Every Spurs-centric article that’s come out this offseason starts with a sentence resembling something like this: “there isn’t a whole lot to look forward to on the court for San Antonio this season.” Hell, I wrote one on Devin Vassell's potential a couple of weeks ago that began similarly.
It’s true that outside of the excitement that comes in watching growth opportunities for the young guys on the roster (from Vassell to Josh Primo to the three rookies we drafted this offseason), the basketball that will be played in the Alamo City this season won’t be very fun to watch.
However, in writing this article, I wanted to shake up the narrative. Regardless of if you’re a hopelessly optimistic fan of the Silver & Black like yours truly or are a basketball junkie wanting a positive to watch for if you happen to stumble into a Spurs game on League Pass, this piece is for you. I present to you: five shamelessly bold predictions for the upcoming Spurs’ season (that have varying chances at happening).
1. Devin Vassell Makes an All-Defense Team
In the piece that I linked earlier, I predicted a third-year leap by Devin Vassell on his way to winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Full disclosure: I closed the article by saying it is extremely unlikely that he actually wins the award. There are a few main reasons for this, but you’ll have to go to that link to see them (this is a business of clicks, people!).
However, in the article, I did mention that my money was on Vassell to be the “locked-in best defender on the roster.” He uses an amazing combination of length, speed, athleticism, and basketball IQ to navigate the wing with great success.
He’s got an outside shot at leading the Spurs in both steals and blocks this year -- in fact, other than big man Jakob Poeltl’s capacity to swat shots, Vassell’s chances to be the Spurs' “stocks” leader are greater than an outside shot. As far as Devin’s likelihood of making an All-Defense Team goes, his positional versatility (he’s listed as both a guard and forward) really helps him out.
Also, though his MIP campaign will be hindered by the amount of losing San Antonio will do this year, win-loss record doesn’t matter nearly as much for the defensive teams. Given the likelihood that Vassell is manned up against his opponents' best player on most nights, I think he can build a pretty good case for himself to be an All-Defense level player this season.