Starting Center: Jakob Poeltl
Next season will mark Jakob Poeltl's first full season as the Spurs starting center after being promoted early last season. Poeltl proved to be very effective as a starter, averaging 9.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while also shooting 62.5% from the field. Additionally, he provided the Spurs with excellent rim protection, offensive rebounding, and screen setting.
Going forward, Poeltl could look to become more of a scoring threat, which would likely start with increasing his free-throw shooting efficiency. Last season, he shot a team-worst 50.8% from the line. That will need to drastically improve for him to be able to play more minutes, particularly late in games where it could be a liability.
Additionally, with the starting lineup’s spacing likely seeing a big improvement next season, Poeltl could become an even more effective roll-man. With White, McDermott, and (hopefully) Johnson spacing the floor, the Murray-Poeltl pick-and-roll could be much more difficult for other teams to defend. Were he to improve as an offensive player next season, I believe that Poeltl could even emerge as one of the league’s better two-way centers.
It remains to be seen whether these predictions are proven correct. That said, no matter what, next season’s starting lineup is certain to be different in terms of both personnel and playing style. A starting lineup of Murray, White, Johnson, McDermott, and Poeltl could turn out to be a very underrated group that will surprise the NBA next season.