Seemingly routine Spurs win might've laid groundwork for fun trade season

The San Antonio Spurs snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Memphis Grizzlies and may have found a potential Keldon Johnson replacement in the process.
Sidy Cissoko
Sidy Cissoko / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The losing streak has finally come to an end. The last time the Spurs beat the Grizzlies was on December 23, 2020. That is an egregiously long time for San Antonio to suffer defeat repeatedly at the hands of a singular foe. There was a time when the Silver and Black held unreasonable win streaks over multiple teams. Being on the other end of such a claim is deeply unsettling, but no more.

Memphis fielded a team without the services of several of their best players, such as Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson, and others, but it's not like 210's finest had their full squad either. When you've lost 13 straight to one team, it doesn't matter if the coaches face off in a spirited game of Rock, Paper, Scissors; you'll take a victory however it comes.

While getting the win removed the proverbial monkey off San Antonio's back, the story of the evening was the contribution received from multiple bench guys. Sandro Mamukelashvili deserves acknowledgment. His infectious energy was all over the court all game, slapping 11 points and 16 rebounds on the stat sheet. He always should have been receiving more minutes.

Blake Wesley went 5-7 from the field and 2-3 from three for 13 points and while Devonte Graham did not shoot the ball well, he chipped in four assists. The game started off rough for the team; pulling it out was a team effort but the catalyst was a revelation in the form of rookie second-rounder Sidy Cissoko.

Cissoko's breakout game shows Keldon replacement potential

Fans have been clamoring to see Sidy Cissoko play meaningful minutes with the main team. He was drafted 44th overall in the 2023 draft out of France and has a well-rounded game. A lot of players come from overseas with great fundamentals, understanding the nuances of high-level basketball at a younger age than many American players. He still needs to be polished but the potential is there.

Cissoko finished the game with 10 points on 4-6 from the field, adding three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. Mamu's energy was matched only by Sidy, whose athleticism is through the roof. He made a few highlight plays that will be worthy wallpapers for the phones of Spurs fans in need of something new.

The writing is on the wall for a Keldon Johnson trade over the summer. The speculation has been raging all season. It's not like Johnson provided a zero sum, though, and his production will need to be replaced. Cissoko may provide an in-house solution to that problem.

If he can build on what he has shown thus far, the Spurs will have another forward on the roster more athletic than Keldon, with greater efficiency, better playmaking and superior defense. Between Mamu, Sidy and a guy like Tre Jones, the Spurs may already have most of their bench for the future. At the very least, it adds to the depth of assets in San Antonio's possession, making them even stronger players when it's time to start making deals in the offseason.