The Spurs’ 2021-2022 season is set to be underway soon, with opening night falling on Oct. 20 at home against the Orlando Magic. This is a very different look for the team this year, with the departures of Demar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, and Patty Mills. The young stars now have their chance to have all the shine, and the team is going in a direction that it hasn’t been in in over 20 years– a rebuild.
The Spurs off-season was filled with many moves that some fans praised, while others were left very confused. The first was the first round draft pick of Josh Primo, 12th overall. Primo is only 18 years old, but only averaged 8.1 PPG in his only college season at Alabama. The pick baffled analysts, but the Spurs seem to be very confident in their pick and Primo has shown a lot of potential in the NBA pre-season so far. In NBA free agency, the team signed sharpshooting forward Doug McDermott to a 3 year, $42 million dollar contract, which was seen as a lot of money to most people. Other players signed included injury-prone big man Zach Collins, Australian NBL Grand Final MVP Jock Landale, and the return of new NBA Champion Bryn Forbes. The final important part of the off-season included the sign-and-trade of Demar DeRozan to the Chicago Bulls, in which the Spurs received veteran forwards Thaddeus Young and Al-Farouq Aminu, as well as 3 draft picks. This was a great return for a star free agent that could’ve easily left with the Spurs getting nothing back in return.
The young players will be the center of attention on the team now, but how will each of them play with this newfound pressure? Dejounte Murray is the probable leader of the new team, being the starting point guard that’s heading into his 6th season on the Spurs. Keldon Johnson has very high expectations placed on him after being a part of Team USA at the olympics and winning gold. Derrick White hopes to have a fully healthy season after showing glimpses of star talent when healthy. Lonnie Walker IV, a long-time fan favorite, hopes to take another big step in his development with more playing time opportunities. Devin Vassell and Tre Jones, both entering their second seasons in the NBA, will hope to see a lot more playing time than last season and showcase their talent and potential.
A big question regarding the Spurs future is how they will balance out their guards’ playing time. Five of the Spurs’ last 7 first round picks have been guards, and all five of those guards are on the team still. On top of that Bryn Forbes and Tre Jones are also guards deserving of minutes on the roster, so how will Coach Popovich balance out these minutes? Dejounte Murray and Derrick White are the probables for the two starting guards, so that means that Lonnie Walker, Devin Vassell, Bryn Forbes, Tre Jones, and Josh Primo will all have to share the backup minutes. It is very likely that Primo, who the Spurs gambled on drafting many picks higher than he was projected, may not get any minutes this season and may even spend a lot of the season with the Austin Spurs (the Spurs’ G-League team).
Since the Spurs are in such an unorthodox part of their franchise, fans have many conflicting opinions on how this upcoming season will go. Here are the predictions of a few Spurs fans here at Mac.
Junior Ramon Chapa:
Q: The Spurs need to cut one more player before the season starts. What player do you think it should be?
A: Drew Eubanks
Junior Will Fischer:
Q: What is your prediction for the Spurs starting lineup this season?
A: Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, Keldon Johnson, Doug McDermott, and Jakob Poeltl
Q: The Spurs finished 33-39 last season with a shortened schedule. Now that it is back to an 82 game schedule, what’s your prediction for what the Spurs’ record will be?