Last night’s blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers exposed how badly the San Antonio Spurs need to make a change if they want to be in the playoffs.
The San Antonio Spurs dropped their second straight game and are starting out their Rodeo Road Trip 0-2. It’s not surprising that they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, they had just played a tough game against the LA Clippers the night before. But how truly overmatched they were throughout the entire 48 minutes exposed a deeper need for change on the roster.
As has been the case for much of the season, San Antonio’s offense was nearly nonexistent when DeMar DeRozan wasn’t leading the charge. DeRozan has been phenomenal over the past month and a half and last night was no different. His 28 point, 9 rebound, 7 assist performance was the only reason the Spurs kept this game even remotely close.
DeMar is a great player, an incredibly skilled scorer who can go out and get you 20+ on a nightly basis. But he needs help, he can’t carry this team to the playoffs on his own. Typically that help has come from LaMarcus Aldridge but the big man disappeared for the first half last night. He would finish the night with only seven points. That’s simply not enough to get it done, especially against the Lakers.
CNBC’s Jabari Young recently reported that the Spurs are “100 percent committed” on getting back to the playoffs and could be active at the deadline in order to retool the roster in a way that makes that possible. If the team leadership is dead set on making the playoffs they need to make a move because this roster clearly isn’t going to get it done as currently constructed.
Trading away roster clogging pieces like DeMarre Carroll and Marco Belinelli would be a good start but probably won’t be enough to get a true difference-maker in return. The Spurs will likely need to include Jakob Poeltl in any trade that lands them an impact role player.
Poeltl has been one of the Spurs’ most consistent rim protectors this season and it would be a risky move to trade him away before Thursday’s deadline. That being said, he does have his offensive limitations and the team did decline to extend him earlier in the season. If they’re not dead set on having him as part of the future it would make sense to move him now while his value is high.
Trades aren’t the only move that this team can make to improve. The buy-out market is sure to have some interesting prospects and rotations could also be fiddled with. There is one move in particular that needs to be made.
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We’ve been pounding this drum since the beginning of the season but for the love of all that is good on this Earth can we please move Derrick White into the starting lineup? Bryn Forbes shot the ball well last night (4-8 from behind the arc) but his defensive lapses are killing this team.
It’s not something that’s actively tracked but I’m pretty sure that Dejounte Murray leads the league in shoving his teammates towards where they’re supposed to be on defense. Bryn and Marco are typically the ones on the receiving ends of these forced manual defensive adjustments. Far too often Bryn is out of position and sprints at an opposing player, attempting to close out when he has no shot of actually contesting the shot.
The Philadelphia 76ers are on the market for a secondary ball-handler and shooter. Could they be a landing spot for Forbes? We’ve touched on the reasons for moving on from Bryn in the past but the 76ers would be able to cover most of his shortcomings. They’ve got the size and speed to cover up his defensive weaknesses and he would thrive as a spot-up shooter next to Ben Simmons. Perhaps he could be included as part of a larger deal that would send Josh Richardson to San Antonio?
Were just over 24 hours away from the trade deadline and there’s still no indication that the San Antonio Spurs will make a move. Hopefully, that changes soon because this roster, as it stands now, has an ever-shrinking chance of making it back to the postseason.