Spurs starting lineup just got interesting after the Harrison Barnes trade

In the aftermath of the San Antonio Spurs acquiring Harrison Barnes in a three-team deal, it's anyone's guess who will start next season.
Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In the aftermath of the San Antonio Spurs acquiring veteran Harrison Barnes in a three-team deal with the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings, an interesting question has emerged about who will ultimately start next season. After acquiring Barnes and signing Chris Paul, it appears that both will likely start next season, though the Spurs also have capable players at both positions who could make a case for more minutes.

Barnes has historically played small forward, but as he's gotten older, he's almost exclusively played power forward. The Spurs already have Jeremy Sochan as a starter at that position, while small forward is a bigger positional weakness for the team.

One option may be to start Barnes and Sochan together alongside Victor Wembanyama, with Barnes nominally being the three while Sochan defends small forwards. Or, the Spurs may bring Barnes off the bench and have him split time with Sochan at the four. With questions about their second unit, that might be an option.

Who should the San Antonio Spurs start next season after acquiring Harrison Barnes? 

Paul and Devin Vassell seem like safe bets to start in the backcourt next season, but coach Gregg Popovich has several options in the frontcourt. There is last season's starter, Julian Champagnie, who has size and shot the ball well. However, if the Spurs are trying to speed up the development of fourth overall pick Stephon Castle, Pop could start him with the goal of giving him reps defending the other team's best guards, something that he will probably eventually do full-time.

Having him play alongside Paul might also lead to him getting easier baskets, though he'll have to shoot decently from outside to keep from being a negative on offense while playing predominantly off-ball. That would help balance out the bench of Tre Jones, Malaki Branham, Keldon Johnson, Barnes, and Collins to be a respectable second unit.

There would be enough shooting and shot creation to hold their own as a five-man unit. They would compliment Wembanyama since he often starts the second and fourth quarters playing with the second unit.

While that is a reasonable option, I expect Paul, Vassell, Barnes, Sochan, and Wembanyama to start. After all, they would have the right blend of youth, experience, shooting, and playmaking to give the Spurs their best chance to win.