Assessing the Roster at San Antonio Spurs for 2020-21
The San Antonio Spurs have a rich history of winning. That hit a pretty rough wall last season, as the team missed out on the NBA playoffs for the first time in over two decades.
San Antonio has every right to hit the reset button and banish veterans like DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge from the team. Future trades could certainly involve those two stars (among others), and if that happens, nobody will blink an eye.
In fact, with this current rendition of the Spurs seemingly stalling out in a muddy pit of mediocrity, it stands to reason that blowing up this roster is what’s best for the franchise’s future.
But Gregg Popovich seems intent on trying to improve from within. This San Antonio Spurs roster analysis will assess the current state of the team while gauging for bettors if the 2020-21 Spurs can be salvaged.
San Antonio Spurs 2020-21 Roster
- Key Additions: Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, Keita Bates-Diop
- Key Losses: Bryn Forbes, Marco Belinelli
- PG: Dejounte Murray
- SG: Derrick White
- SF: DeMar DeRozan
- PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
- C: Jakob Poeltl
The Spurs were not great as a whole last year, but many may be surprised to note that they finished the year with the league’s 5th most efficient offense.
A lot of that has to do with their system and tendency to share the ball and run the offense until they find the best shot, but DeMar DeRozan also morphed into a useful playmaker and enjoyed the most efficient season of his career.
DeRozan’s lack of range curbs his individual upside and holds San Antonio’s offense back from an explosive perspective, but the offense is not the problem in San Antonio.
In fact, talk of LaMarcus Aldridge manning the five more and launching three-pointers could make this starting five even deadlier.
1) Pop on LaMarcus Aldridge fitting in w/SAS new style of play: "We want to get back in the playoffs, and he is committed to taking another huge step as far as becoming more of a 3-point shooter, which is necessary in this league for success we all know."— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) December 1, 2020
Bryn Forbes’ exit probably hurts this group, but Derrick White isn’t really a drop-off. DeRozan and Ridge give the Spurs a quality one-two scoring punch, but defense (25th last year) is the main obstacle for this unit to overcome.
San Antonio Spurs’ Bench
- Patty Mills
- Tre Jones
- Quinndary Weatherspoon
- Lonnie Walker
- Keldon Johnson
- Devin Vassell
- Keita Bates-Diop
- Rudy Gay
- Trey Lyles
- Luka Samanic
- Tyler Zeller
- Drew Eubanks
San Antonio lacks that one true superstar to rally around, but they have two very good stars to lean on, as well as a pretty underrated bench.
The Spurs have two emerging prospects in Lonnie Walker and Keldon Johnson, as well as an untapped talent in Luka Samanic. Add in rookies like Tre ZJones and Devin Vassell – not to mention trusted veterans like Rudy Gay and Patty Mills – and this second group is actually quite solid.
Nobody would be too shocked to learn the Spurs had the fourth-best scoring bench a year ago. They didn’t lose much when they went to the second unit, although losing a capable shooter like Marco Belinelli probably doesn’t help.
Overall, this is a complementary bench with several useful pieces, as well as some interesting prospects that could push for bigger roles.
Spurs’ Best Player – DeMar DeRozan
I’m not sure how the Spurs felt about DeRozan opting back into his contract this offseason. This is a team likely ready to just start over, but it never hurts to have a star scorer who is also turning into an adept playmaker.
Are the Spurs built to contend as they stand? No, but DeRozan remains a very good scorer that can effectively create offense for himself and others.
In fact, there is a very real argument DeRozan is criminally underrated.
Should DeRozan take it upon himself to elevate his game, it’s not wild to imagine the Spurs pushing for a playoff spot again.
DeRozan isn’t the flashiest player, but he can get buckets. He’s easily the best player the Spurs have to offer, but for this team to get back to postseason play, he may need to put up more than the 22.1 points per game he offered last season.
Spurs’ X-Factor – Dejounte Murray
For the Spurs to truly realize their potential, starting point guard Dejounte Murray probably needs to make a big leap this year.
He’s already a rock-solid player, and he’s earned the right to demand patience, considering he missed the entire 2018-19 season with a torn ACL.
Murray has otherwise done everything that’s been asked of him. He’s been a pesky defender, an improving facilitator, and a useful scorer.
Through three seasons, his numbers have improved across the board every step of the way.
|Season||Points (Per Game)||Rebounds||Assists||FG%|
At just 24, Murray’s ability to take things to a whole different level (or not) is what may decide how far this rendition of the Spurs go.
On paper, Murray has immense scoring upside, should be able to be more involved as a playmaker, and has the defensive aptitude to set the tone on the ball up front.
The question is if the Spurs will unleash their star guard, who maxed out at just 25.5 minutes per game a year ago.
Final Assessment of the San Antonio Spurs Roster
The Spurs are kind of just doing what they can. They arguably had a rock-solid team with a shot at title contention in place, but then Kawhi Leonard pouted and blew that up.
San Antonio made the playoffs the year after that happened, and some regression set in. The defense has been their big issue, while health and inconsistency have also popped up with some problems.
The Spurs coaching staff is fantastic, they have two rock-solid stars, a terrific bench, and they’ve been very public about adapting to maximize their efforts.
It still keeps San Antonio in that dreaded “good-but-not-great” class, but they’re still a team bettors can actively target going into 2020-21.