San Antonio Spurs - The Bench Mob
Given his past injury issues, it's not surprising that Zach Collins isn't on the radar of many people. The 6-11 former Trail Blazer last saw NBA action when he played in 11 games in 2019-20 but was out all of last season after re-fracturing his foot.
On a team headed by someone like Coach Popovich, there's no doubt he won't see the court until everyone is 100 percent confident he's fully healthy and ready to go. When that might be is still in the air, but I can see Collins playing an important role in San Antonio once he's back.
Collins is one of only a few big men that knock down the long-range shot and is more established than the other two that can (Samanic and Landale). This is his chance to revitalize his NBA career while also playing for the team he admired often when growing up.
I know this is the second year in a row we're saying this is a "make or break" season for Luka Samanic, but this time, we really mean it. While another unimpressive season certainly wouldn't end his NBA career, it could mean he's not meant for a big role in San Antonio.
Samanic hasn't really been given regular rotation minutes, usually buried behind guys like Rudy Gay or even Trey Lyles in the past. If he's going to be given real on-court time in any season, 2022 has to be it. The veterans are gone, his G League coach was just promoted to Coach Pop's staff, and he's 21 years old on a roster now fully onboard with its young core.
With the signing of Doug McDermott, I don't see Samanic starting as he did a few times last season, but he's deserving of a solid bench role as the season begins.
There's a lot to be excited about it the signing of Jock Landale. He's hungry, determined, tough, and, as he once said, "can shoot the piss out of the ball." After some bad advice led to him not being able to sign in the NBA years ago, the 25-year old is now eager to show he belonged in the world's most talented league way before this season.
Landale is coming off a season with Melbourne in which he averaged 16.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Oh yeah, and he also shot 38.9% from downtown. Make no mistake, Landale is a baller, and I think he has an excellent chance to play his way into the starting rotation before too long if he plays up to his capabilities.
As with Aminu, there have been rumblings that Thaddeus Young might not be long for the roster. Even though he has plenty to offer any team with his diverse skill set and veteran presence, he could further stint the growth of a guy like Samanic, who has already seen enough of that.
I believe there's still a place for someone like Young on the roster -- a guy who impressed in Chicago last season and was a big boost in the growth of their young guys. I certainly wouldn't be upset if the Spurs opted to have him as one of the elder statesmen on the team while also providing solid minutes.
Still, if the Spurs are able to ship him off for future assets, I think that might be the right call, given the team's timeline. If he's still here on October 20th, though, look for Young to be one of the first bigs off the bench.