San Antonio Spurs: This lockdown lineup would give teams nightmares

San Antonio Spurs Derrick White
San Antonio Spurs Derrick White / Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs Tre Jones / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

San Antonio Spurs Point Guard: Tre Jones

There’s no doubt in my mind that Tre Jones can become an elite player. In the NBA, he simply hasn’t had a chance to showcase his talents, so let’s wind it back.

In his two seasons at Duke, he was a two-time All-Defensive player and was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. For good reason, too. He averaged nearly two steals and four rebounds all while being the smallest guy on the court.

His steal percentage of 3% is simply amazing. Jimmy Butler led the NBA in steals this year and his percentage was at 3.1%. We’re dealing with a Jimmy Butler-level defender right now.

In his first season with the Austin Spurs, his rebounding went up to 5.3 a game and his steals dipped to 1.4 a game. His steal percentage was 2.3%, although it should be considered that the G League is a step above the ACC. With this lineup surrounding him, Jones could guard the weakest perimeter player if need be until he develops into a stud.

Per 36 minutes, this lineup should score around 76 points. The league average is around 84 points per 36 minutes. If this lineup were to play together for three quarters of a game, would they be able to outscore their opponents? If you like mutant basketball as I do, it would be interesting to see. It would make sense to play these five guys as needed, not to build a team around them. After all, well-rounded basketball is often the best approach. 

If Pop wants to give his opponents nightmares, this is the lineup to do it with. Devin Vassell could be the sixth man, His per 36-minute stats on defense are better than Derrick White’s, although I think White is more versatile and experience does matter. Having Jones and Vassell play together would be a hoot, but very, very risky. 

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The Spurs could sub in this lineup at any time, and if they do, opposing offenses are in serious trouble.

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