The San Antonio Spurs have kicked off their regular season schedule, and while they came up short against an in-state rival, there were a handful of positive signs from this young group. Their tall-ball starting lineup flashed encouraging two-way potential, and their insane length could pose problems for opponents.
While fans are still arguing over who should open and close games for the Silver and Black, it seems Gregg Popovich is adamant about giving this group a chance to prove themselves. Keldon Johnson snagged a spot as one of the first five to take the floor each night, which sent Tre Jones back to the second unit for the first time since his second go-round in the 2-1-0.
However, trotting out Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, Victor Wembanyama, Zach Collins, and Johnson has left the starters without a pure point guard to control the game. The absence of a lead ballhandler raises several questions about how San Antonio will run their offense, and perhaps moving their fifth-year forward to the bench could provide some answers.
1.) Keldon provides the bench a consistent scorer
With injuries piling up last season, Keldon had an opportunity to shine on offense as the undisputed go-to scoring option for the Spurs. He averaged a career-high 22 points per game on 45.2% shooting in a brand-new role. However, the landscape changed after San Antonio landed Victor Wembanyama and welcomed back a healthy Devin Vassell this summer.
Keldon provided consistent scoring for the Silver and Black. But Vassell could make a significant leap this season and receive more shots after signing a lucrative five-year extension. Wembanyama enters the NBA as an All-Star caliber player, and while his arrival in San Antonio will spark their rebuild, it will also take more touches away from Johnson.
San Antonio holds onto Manu Ginobili dearly, a selfless player accepted worldwide as the best sixth man to set foot on a basketball court. Spurs fans could always count on him to come off the bench and hold the second unit together like superglue, but it was no secret that he was more than capable of starting for every team in the league. Could Keldon follow a similar path?
No one will ever be able to replicate the greatness that Ginobili displayed throughout his career, but it never hurts to try. Sliding Keldon into a sixth-man role would allow him to dominate second-stringers and form a dynamic scoring tandem with Malaki Branham that would help keep close games within reach. But more importantly, Johnson would offer an unstoppable force off the bench as someone with starter-level talent.