This season, it should be apparent that the San Antonio Spurs are in full tank mode. With prizes like the Thompson brothers, Scoot Henderson, and Victor Wembanyama on the line, there is really no reason for the Spurs to play competitive basketball. They have no playoff aspirations, no star players, just a young nucleus that could benefit heavily from adding a marquee prospect.
Last year, the Spurs clinched the tenth seed in the West, which was fun because we got to see play-in tournament basketball, and also because the Spurs kept the Lakers out of the playoffs, ruining their title aspirations. The team overperformed last year and was actually in full tank mode.
In the summer of 2021, the Spurs signed sharpshooting free agent Doug McDermott. At 30 years old, McDermott had established himself as one of the better bench players in the league and a knockdown 40% shooter from deep. The Spurs added him to boost their three-point attempt rate, and also to provide some leadership to the young team.
McDermott’s usage proves the Spurs were in tank mode as early as last year
Dougie McBuckets is a solid offensive weapon who can hit the shots from deep and somehow find his way to the hoop. On the defensive side of the ball, he is a total liability. Last year, he actually put up 11.3 points per game, the second most in his eight years in the league.
That being said, his minutes per game were also at their second highest, and his total games started more than doubled in a single season with the Spurs, as he started all 51 games that he was healthy. McDermott also took five shots from deep per game, which is more than he ever has taken during his career.
Granted, he also made more than he ever had before, so his production did not dip at all. My main gripe is that Doug McDermott, a solid player, should not be starting 51 games on a competitive team. His usage was through the roof, and it should be taken as evidence that the Spurs were not serious about winning games.
This year, I expect a shameless tank job, so unless he is traded away, I hope McDermott gets to run the offense, and the Spurs can start fresh with a franchise savior next year.