaders of this team, DeRozan and Aldridge each bring a unique flair to fantasy basketball with a high floor and an even higher ceiling.
Aldridge is the model of consistency – his mid-range scoring is unwavering and his ability to score in the paint is just as stable. His night-to-night rebounding totals aren’t always the same, but he manages to make up for lower counting stats with higher scoring or by making huge defensive plays. For years, Aldridge has been one of fantasy basketball’s marquee players and will continue to do so this season despite a deeper roster in the Alamo City.
With that in mind, there’s also potential for regression in Aldridge’s game this year. At 34-years-old, the seven-time All-Star could take a step back to a cohesive Spurs group that will depend on team impact more so than ever before. With that in mind, there’s been no indication through preseason that the LMA Train will slow down this year.
In contrast, it seems as if DeMar DeRozan is ready to take the next step in his professional development. After missing out on an All-Star appearance last year, DeRozan spent his summer working tirelessly to develop his game, improve his outside shot and prepare to step up in a contract year. He averaged career-best numbers in both rebounds and assists in his first season in the silver and black, so the sky’s the limit for the Compton-native.
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Last, but certainly not least, Dejounte Murray is a sure-fire late-round pick. Returning fresh from the tragic knee injury that derailed his junior campaign, Murray is back and revitalized with three-level scoring potential on top of his high defensive upside.
As starting point guard, Murray can improve upon his assist totals from previous seasons while continuing to be one of the most prolific rebounding guards in the sport. As long as he’s healthy, Murray is a definite fantasy play because of his ability to rack up every stat on the sheet.
With an average draft position of 126.5, Murray ranks No. 119 in terms of average draft order on ESPN and is sure to outplay that spot. The only concern at this point is keeping him healthy, but without any setbacks, Murray is going to pop for fantasy owners this season.
Fantasy basketball provides a unique window to follow the sport and drafting your favorite Spurs could be a great way to keep connected with the team this year.