3 Positional battles Spurs fans should monitor heading into training camp

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Backup Center

After the Spurs traded Jakob Poeltl at the deadline last season, Zach Collins solidified his status as a starter with Head Coach Gregg Popovich. However, the backup spot behind him is the biggest unknown. San Antonio found a diamond in the rough when they claimed Charles Bassey off the waiver wire. He locked up a long-term contract as their go-to big off the bench, but a broken kneecap ended his season prematurely.

Despite their misfortune with injuries around their roster last season, the Spurs showed their knack for finding discarded talent, striking gold a second time as they picked up Sandro Mamukelashvili at the beginning of March. Stepping in for Bassey, Mamukelashvili made a breakthrough as the second-string center, bringing a more offensive-minded skillset highlighted by three-point shooting and smooth playmaking.

The Silver and Black re-signed Mamukelashvili to a one-year deal this summer and still have Bassey on the books for three more seasons. With both bigs on the roster, San Antonio must decide who deserves minutes. They each have unique skills that could complement Wembanyama. Bassey is a rim-runner who crashes the boards, while Mamukelashvili is a more perimeter-oriented center.

Having the muscular Bassey next to the slender-framed Wembanyama sounds ideal, but having a floor spacer and connective passer to capitalize on his gravity could also yield positive results. The Spurs have a tough choice here, and training camp performances could be the deciding factor for who secures backup duties.

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