San Antonio Spurs: Projecting the 2021-22 starting lineup

San Antonio Spurs v Dallas Mavericks
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San Antonio Spurs
Keldon Johnson - Spain v United States / Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Small Forward: Keldon Johnson

Fresh off winning an Olympic gold medal, Keldon Johnson will enter next season poised to start at small forward. Johnson played well last season, averaging 12.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, though the Spurs will need him to make a big leap forward. He definitely has the talent to make that jump, and will likely get plenty of minutes to continue developing. That being said, a lot of his long-term potential will ride on him improving his 3-point shot.

Johnson plays with a high energy level, allowing him to out-hustle opponents for easy put-backs and backdoor cuts. Although he's seen a lot of success off of those plays, shooting 53.2% on 2-pointers, he’ll have to continue to expand his offensive game beyond just hustle plays, straight-line drives, and spot-ups to become San Antonio’s third scoring option in the starting unit behind Murray and White. 

Two such areas in which Johnson should work to develop include post-ups and mid-range shooting. In the post, he can use his big body to bully opponents for higher percentage shots, while in the mid-range, he shot an encouraging 46.2% from 10-22 feet. Dejounte Murray has tremendously benefitted from adding a consistent mid-range jumper to his game, and Johnson could see very similar benefits if he works to become more consistent.

After having spent part of the summer playing with and against some of the world’s best players, it’s entirely possible that Johnson has picked up a thing or two that he can add to his game and use to get even better next season.