The San Antonio Spurs currently have a full roster that consists of a total of 17 players following an eventful off-season. Seven of those players came as new additions in free agency with the departure of six members of last year's roster. Even with those changes, though, the Spurs will have to continue to trim the roster down to comply with the league's 15-man roster limit.
Ultimately, because the Spurs have some players at their disposal who have either received very little playing time or are on expiring contracts, the following three players are probably safe for the time being. That being said, all three will need to show improvement or else risk finding themselves on a new team sooner rather than later. Without further delay, here are three potential "improve-or-bust" guys on the Spurs' roster.
After being selected 41st overall in the 2020 NBA draft, point guard Tre Jones showed some promise in limited minutes in his first season with the Spurs. He appeared in a total of 37 games last season, and while his stats weren't particularly impressive in those games, he displayed some promising flashes of playmaking and defensive ability.
In the G-League, however, Jones shined in a bigger role. He averaged a stellar 18.1 points, 9.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals in 31.3 minutes per game. While not exactly an indication of his ceiling, his G-League production is a positive sign that he can become a very capable player in the NBA.
While Jones is only entering the second year of a three-year contract, I believe that this season could be a critical one for him. With Dejounte Murray likely playing an even more important role as the Spurs' starting point guard, and the Spurs signing Bryn Forbes to potentially fill Patty Mills' former role, it will be difficult for Jones to find minutes. Even going into the 2022-'23 season, there's no guarantee that the depth chart will be much different.
That said, the Spurs seemingly like Jones as a prospect, as evident by the three-year contract that they signed him to. For the Spurs to seriously consider him as a part of the young core beyond that, though, he'll need to continue to play hard-nosed defense, creating for others, and working on becoming more of a scoring threat.
Considering the Spurs already have 11 players under contract next season, though, not including their 2022 first-round pick, Jones could easily be cut to make way for another player.