2. Most likely to lead the NBA in a major category
While San Antonio features a young roster, there is a real possibility at least one player leads the NBA in a major statistic. Jakob Poeltl ranked sixth in the NBA in blocks per game last season, averaging 1.8 blocks in just 26.8 minutes per game.
However, now that he’s a full-time starter, he could possibly lead the NBA in blocks, assuming that he averages more minutes and increases his production. For instance, he averaged 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes last season and could average a similar number in increased minutes this season. Were that the case, he could possibly lead the league in blocks per game.
Another Spur who could lead the league in a major statistical category is Dejounte Murray. Last season, Murray averaged 1.5 steals per game, which was tied for 11th in the NBA. Despite that, he was only about 0.6 steals per game behind the league leader.
With many of San Antonio's worst defenders gone, the Spurs' rotation now features younger, longer, and more athletic defenders. Moreover, that could benefit Murray, who, in addition to forcing turnovers himself, could collect passes that were deflected by teammates. As a result, he could be in contention to lead the NBA in steals.
3. Most likely to win a major award
Keldon Johnson could be in for a breakout season. If that's the case, he could even be in line for a major award like Most Improved Player of the Year. To win that award, Johnson would need to see a big increase in production, particularly in scoring.
Luckily, he appears ready to make that big leap after several nice preseason performances where he’s displayed an improved driving ability that could help make him a legitimate offensive weapon. Last season, he was often able to get into the paint, though wasn’t always able to get to the rim.
Fortunately, he’s shown flashes of a euro-step and floater to his game and even looks comfortable operating as a ball-handler in the pick and roll. Factor in that he'll likely average more minutes and a higher usage rate, and Johnson's statistical case may be hard to ignore. Ultimately, it could result in him winning the Most Improved Player of the Year award.