After the San Antonio Spurs gave fans hope following statement wins against the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns to start the season, the young squad finds themselves in the middle of an eight-game losing streak. Understandably, fans are beginning to question whether the team is ready to make a meaningful jump compared to last year's 60-loss season, even with budding star Victor Wembanyama in the mix.
What seems to have fans most concerned beyond the losses themselves is the manner in which the Spurs have been losing. The team blew an 18 and 19-point lead in their latest back-to-back against the Kings and Grizzlies, respectively. They have also relinquished significant cushions in multiple heartbreaking losses or nail-biting wins. Coach Popovich briefly explained this phenomenon in his latest postgame press conference.
Sadly, fans have placed most of the blame for these losses on Jeremy Sochan, who's still operating as the de facto starting point guard. We have already gone in-depth on the Point Sochan experiment, so there is no reason to suggest that trial and error with him running the show hasn't contributed to the problem. But if the Spurs' most recent loss to the Grizzlies illustrates anything, it's that the team is in desperate need of more versatile shot-creators.
The Spurs will look for more than a point guard in the 2024 NBA Draft
The Spurs have benefitted from having someone like DeMar DeRozan at their disposal as recently as 2021: a player who enters games and creates scoring opportunities. While San Antonio certainly has prospects on the roster that can fill that role in the future, they don't have anyone ready to shoulder All-Star responsibilities yet. Devin Vassell stands out as the closest name to filling that void. The 23-year-old swingman is becoming a full-fledged three-level scorer, but opponents are entering games prepared to defend him accordingly.
Wembanyama can become that kind of a creator in short order, but he and the coaching staff are still gauging what he can do on the court and where he's most comfortable. Keldon Johnson scores in bunches, but he classifies as more of a straight-line driver who uses sheer physicality to create looks rather than a shifty isolation threat. Malaki Branham could be another option, but his shooting touch must return, and like Johnson, his defense has been less than serviceable so far.
Many analysts expect the Spurs to seriously consider selecting a point guard in the 2024 NBA Draft with their probable lottery pick. But in a class that lacks a defined top tier of players, the front office could instead look for a game-ready floor general in free agency and invest in a wing scorer with the upside to be a second or third option on a championship contender. Youngsters like the G League Ignite's Ron Holland, Baylor's Ja'Kobe Walter, and Kentucky's Justin Edwards are worth monitoring.
Draft season is only in its early stages, and we'll continue to update our catalog of enticing products as the process unfolds over the next several months. In the meantime, Spurs fans can look forward to consecutive home games against the Los Angeles Clippers, where San Antonio will be hunting for a much-needed win and a morale boost.