The San Antonio Spurs may be headed for a fourth consecutive losing season, but they at least have a true direction in 2023.
The various personnel moves the front office has made, highlighted by the trades of Derrick White and Dejounte Murray, signal a new era of trial by fire. With a new average age under 24 years, the fresh-faced Spurs face many tribulations ahead, and there will undoubtedly be plenty of tough learning lessons along the way.
Steering the ship for the 27th straight season will be 73-year-old Gregg Popovich, who has expressed renewed excitement in teaching a brand new group of guys for the Spurs' 50th anniversary.
While the consensus that the Spurs are lottery bound is likely true, there's no such thing as a wasted season in San Antonio. Coach Popovich will be carefully monitoring his roster to determine the best way to set them up for the future -- regardless of how much longer he intends to stick around.
The recent signing of journeyman Alize Johnson gave San Antonio 18 available players for training camp and the preseason . The roster must be reduced to 15 plus a pair of two-way players by Oct. 19th, and training camp will likely be a key part in who makes the cut.
When the season arrives, though, Popovich will have bigger decisions to make -- ones that will impact the future of the Silver and Black for years to come.
1. Should Jeremy Sochan start right away?
The San Antonio Spurs don't often make choices without deliberate thought and foresight. The fact that they took a 6-8, versatile forward with excellent defensive instincts wasn't a happy coincidence. It's been evident that this team needs a solid, mobile player at the four slot for a few years now, and they may have finally found their man last June.
On paper, Jeremy Sochan has the kind of game that should translate well to the NBA. Even if he takes a while to get his shot going, an area in which he struggled at Baylor, he still has the ability to affect the game in multiple other ways.
Unfortunately, the same can't really be said about Doug McDermott at this point in his career. At age 30, I don't think any of us can expect the sharpshooting combo forward to suddenly transform into some kind of defensive stopper.
While starting Sochan right away could hurt the Spurs' offense, it would also certainly improve their defense and could be the key to unlocking it entirely. Knowing Popovich, I'm not sold that he'll start Sochan from day one, but don't be surprised if the rookie claims the starting power forward role before too long.