Another tough season could be in store for our San Antonio Spurs
Coming into the 2019-20 regular season I think every San Antonio Spurs fan knew there was a chance that the team could struggle. With teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers loading up on superstars there was a slim chance that the Spurs were going to contend for a championship. But none of us thought things were going to be as bad as they were for stretches of the season.
To say that the Spurs had a down year would be a vast understatement. They experienced the longest losing streak of Gregg Popovich’s career, had the worst defensive rating in franchise history, and missed the playoffs for the first time in 22 seasons.
It was a tough year but there’s still a sense of optimism about the team’s future. They’ve got the 11th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, they can create some cap space if they make trades to send out older veterans, and young players like Keldon Johnson and Dejounte Murray have shown real potential.
San Antonio Spurs fans can be as optimistic as we want about the team’s potential but the bookmakers out in Las Vegas aren’t feeling the same way that a lot of us are.
Vegas bookmakers predict another losing season for the San Antonio Spurs
The championship hangover hasn’t even worn off yet, in fact, JR Smith is still probably running around LA with his shirt off, but you can still find odds on which team Vegas is picking to win the 2021 NBA title.
There aren’t any surprises at the top. The Lakers (+350), Clippers (+400), and Bucks (+650) fill out the top-three with the Celtics and Warriors tied at +1200 rounding out the top-five. Just after those teams comes the newly loaded Nets and then the 2020 Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat. See, no surprises.
Where things do get a little shocking, especially if you’re a San Antonio Spurs fan, is at the bottom of the list. Vegas has the Spurs, Timberwolves, and Kings all tied at the bottom of the conference at +12500 to win the West.
It’s tough to see the once-mighty Spurs so low on the list but it’s hard to argue with Vegas’s thinking. San Antonio is going to make moves this offseason to get better, that’s for sure, but will it be enough to move the needle in the brutal Western Conference?
Players like Keldon, Dejounte, Lonnie Walker, and Derrick White will all improve, the Spurs will add the 11th pick, and maybe they’ll make some minor moves in free agency. But that really pales in comparison to the improvements and tinkerings that are about to take place around the conference.
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The Warriors will be getting Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry back and they’ve got the 2nd overall pick to add, it’s unlikely that the Trail Blazers have as injury-riddled of a season as they did last year, even the Wolves could make some noise with a full season of D-Lo, KAT, and the 1st overall pick.
Meanwhile, the Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, Nuggets, and Jazz will all likely be bringing back their superstar duos. And the Pelicans and Grizzlies should only get better after impressive seasons from their respective rookies.
As a basketball fan, you love to see so many competitive teams in one conference. But as a Spurs fan it’s like, damn, is this how fans of other teams felt for the past 22 years?
Maybe it’s San Antonio’s time to smash the rebuild button. Undergo a full-fledged tank job for one season, trade all the veterans, embrace the suck, and go for a top-three pick in what should be an absolutely loaded 2021 draft class. With potential stars like Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Cade Cunningham coming up it could be a great time to be bad.
Tanking might seem like the right move but it’s not likely. It’s not the San Antonio Spurs way. They’re going to go out with the intention to win every single game. Who knows, they might even surprise some of the folks in Vegas along the way.