Until the San Antonio Spurs land a top-tier talent in the 2023 NBA Draft, the burden of scoring lands on the shoulders of Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell. There’s nothing wrong with that. They are 23 and 22 years old, respectively, and post over 20 points per game on average. Vassell is sitting comfortably at 41% shooting from deep this season, while Johnson has regressed a bit, landing at a cooler 35% clip.
Having your team led by two players in their early 20s who aren’t big-time scorers is not a recipe for winning champions, but the missing piece is still on the way. The Spurs are without an All-Star, so their 8-18 record seems to be expected, which is okay.
Fans do not expect the Spurs to win this year, instead asking for individual improvement
Almost all the fans are on team tank at this point, and no one is opposed to Vassell and Johnson continuing to grow and improve, even if it means the Spurs finish with the worst record in the league. In fact, most fans would be happy if the Spurs continue to lose, as it would result in the best odds to land Victor Wembanyama.
With Vassell and Johnson experiencing some welcome and expected growing pains as they enter years four and five, the organization seems to be looking for a veteran free agent to fill some voids on the offensive end. According to LJ Ellis on SpursTalk, the Spurs are looking to jumpstart Isaiah Thomas’ NBA career. Thomas, 33, is apparently in amazing shape and is looking to reenter the league and find a role. I wrote about possible point guard free-agent additions but focused on backups, as Tre Jones is doing a fine job.
Rumors that tie Thomas to SA are alarming
According to the reports, Thomas would step in as another 20ppg scorer who could take some responsibility away from the younger guys. As Johnson slumps, I would like to see a long-term piece fill the gap, not a washed 33-year-old.
Even if Thomas signs a short deal with the Spurs and somehow plays at his former level, not only will he take away reps from players who need the experience, but he will also add some wins to the column, keeping the Spurs out of the top odds in the draft lottery.
Plus, when the Spurs end their season, Thomas would immediately sign with a contender. The move makes no sense for the Spurs in the long or short term, and it’s alarming that they want to take opportunities away from Vassell and Johnson.