The San Antonio Spurs could soon have to replace one of their best shooters
It’s well known among San Antonio Spurs fans how important this offseason is for the team. After missing the playoffs for the first time in over two decades, the Spurs are going to have to do some real soul searching and make a few critical decisions if they want to position themselves to contend in the always brutal Western Conference.
The team will have it’s highest draft pick since 1997 in the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft but fans shouldn’t worry too much about that. San Antonio has been one of the best in the league at drafting and developing talent over the past five years and they’ve been able to build that reputation while often picking towards the end of the first round. They should have to problem finding a solid talent with the 11th pick.
The much more complicated offseason area will be what the team decides to do in free agency and on the trade market. Questions about DeMar DeRozan’s free agency and hypothetical trades are the sexier topics but there’s one big question mark that’s been flying under the radar for the past few weeks and that’s how the Spurs will handle the unrestricted free agency of Bryn Forbes.
Forbes has been criticized by fans for his poor defense and streaky shooting but he’s also started 143 games over the past two years and is one of the better shooters on San Antonio’s roster. If he and the Spurs can’t come to terms on an extension, San Antonio is going to have to find a way to replace a player who has been a huge part of their team for the past three seasons. Here are five ways they can do exactly that.
Next: A wise veteran
San Antonio Spurs could bring in Jared Dudley for the locker room presence
The San Antonio Spurs played all of their games in the bubble without Bryn Forbes and they did just fine. The argument could be made that they were actually better off without him in the starting lineup.
Bryn’s absence opened a spot for Derrick White in the starting lineup, freed up more minutes for Lonnie Walker and Keldon Johnson, and thanks, to White’s improvement from behind the arc, didn’t end up costing San Antonio too much from behind the arc. Why not keep a good thing going?
San Antonio wouldn’t be bringing in Jared Dudley to replace Forbes’s production on the floor, they’d be signing him for what he can bring to the Spurs locker room.
Right now, San Antonio has an interesting mix of veterans and young guys. They’re blending players like Johnson and Walker who are just starting their careers with multiple veterans like Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Patty Mills who are all approaching unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021.
This really could be the last season that we see the young Spurs have this many experienced veterans around them, so why not bring in one more to help them prepare for when it’s their turn to run the franchise?
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) September 17, 2020
Dudley has 13 years of NBA experience under his belt and has played with some of the best in the game. Think of the knowledge, basketball-related or otherwise, that he could pass on to the younger members of the team. It’s hard to put an exact dollar figure on the value of that mentorship but it shouldn’t cost the Spurs more than the veteran minimum. Given how barren the 2020 free-agent market is it certainly wouldn’t be the worst way for the Spurs to spend their dollars.
Next: A veteran wing
Could Alec Burks replace Bryn Forbes in the San Antonio Spurs backcourt?
If the San Antonio Spurs are looking for a more useful on-court replacement for Bryn Forbes, Alec Burks might be the man for the job. Burks brings many of the same offensive qualities that Forbes would but would also bring more versatility and size to the San Antonio lineup.
The 6’6 Burks has been a streaky shooter for much of his career but he dialed it in from behind the arc this past season. He split time between the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers and shot a cumulative 38.5 percent from behind the arc, a nice bump above his career average. He was also putting up a career-high 4.6 attempts from deep per game this year.
He’s not just a pure shooter either, Burks’s rebounding and playmaking ability shouldn’t be ignored either. He averaged 5.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per 36 minutes this year as well as 1.3 steals. He might not be as dangerous of a threat from deep as Forbes is but Burks does bring a level of versatility that Bryn hasn’t been able to match so far.
He likely wouldn’t cost the Spurs too much either. He’s coming off of a season where he made just over $2.3 million, San Antonio would probably be able to bring him in on a one or two year deal right in that range. That’s going to be less than they would have to pay Forbes, and they’d be getting a more versatile player too. Not a bad deal if you think about it.
Next: A proven shooter
Kyle Korver could bring the best of both worlds to the San Antonio Spurs
Jared Dudley would bring the wise veteran leadership, Alec Burks could provide the on-court production, but Kyle Korver could bring both. If he wants to keep playing, the San Antonio Spurs should think about giving him a call if they can’t come to an agreement with Bryn Forbes.
We all know what Kyle Korver can bring to a team. I mean, it’s Kyle Korver. The guy is fourth all-time in 3-pointers made and has hit 43 percent of his 3-point attempts across his storied 17-year career. The guy smacks from deep. He doesn’t do too much outside of that but that’s acceptable given his proficiency from behind the arc.
On paper, Korver seems like the kind of useful veteran that a team like the Milwaukee Bucks would want to bring back as they prepare for another year of chasing the title but the Bucks are going to have to make some changes this summer. They’re going to need all the cap flexibility they can get if they want to bring in a third star to play with Giannis and that could mean letting Korver walk away.
If that’s the case, the Spurs should make the call. Korver’s proven that he can play in a variety of systems and should thrive as a spot-up shooter in a drive and kick offense similar to what the Spurs were running during their time in Orlando. He’s getting up there in age but was still able to be a valuable role player in the fastest offense in the league this year so there shouldn’t be any concerns about his ability to keep up with the young Spurs.
Like Dudley, there isn’t much that Korver hasn’t seen in his time in the league. He’s been part of struggling teams and has been to the Finals, at the very least the future Hall of Famer would be able to pass along some shooting tips. If the Spurs are only thinking about who can help them most next year they’ll be hard-pressed to find a better veteran than Korver.
The San Antonio Spurs will surely try to reach an agreement that keeps Bryn Forbes in San Antonio for the foreseeable future but if they’re not able to come to terms any one of these three veterans would be a solid replacement.