What's next for the rebuilding Spurs after a busy trade deadline?
Full speed ahead with the tank
As mentioned earlier, San Antonio's ultimate goal is to secure a top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. While tanking has been a hotly debated topic among Spurs fans, the team desperately needs top-end talent. And the best possible chance at securing said talent is through those pesky ping-pong balls.
But it's not first-overall pick or bust. The second pick offers a lucky lottery loser a chance to select Scoot Henderson. And if not for the French freak of nature, he would be the obvious best prospect in this class. Henderson is considered "arguably the most complete guard in recent NBA Draft history" by FanSided's Christopher Kline.
After Henderson, there's more worthwhile talent in the top six, with names like Amen Thompson, Ausar Thompson, Nick Smith Jr, and Brandon Miller. While the Spurs would love a top-two selection, no one should be upset if they land any of these gifted youngsters as a consolation prize.
The Poeltl and Richardson trades show the Spurs' willingness to dive head-first into the tank and maintain their lottery odds through their last 27 games this season. But besides odds, this gives younger players a massive opportunity for extended minutes on the biggest stage. Players like Blake Wesley, Malaki Branham, Charles Bassey, and Dominick Barlow all stand to gain something from San Antonio's deadline dealings.
While this might not be the best rendition of Spurs basketball, the player development Gregg Popovich is fostering could pay dividends down the road for this young team. San Antonio is focused on the future and knows their short-term growing pains are only temporary. A year of frustrating losses earned them the franchise player that carried them to a quarter-century of success. As one coach once said, "keep pounding the rock."