After a rough start to the season, fans of the San Antonio Spurs are likely keeping a close eye on the standings. After all, while losing is far from ideal, it does help the Spurs' chances in the NBA Draft Lottery where a bottom-five finish would give them a nearly one in three chance at a top-three pick.
Assuming that happens, it would obviously have big ramifications for the roster and potentially make several players on the team expendable. So which members of the Spurs are most at risk of being replaced by a lottery pick in next year's draft? Let’s find out.
1. Jakob Poeltl
Jakob Poeltl is in the midst of a career season and has solidified himself as one of the ten best centers in the NBA. Despite that, If the Spurs were to pick in the top three, they’d have a chance at selecting Chet Holmgren.
Holmgren, a skilled 7’0 center with a massive 7’6 arm span, is currently playing at Gonzaga but were he to don the silver and black next season, Poeltl’s days with the Spurs could be numbered. Holmgren is obviously talented, and San Antonio would be lucky to draft him since he'd provide the frontcourt with a significant upgrade.
Still, he may require some time to grow into his role with the Spurs (and his body for that matter). That would likely ensure that the Spurs keep Poeltl through the end of his current contract, which ends after next season. They’d be wise to trade him in that scenario. Additionally, it would be unclear who’d start in that situation, considering they can’t play together.
Poeltl could still continue to start at center with the two essentially splitting time at the position or vice versa. Either way, the odds that Poeltl would be re-signed after next season would appear slim, with him likely wanting a bigger role elsewhere. As for San Antonio, they would probably prefer a cheaper backup to Holgrem, thus Holmgren would essentially replace Poeltl.