Cryptic Pop quote shows Spurs might surprise everyone with lineups

Devin Vassell, Gregg Popovich
Devin Vassell, Gregg Popovich / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

Fans didn't have to wait long to see coach Greg Popovich experiment with the San Antonio Spurs' starting lineup. With several versatile players on the roster, there have been many who were hoping to see the team play without a point guard.

They did just that in their preseason game against the Miami Heat, with Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, Cedi Osman, Victor Wembanyama, and Charles Bassey all starting. The results were mostly positive, with Sochan, Vassell, and even Wembanyama bringing the ball up the floor, and the starting lineup tallying 17 assists to just 6 turnovers.

Better yet, the Spurs managed to score efficiently. Thanks primarily to Wembanyama burying mid-range jumpers and Vassell knocking down six threes. Those positive results, coupled with Popovich's comments before the game, increase the potential of San Antonio starting an unorthodox lineup.

Can the Spurs really play without a point guard?

Answering that question after a preseason game where the opponent only played the back half of their roster might not be the best time, but it's worth continuing to experiment with. Especially with Sochan, Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Wembanyama, and Zach Collins. We've already seen that Wembanyama has potential as a passer and that Collins is also a good passer, while Sochan has the chance to become a point forward.

The pieces are definitely there for San Antonio to go with a positionless starting lineup, though it will be a work in progress. Playing two big men could work out in their favor, allowing the Spurs to play slower and less out of control. Having Sochan, Vassell, or Johnson bring the ball up the floor is easy enough, and the Spurs can generate offense by having Vassell or Johnson run pick and roll, using Vassell in direct handoffs, or running him off screens.

Pop can also use Wembanyama in pin-downs or out of the post, where he can draw double-teams and free-up shooters. Or he can even use Collins as a passer in the high post to help facilitate. There are definitely options there, but with three preseason games left, we'll have to see the direction Pop chooses to go with the Spurs' starting lineup.