The San Antonio Spurs seem to be out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference. They are a game and a half behind the tenth-seeded Trail Blazers to make the play-in game with the seven, eight, and nine seeds, and are seven games behind the sixth-seed Nuggets to make the playoffs outright.
Based on their inconsistent play, it would seem like the Spurs are poised for an early lottery draft pick, which is not a bad thing. There are plenty of NBA-ready weapons at the top of the upcoming draft class, and the Spurs could find a foundational piece there.
While a top overall pick is enough to make any fan excited, the Spurs have had more success in the 21st century than any other franchise, so fans are understandably not used to this whole "missing the playoffs" thing. While it might seem difficult, there are some clear paths for the Spurs to make the playoffs and even be the dark horse pick to make a run.
1. Stop Trading for Future Assets and Make Moves Now
The Spurs shocked the world and traded Bryn Forbes for a pick and Juancho Hernangomez. Juancho might be flipped for another pick, and there are rumors that Thaddeus Young could be moved for a pick as well.
Trading for a pick would be the smart thing to do. It would give the Spurs an opportunity to be real players soon instead of a playoff-hopeful now. However, if the Spurs wanted to compete immediately, they could use some of their assets to make a trade right now for an immediate impact player.
Jerami Grant, CJ McCollum, and Jayson Tatum come to mind. Ben Simmons is also still on the table. Making a trade for any of these players would totally divide the fan base. All of these players would be very expensive and the Spurs would have to partly mortgage their future to obtain any of these star players.
Some fans would be ecstatic that San Antonio is making a mid-season push, and other fans would be upset that the Spurs are avoiding the seemingly inevitable tank.
Would making a move like this help the Spurs in the long run? Nope, but it would certainly help them now. Would you rather have a guaranteed playoff spot until 2024 or have a shot at a ring in 2027 but a very bleak present? Fans could go either way.