Fans won’t have to wait long to see the new-look San Antonio Spurs in action, which is good because there are a lot of questions that need answering. The Spurs are expected to be much worse next season but do have several players who can step up and make the team more competitive.
They will definitely have plenty of opportunities to show and prove themselves, and hopefully, each will take a big leap next season. That’s not a sure thing, however, and it will certainly be something for fans to watch for. Now, let’s take a look at the three Spurs with the most to prove in 2022–23.
Spurs with most to prove: 3. Zach Collins
With starting center Jakob Poeltl likely to be traded during the season, backup center Zach Collins will have a big opportunity. Collins returned to the court last season after missing a year and a half of basketball and played surprisingly well for the Spurs, all things considered. He’ll get a chance to build off his play now that he isn’t spending yet another off-season rehabbing.
That should definitely help Collins, who has often had to focus on getting back to where he was rather than improving upon where he is. Better yet, after the Poeltl situation is resolved, he'll probably start and have the chance to showcase his growth as a player. Collins doesn't project to be the team's long-term answer at center even if he plays well as a starter, but he could be a nice stop-gap option.
He has a team option for a third season, and playing well and staying healthy would not only extend his career but turn him into a valuable rotation player. Of course, Spurs fans hope that 7'4 center Victor Wambanyama will join the team after next season, which would limit Collin's future with the team. If that were the case, the Spurs could always use an experienced, productive backup center, or he could become a valuable trade asset if his value rises, which I think will happen.
On the other hand, he could struggle to stay healthy or underperform and lose ground to Gorgui Dieng or Isaiah Roby, who spent a lot of time at center last season. That would likely result in the Spurs declining his third-year option and him signing for the minimum elsewhere after next season. Either way, next season is clearly a make-or-break one for Collin's career.