Spurs: Biggest area of improvement for everyone on the roster
By Josh Paredes
Jakob Poeltl can't allow another chapter in Hack-a-Jak
Jakob Poeltl's free throw shooting issues might forever remain a mystery. Most nights, his form looks fine but the resulting shot doesn't. He's had back-to-back airballs, 4-for-10 nights, you name it.
Then we see a stretch like the one he had from March 1st, 2021 until the end of the season. Despite being a career 52.8% free throw shooter, Poeltl connected on 73.3% of his freebies in those 24 games, including nights of going 4-of-5, 5-of-6, and 5-of-7.
By now, it's probably safe to assume the shooting staff have done all they can with Jakob's free throw shooting, so it'll ultimately be up to him whether or not opponents will be able to intentionally foul him this season. Another poor shooting year from the stripe might mean he'll lose minutes in stretches where his defense will sorely be needed.
Doug McDermott must avoid one shot that's plagued him
Like Devin Vassell, Doug McDermott also hasn't shot the ball well from the 16 foot to 3-point line range. The difference is he's had low marks in that range for the last four seasons.
As I covered in more detail in a standalone article on this, McDermott shoots just 35.5% from the high-key range for his career, a mark that's lower than other Spurs like Thaddeus Young, Keldon Johnson, and Derrick White.
Whether it be coaching staffs or due to his own instincts, McDermott has greatly decreased his attempts from just inside the arc recently, which would probably be the right call in San Antonio -- a team that is always full of mid-range shooters.
Keldon Johnson must develop a second go-to shot
Now in his third season with the Silver and Black, it's still hard to really say what Keldon Johnson's go-to scoring move is other than barreling his way to the hoop. That's not a knock on him -- when that's being allowed, it's lethal. But the better defensive teams in the NBA aren't going to allow Johnson to attack the basket at will.
For the Olympic gold medalist to really excel to new heights this season, he'll need something to keep defenses honest instead of just packing the lane to anticipate his bulldozing.
A reliable 3-pointer would be the most ideal addition to Keldon's arsenal. Short of that, a mid-range shot or floater could also give Johnson more freedom to wreak havoc the way he wants to -- not to mention save him from the constant punishment his body will end up taking.