If you've watched even a few San Antonio Spurs games this season, odds are you've seen several different versions of the team's starting lineup. That's not necessarily unusual since coaches often experiment in the first 20 games of the season. Even still, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich appears to be searching for the right combination that can get them back on track.
Popovich has been non-committal on a starting lineup and has shuffled players such as Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan, and now Zach Collins in and out of the starting five. With a franchise-record losing streak, he'd be crazy not to mix and match until he finds what works. However, perhaps he doesn't need to play mad scientist to figure out the ideal starting five.
What should the Spurs' starting lineup be going forward
With Popovich finally starting Victor Wembanyama at center, that opens things up in a big way for the Spurs. Collins has been a mixed bag thus far, giving the team a low-post option and a theoretical floor-spacing big man. Be that as it may, he hasn't been able to knock down threes consistently, and his defense has been underwhelming both away from and close to the basket.
Moving him out of the starting lineup allows the Spurs to slide Wemby up to the five and play Sochan at the four. That gives the Spurs more flexibility on the perimeter, and the options from there seem clear. Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, and Keldon Johnson playing alongside Sochan and Wembanyama makes the most sense. After all, it gives the starting lineup a skilled playmaker in Jones who can facilitate and get the Spurs good shots.
That alone should help Wembanyama, who often essentially left running wind sprints rather than the offense running through him. The fact that he is still averaging 19 points is impressive all things considered, though he could be averaging more with Jones there to run pick-and-roll. Wembanyama, as a pick-and-pop big who occasionally skys for lobs, would be both incredible to watch and highly efficient.
Better yet, with Sochan back in his natural position, he can focus on defense and scoring off the ball rather than trying to initiate the offense. That is better for all involved, and the Spurs could benefit from his improved shooting with him playing more off-ball.
Having three shooters in Vassell, Johnson, and Sochan on the perimeter and a true point guard would allow San Antonio to utilize Wembamyama more and would be more potent than the lineups they've tried this season. Therefore, Popovich should play this starting lineup going forward.