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San Antonio Spurs: Return to defensive dominance is a few steps away

By Matty Farner
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Potential improvements to the San Antonio Spurs' roster

The Spurs can still make some significant moves before the season starts, whether that be trading up in the NBA Draft, making deals with either Golden State or Cleveland (both of whom have said they will be shopping their picks aggressively), acquiring some help via free agency, or trading.

Ben Simmons, an All-NBA Defensive First Team selection, seems to be available after his horrendous offensive performance against the Atlanta Hawks. However, due to the recent track record of the Spurs front office, it's probably a safer bet that none of these significant moves will happen.

Maybe one or two lesser versions of DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay are acquired in free agency, but it's highly unlikely the Spurs will make any big splashes this offseason (please prove me wrong, Brian Wright).

Assuming no big moves are made, the Spurs will need improvements from almost everyone on the defensive end. Obviously, they need a ton of help if not more on the offensive end, especially if DeMar and Rudy walk, but considering where the Spurs were last year prior to the All-Star break, they're much closer to being a top defensive team than they are on offense.

Of course, it'd be ideal if they were a top-five offensive and defensive team, but barring some miracle, the Spurs are going to remain a middle-of-the-pack to bottom-half team offensively until some of their young guys are able to develop a more consistent game offensively (Keldon, Devin, Luka Samanic, etc).

With a fully healthy roster, no jammed pack schedule, and the likely exodus of DeMar and Rudy, the defense should naturally improve, but it's going to take a collective effort from the guys they have and the front office adding at least one complementary piece to the squad that can assist on that end.

An addition of Ben Simmons would probably elevate the Spurs to a top-five defense pretty quickly despite all of his offensive woes. Maybe those offensive woes will overshadow his tremendous defense and playmaking ability and, ultimately, that may be what scares the front office away from making a deal for him anytime soon.

There are still other solid pieces that can be acquired in free agency that can make a positive impact including veterans Torrey Craig, Serge Ibaka, and Paul Milsap. None of those three would have quite the impact of Ben Simmons, but they would all make a very nice addition to the Silver and Black.

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Maybe Brian Wright surprises everyone and does trade up in the Draft and the Spurs can draft in the top five or ten and acquire that franchise changer we are all so desperately coveting. We are all looking for a bounce-back season, and if that can start on the defensive end, the road to the playoffs will grow a little bit brighter.