End of 2022 Player Prediction Analysis
You'll notice most San Antonio Spurs shot up across the board in my predictions, with Dejounte, Keldon, and Jakob all topping 80. Perhaps the most important consideration when evaluating the Spurs ranking will be the opportunity available.
This involves the minutes, shot attempts, and coaching schemes the team devotes to these players. Take for example Dejounte Murray, the player I predict to finish the 2022 season with the Spurs' highest player rating at 86, a rating that typically coincides with either just making or barely missing the NBA All-Star team.
Aside from shooting, Dejounte's biggest knock has been his good but nowhere near elite playmaking. I don't expect Dejounte to become John Stockton overnight. But more minutes, increased playmaking responsibility, and better shooting and defense around him to respectively create better driving lanes and more transition opportunities will likely up his assists. This, in turn, will likely coincide with better playmaking, offensive awareness, and likely higher finishing ratings for Dejounte, so if he also keeps improving his shooting, 86 seems pretty safe.
Keldon, Jakob, and Vassell are three players that should get similar opportunity increases that, combined with their continued player development, will showcase much of the same. Landale is more of a wildcard here, but if Pop finds a way to play him alongside Poeltl in at least certain scenarios, Jock has the offensive and defensive versatility and winning mentality to hit the high 70's, if not higher.
Other Spurs in the high 70s seemingly show declines, but once again, this is just as much about staying healthy and opportunities as it is about player skill. Derrick White, for example, is a guy who likely will be the absolute best player on the roster at times. When healthy, the Spurs don't have any other player more versatile and reliable than he. At his peak, an 86, 87, or even 88 rating is totally possible For Derrick.
But the game tends to hedge on constantly injured players, especially those that play through injuries at somewhat less than their best, as White did for the bulk of last season. So while no one is rooting for White's more success, his health remains the ultimate team X-factor for next season's success, both in and out of 2K.
Thaddeus Young falls into a similar category here. Thad is undoubtedly a difference-maker who many at Air Alamo, including myself, have extremely high hopes for, but I imagine his opportunity will be nothing like last year's Chicago team.
Young shined as a versatile defensive menace with underrated playmaking for a Chicago team that definitely need some support around Zach Lavine, especially before Nikola Vucevic showed up. However, the Spurs will likely rely on more of a facilitator-by-committee approach, with Dejounte, White, Jones, Keldon, and even Lonnie and Primo getting opportunities to make plays.
In my last piece, I also spoke to Lonnie's possibly unparalleled upside among other Spurs. I still believe that's there but with the role I anticipate him serving on a healthy Spurs team, I don't think he takes more than a moderate stride forward this year.
While I am hoping for the best with Bryn Forbes, I echo others on our team who worry that his fit makes little sense for the team right now. I expect Samanic, Primo, Bates-Diop, Wieskamp, and possibly even Eubanks and Tre Jones to all do time in the G League.
Each of these players will get minutes in San Antonio, of course, but these minutes will be just as dependent on injuries, the depth chart ahead of them, and team needs as it will be about their respective play.