These five San Antonio Spurs should be in the closing lineup this season

San Antonio Spurs Derrick White DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs Derrick White DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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San Antonio Spurs Derrick White DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs Derrick White DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

With the San Antonio Spurs often allowing games to go down to the wire, these five guys should be on the floor when the game is on the line this season.

It’s hard to believe, but the San Antonio Spurs will already be back in action on Saturday when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder from the AT&T Center. There are still plenty of things to figure out for this team, including the starting lineup and which guys might play their way into that role. Another big question mark surrounding Coach Popovich and the coaching staff will be who he relies on to deliver in crunch time.

My previous prediction for the Spurs’ starting lineup was the following: DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Derrick White, Trey Lyles, and Dejounte Murray. Should these five guys be the same lineup to close out games? I’m not so sure.

Before jumping into my own opinion on the matter, I wanted to take a look at how you, our readers and fellow San Antonio Spurs fans, felt about the matter. In a poll asking you for your closing lineups, I received several responses on Twitter.

Next: The Fan Vote

San Antonio Spurs Keldon Johnson (Photo by Ashley Landis – Pool/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs Keldon Johnson (Photo by Ashley Landis – Pool/Getty Images)

San Antonio Spurs fans vote for the closing lineup

After tallying all Twitter votes up, here’s who you want to see on the court in the waning minutes, in order of most picks to least:

Derrick White DeMar DeRozan LaMarcus Aldridge Keldon Johnson Dejounte Murray

What these votes tell me is you all liked what you saw in the Orlando bubble, and I can’t blame you. Trey Lyles, who had 53 starts in 63 games played last season, only received four votes in the poll. Lyles, however, didn’t make the trip to Orlando due to appendicitis, giving the Spurs a new look in the bubble.

Derrick White thrived as a starter in the final eight games alongside Murray, DeRozan, Walker, and Poeltl. Since LaMarcus Aldridge should be fully ready to go, it makes perfect sense for him to reclaim his starting spot over Jakob Poeltl, and there’s no reason that should change when it’s closing time.

DeMar DeRozan was the Spurs’ closer all season long, frequently coming up with clutch baskets and trips to the line in the final minutes, so his spot in the lineup is an easy decision as well.

Related Story. Aldridge remains an underrated commodity for SA

One minor surprise, however, is Keldon Johnson getting three more votes than Lonnie Walker in the poll. Johnson only received 301 total minutes last season, which is not even one-third of the minutes Lonnie played. So is the decision justified? To answer that, let’s get to my preferred closing lineup.

Next: My Ideal Closers

San Antonio Spurs Dejounte Murray (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs Dejounte Murray (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

My ideal San Antonio Spurs closing lineup

Derrick White DeMar DeRozan LaMarcus Aldridge Keldon Johnson Dejounte Murray

Yup, in this case, I 100 percent agree with the fans that voted. Although I can certainly see Lonnie Walker in Keldon Johnson’s spot, I believe we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg with Keldon. His basketball IQ for someone who has as little NBA experience as he does was extremely impressive in Orlando.

Johnson also offers a better all-around defensive game than Walker, who’s gotten better but still is learning the system. Although it may take a while for Coach Popovich to give him the time he deserves, I believe he’ll ultimately see Keldon as the special two-way talent that can’t be denied, and would even go so far as to argue we may see him starting by season’s end.

Joining in Johnson in the two-way specialty department is Derrick White, who has to be a shoo-in for any closing lineup at this point. White has catapulted himself into one of the Spurs’ top options on offense while also being their best defensive player. It’s a no-brainer that White should be getting star minutes in San Antonio, including in the guts of the game.

Should the Spurs be concerned about White's injury?. Related Story

DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, as much as they’ve had their efficiency troubles while together on the court, still deserve to close out games as the team’s centerpieces. There was a lot of talk over media day about how Aldridge fits into the Spurs’ evolving rotation, but he deserves another year to adapt his game, as he’s committed to doing, to win ball games.

I see no reason Dejounte Murray should be overtaken as a closer either, as he’s grown and added more to his game with each passing season. Now with a more consistent jumper, Murray should be able to give the Spurs a third two-way talent to make plays on either end of the court as the Spurs look to come out on top in tight games.

Next. This Spurs all-time starting lineup is unbeatable

This closing lineup shows the trend the NBA is heading to, with mid-sized shooting and defense taking the place of post-up big men. The Spurs have been slow to adapt in recent years, but this lineup could change that.

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