Are the 2022-23 Spurs tank-proof?

Denver Nuggets v San Antonio Spurs
Denver Nuggets v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages


The San Antonio Spurs currently sit as the 9th seed in the Western Conference with five wins and seven losses. If you expand that win percentage to a full 82-game season, you get roughly a 33-34 win season. This exceeds the Vegas prediction that had the Spurs projected to win no more than 22 wins this year. It's obvious that they are exceeding expectations. Are the San Antonio Spurs too good to tank? 

San Antonio started this season shooting a scorching percentage from beyond the arc and especially off of contested shots. At one point, they were shooting over 47 percent off of contested three-point attempts. The league average is roughly 32 percent, which is an unrealistic insane differential to maintain. That's regressed a little bit since, but it does help explain how they started off so strongly and unexpectedly. 

The San Antonio Spurs also have a good string of veterans that have been playing fantastically. Jakob Poeltl continues to be the defensive presence that holds this team together while also being a good facilitator in the paint. He might not be their best player, but you could argue he has the most value on the team. If he's not there, San Antonio has no way to replace what he brings to the roster. 

We all know Doug McDermott is a shooter, and he continues to remind those that forgot. He is shooting a blazing 40 percent from beyond the arc on five attempts per game while averaging 10 points. Similarly, Josh Richardson has been a great voice for this team and has been shooting even better than McDermott. He continues to flash performances that are reminiscent of his Miami Heat days. 

The Spurs might need to trade vets if they want to lose games

As currently constructed, the San Antonio Spurs can't bottom out in this league, but if they move one or two of their veterans for draft capital, it could change that instantly. Considering that two of their veterans are on expiring deals, it might behoove them to make a move before taking a risk of losing them for nothing. 

Jakob Poeltl is the biggest difference-maker here. Without him, the Spurs are forced to play a young Charles Bassey, Gorgui Dieng, and Zach Collins when he eventually returns from injury. Bassey is a very intriguing prospect at 22 years old. In just 15 minutes per game, he averages seven points and six boards with one block and a steal. Outside of netting more draft capital and making their own pick more valuable, San Antonio can gain something by giving him more playing time with the trade of Poeltl. 

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San Antonio has a fair amount of options here. With their crazy hot shooting coming back to reality, we will see them lose games more often but to truly secure the ability to tank for a top pick, they will need to make a move or two. These are always tough calls, but I trust that San Antonio will see it through.