If you asked me to take an educated albeit, half-cocked guess at what the San Antonio Spurs' leading scorer table would look like for the 2021-22 season, this is would be it. The thing is, equating points per game to a bonafide first, second, and third option would be a mistake for this Spurs team.
Derrick White: 18-20 ppg
Dejounte Murray: 16-18 ppg
Keldon Johnson at 14-16 ppg
This is why it was hard for me to answer the seemingly simple question asked to me by Air Alamo's Josh Paredes: Who is going to be the team's first scoring option next year?
That's because, as of now, despite some potential franchise cornerstones on the current roster, no one on the team is infallible. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Long gone are the days where you can just throw the ball to Tim Duncan or run high pick and roll with Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili. And a similar emphasis on playing through Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and DeMar DeRozan is also no longer an option.
I argue this is liberating for the Spurs and lets the team going back to playing the right way -- the Spurs way. Because the team undoubtedly has talent and a diverse enough skillset where this team could excel by playing as more than the sum of its parts.
Capitalizing on the team's collective strengths starts with embracing one of the most popular basketball clichés: the Spurs need to take what the defense gives them. That means knowing what defense they're facing and leveraging the roster's strengths to exploit those coverages until their opponent adapts. Then rinsing and repeating.
If they do that, it wouldn't be surprising to Spurs fans to see them shock everyone else and tally up more wins than the common NBA fan is even close to expecting from San Antonio this year.