Spurs Loss in Memphis Highlighted Biggest Weakness

Gregg Popovich, Tre Jones, Zach Collins
Gregg Popovich, Tre Jones, Zach Collins / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Sometime in between Ja Morant's 52-point highlight package of a night and the San Antonio Spurs being outrebounded by 17, much was revealed in the Silver and Black's fifth straight loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

As usual, struggling from beyond the arc led to another loss, but that wasn't close to the biggest issue the Spurs need to address this offseason. Neither was the fact that they nearly allowed Steven Adams, Jaren Jackson Jr, and Ja Morant to outrebound their starting five.

As the clock struck all zeroes in yet another defeat at FedEx Forum, it became painfully clear what this team is missing more than anything else.

The San Antonio Spurs have a severe deficiency in their roster that must be addressed for them to be competitive. There are no bigs on the squad with the combination of shot-blocking and lateral quickness needed to protect the rim adequately.

The Spurs severely lack athleticism in the front court

Sure, Jakob Poeltl is a terrific shot-blocker when he's in the paint waiting or covering up for a teammate being blown by on the perimeter. Zach Collins can be ok in that scenario too. But what happens when he's forced to defend the 3-point line or made to switch onto a guard? Well, then we see what we saw Monday night when Memphis paraded into the paint for 66 of their 118 points.

There's a reason Morant has 69 more points against the Spurs than he does against any other team. Other than him being ridiculous and unstoppable, he perfectly exploits San Antonio's lack of a frontcourt player that can keep up on a drive from the arc into the lane.

To be fair, no in the league can keep up with Morant on his own, but Spurs teams of the past have been able to overcome one unstoppable man to still come out on top (think Amar'e Stoudemire in the numerous playoff series against Phoenix.)

The Grizzlies are the perfect example of a team built to give San Antonio fits with their current roster. They have guard after guard capable of blowing past you to get a floater, layup, or easy assist to a cutter. Because Poeltl and Collins both don't have the foot speed to keep up, Memphis runs up the score against the Spurs on a regular basis.

How can the Spurs address this major issue?

Like any offseason, San Antonio has three ways to address their frontcourt needs: trade, free agency, and the NBA Draft.

The Spurs' dramatic trade deadline day already showed they're open to making moves even with beloved members of the team. Their resulting trove of future draft picks also gives them the flexibility to form packages or draft potential prospects that can help now.

While ESPN's Bobby Marks has stated there isn't really much to chase in this summer's free agent class, a lot can happen between now and then. While it's certainly a long shot, someone like Deandre Ayton would solve the Spurs' biggest problem.

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The Spurs took a big step in the right direction when they made moves a few weeks ago. Monday's game was a reminder -- they have many more to make.