The San Antonio Spurs found their franchise player in Victor Wembanyama, but are in no hurry to build a contender around the historic prospect. They want to give him time to develop, so the front office used their cap space this summer to stockpile picks and take on unwanted salaries via trade. The Spurs are positioned to strike whenever Wemby is ready to blossom.
Fans won’t have to wait long. History suggests a slow start, but signs of stardom by the All-Star break as a rookie. Legends usually have their team in position to make the playoffs in year two, and a deep postseason run comes while still on their rookie contract. Wembanyama may take a bit more time, but the Spurs will get the best out of the 7’3 big man.
Difficult decisions remain to create a contending roster, but who is a long-term building block? The Spurs would trade every player not named Wembanyama on their roster straight up for a superstar, but they value some of their talent more than other teams in the league. Those players are not going anywhere.
Untouchable San Antonio Spurs not named Victor Wembanyama
3. Keldon Johnson
Spurs general manager Brian Wright was quick to name Johnson untouchable days before they drafted Victor Wembanyama. The 6’5 wing is a Gregg Popovich player, and it helped earn him a spot on Team USA for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The 23-year-old broke out in his fourth NBA season to average 22.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 32.7 minutes per game. He has not reached his prime, and there is still growth to come.
Johnson’s counting stats will likely take a step back with Wemby in the Alamo, but his efficiency will improve. He was likely a bit overused as the team’s top scorer last season and will settle into a more natural role around the 7’3 big man.
Keldon Johnson must improve his defense and consistently sink his jumpers to remain a key piece of their core. Things will revolve around Victor Wembanyama, but the 23-year-old will play a key role as the San Antonio Spurs transform into a contender.