Where will the Spurs finish in the Western Conference standings next season?

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs
Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

Spurs fans have been divided into two factions in recent seasons, Team Tank or Team Play-In. Though landing Victor Wembanyama showed it was a smart decision to commit to the youth movement and a full-throttle rebuild last season, there is almost no chance the organization runs it back with the same strategy in 2023-24.

Wembanyama is a once-in-a-lifetime player, and there are no prospects who come close to matching his combination of physical tools and talent in any of the upcoming draft classes. Even if San Antonio goes all in on making the playoffs, they should still have valuable draft picks for the next several years thanks to the front office pulling off multiple savvy trades to bolster their treasure trove of assets.

Basketball fans and the media are expecting a lot from Wembanyama and the Spurs this season. The team has sat outside of the national spotlight for the last four seasons, but they have a responsibility to show what this group of youngsters and seasoned veterans can do with a franchise player leading the charge.

Players as gifted as the French phenom don't grind their entire lives to get to the NBA just to be a part of a rebuilding ball club. They may understand some losing in the beginning, but they expect to be the centerpiece of a team that has the structure to leap to the top of the league standings within a couple of seasons.

The Spurs are talented and hungry for victory. Last season helped the young core develop their skills without the pressure of needing to produce in the win column, but it is time to put these guys in tense situations where they can learn to persevere through adversity. Sooner or later, they will come face to face with an uphill battle that requires maturity and resolve.

From striving for the Play-In to making some noise in the In-Season Tournament, there is no shortage of ways for the Silver and Black to put themselves on the map this year. This is perhaps the most vital season of the rebuilding process for an organization looking to capture a title soon. And unifying their youngsters is the first step toward reaching that goal.

Spurs fans aren't demanding their favorite franchise take home a championship in the first season of the Wembanyama experience, but there has been a notable shift in tone for San Antonio. It seems as though everyone on the roster is eager to play competitive basketball again, and this team should be able to finish in eighth place in the Western Conference and sneak into the Play-In Tournament.