Spurs News: cavalry returns, playoff fate officially sealed
The San Antonio Spurs have trudged through the first season of their all-out rebuild with a shorthanded roster that has suffered several nicks and bruises at every turn. From nagging injuries to Jeremy Sochan, Tre Jones, and Romeo Langford to midseason surgical procedures for Devin Vassell, Zach Collins, and Blake Wesley, the team has turned to mishmash lineups to navigate their laundry list of ailments.
After having their sidelines crammed with out-of-commission starters and role players for 65 games, the Silver and Black finally own a virtually clean bill of health for the first time in forever. With only Khem Birch out for their matchup against the Denver Nuggets, Gregg Popovich will have a chance to experiment with a vast range of rotations in a way that wasn't possible when he had limited personnel at his disposal.
There will never be a better time for the 74-year-old head coach to tinker with minutes and roles, especially considering San Antonio is no longer in contention to make the playoffs. Although it was bound to happen sooner or later because of their position near the bottom of the league standings, a slew of wins from fellow Western Conference clubs officially eliminated the Spurs from the postseason picture on Thursday night.
Despite missing out on the playoffs for a fourth straight season, the Spurs have all but secured one of the three worst records in the NBA, which has them tied with the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets for the top lottery odds and a 14% chance of landing Victor Wembanyama.
With every victory and loss holding minimal significance at this juncture in the season, San Antonio has plenty of incentive to prioritize young players like Sochan, Wesley, and Malaki Branham. Spurs fans might see Dominick Barlow, Charles Bassey, and Julian Champagnie receive extended action.