5.) Los Angeles Lakers
The rival Los Angeles Lakers started out last season nearly as badly as the Spurs did but made an impressive turnaround in the second half of the year. That helped them reach the Western Conference Finals, and after a solid offseason, they should be even better right out of the gate in 2023–24. The Spurs will play the Lakers three times next season, and those could both be losses.
Why? Because their best player, LeBron James, historically has given the Spurs problems, averaging 27.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists, and that may continue even in year 21. While the Spurs are likely to be much better than their last-ranked defense, he might still feast, as could Anthony Davis.
Davis had arguably his best season last year. He proved to be terrific on both sides of the ball and will likely spend time guarding Wembanyama, where his size, length, and athleticism could give Wemby problems. There is also Austin Reaves, who had a breakout postseason last year. He could be motivated to show the Spurs what they missed out on after they declined to offer him a three- or four-year deal worth $100 million.
Instead, he re-signed with the Lakers for a comparatively small sum of $54 million over four seasons, and that is $46 million reasons for Reaves to circle the Spurs on the Lakers schedule. Add in that the Lakers are deeper and have better shooting than they previously did, and San Antonio will definitely have problems against Los Angeles next season.