What's next for the rebuilding Spurs after a busy trade deadline?
Who's going to be the center of attention?
The Spurs originally received Jakob Poeltl in the Kawhi Leonard trade in 2018. The Austrian center spent four-and-a-half seasons in San Antonio, going from a bench piece to one of the best defensive centers in the league. By moving on from Poeltl, the Spurs have a hole at the center position for the first time in a long time.
Zach Collins is the first and most apparent player that comes to mind to fill that hole. Collins is in his second season with San Antonio and has been on a tear coming off the bench, averaging 9.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on 58% shooting in 20.3 minutes a game.
Collins hasn't been a regular starter since the 2019-20 season when he started 11 games for Portland before going through a slew of injuries that would leave him on the sidelines for the 2020-21 season. Two years removed from his injury, Collins is about to find himself in a starting spot again.
But is Collins the long-term solution?
The Spurs are, of course, in the race for Victor Wembanyama, the 7'4" French center that some scouts have described as the "single greatest prospect in NBA history."
Their goal is to secure Wembanyama, who would fill the center position immediately, but that's reliant on the NBA Draft Lottery. Right now, San Antonio is among the three teams with the highest odds of winning the number-one overall pick (14%).
While San Antonio is doing everything right in setting itself up to stack the odds in their favor, they still need to win the lottery. And outside of Wembanyama, there's no viable starting option in the middle within the top five prospects of the upcoming draft class.
Overall, the future of the five-spot in San Antonio is extremely muddy. Depending on how Collins handles the elevated role, the Spurs might find a starting-caliber center in the 25-year-old. In the worst case, the Spurs search for a new center through the draft.