The San Antonio Spurs finally partially addressed their issue of not having floor-spacing bigs with their backup acquisitions last season, but they'll likely have to keep working on that as the league continues to get increasingly 3-pointer-happy.
In June's NBA Draft, the top three bigs projected to go in the top four -- Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith -- all have an outside jumper to speak of, and that's not a coincidence. The value of a floor-spacer in the frontcourt is skyrocketing by the year as long-range bombs are now something we see from positions one through five instead of just guards.
By now, Spurs fans can accept that Jakob Poeltl will never have an outside jumper and probably won't even develop a reliable mid-range shot -- and that's ok. He's still one of the better centers in the league for what he offers defensively and how much he impacts offensive plays with his effective picks, timely boards, and pop-a-shots.
San Antonio's addition of Jock Landale showed they're ready to branch out to outside shooting bigs, as did their signing of Zach Collins. Still, both didn't quite get to show what they're really made of from beyond the arc this season, and there may be a need for even more help in that department.
When the Spurs can't quite keep up offensively with the higher-powered offensive teams in the NBA, here are some options that could help them make up some ground.
1. Taurean Prince, Minnesota Timberwolves
If they want to go a veteran route with some role player options this summer, Taurean Prince could be a nice pickup. The 28-year-old went to Warren High School in San Antonio before attending Baylor and being selected by the Atlanta Hawks in 2016.
At 6-7, Prince is admittedly a bit undersized to be labeled a "big", but he's played mostly power forward for the last three seasons, so I'm going to allow it. Last year, he shot a cool 40% from the 3-point line and finished with a 37.6% mark this season.
Prince is an adequate defender to boot and is excellent closing out to outside shooters. When I think of a Spurs culture guy, someone like Prince fits the bill, even if he might not be the ultimate front court answer the team needs now.
As the playoffs were coming close to an end for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Prince was asked about his pending free agency.
“Honestly, me personally, I plan to return," said Prince. "So, it’s nothing that I’m putting attention to with myself or people around me right now. I’m just focused on winning.”
Taurean has played for three teams in the last two seasons and will be coming off the second half of his $29 million, two-year extension signed in 2019. I wouldn't necessarily get into a bidding war for him, but he'd make a nice veteran piece if the Spurs are low on options.