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Top Needs for the San Antonio Spurs to Sort Going Into the New NBA Season

| November 14, 2020 12:32 am PDT
San Antonio Spurs' Biggest Needs 2021 NBA Season

The San Antonio Spurs took quite the step in the wrong direction last season. They still had legendary head coach Gregg Popovich, they were still largely competitive, and they had one of the most efficient offenses in the league.

Unfortunately, their defense was awful, they weren’t quite as consistent as they needed to be, and they missed the playoffs for the first time since the 1996-97 NBA season.

That just wasn’t Spurs basketball, but it’s unclear how or when it gets better. Both LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are expensive stars that no longer can fix things, and they’re on the roster going into the 2021 NBA season.

So, how do the Spurs improve? Let’s take a look at the San Antonio Spurs’ biggest needs for the 2021 NBA season to find out.

Unload Their Superstars

The Spurs, as constructed, aren’t good enough. They can’t completely help that, as Tim Duncan retired, their best players got old and left, and Kawhi Leonard forced his way out of town.

Their free fall came quickly, but it was something we should have been able to see.

I’m not here to say DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge can’t still play. They can. In fact, DeRozan had perhaps his best season ever in terms of efficiency, and Ridge can still score effectively.

Aldridge is aging and doesn’t always take efficient shots for a big man, however, neither of these guys are true defensive assets, and DeRozan can’t space the floor consistently.

We literally just saw this team’s ceiling with them featured, too. The Spurs are maybe a fringe playoff team at their best, or they don’t even make the cut.

There should be plenty of takers for both DeRozan and Aldridge. In fact, DeRozan is already drawing interest.

They’re two strong scorers, while DeRozan can create offense, and Aldridge can help with rebounding and shot-blocking.

Ideally it isn’t long, but the Spurs need to embrace a complete rebuild and deal one or both of these guys for whatever they can get.

If I’m wrong, there could always be San Antonio Spurs trades that could happen in 2020.

Get a Difference-Maker in the Draft

Regardless of what the Spurs do with their aging stars, they better hit on their lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. It’ll be one of the most intriguing picks, too, as San Antonio presently holds the 11th pick, and it’s anyone’s guess what they do with it.

Personally, I think they should do all they can to trade up. There are just too many viable franchise cornerstones at the top of this draft to be passive.

And after that top-heavy portion, it starts thinning out pretty quickly.

San Antonio would do well to try to get a major difference-maker like James Wiseman, Deni Avdija, Obi Toppin, or LaMelo Ball. Of course, to ensure they get a pick making it possible to get one of those top prospects, they’d need to dangle a fair amount of assets.

Looking at the top of the draft, the team seemingly most likely to make a deal could be the Hawks. Atlanta already has a nice, young core, and after dealing for Clint Capela last season, it’s possible they could be one more big move from pushing for the playoffs, if not more.

DeMar DeRozan would be the logical trade target involving these two teams, while the Spurs would also surely have to include their lottery pick.

But trade talk aside, the Spurs need to rebuild, and the best way to do that is to snag a prospect in this draft that they can really get excited about.

What’s even better, is you can bet on what they do, as well as what other teams do. For more information on betting on this year’s draft, check out everything you need to know about the 2020 NBA Draft.

Upgrade Center

Whether LaMarcus Aldridge stays or not, he isn’t a true center, and he’s getting old. Jakob Poeltl has been a fine reserve, and he’s been solid in some spot starts. But he can’t be the future for this franchise at this position, either.

Instead, the Spurs should look to make a big upgrade at the five spot. Not only is the star power and consistency lacking at the position, but the Spurs also rank 18th in points allowed in the paint.

San Antonio could benefit quite a bit from getting a little stronger inside, while their scoring down low (29th in points inside the paint) obviously can only get better.

Landing someone like James Wiseman in the draft could fix all of these issues, long-term. In the interim, however, the Spurs could look to free agency for help via guys like Derrick Favors or Hassan Whiteside.

Perhaps they fix this problem in any prospective trades that would deal with DeRozan or Aldridge, too. Regardless, it’s a major issue at both ends of the floor, and the Spurs need to find a way to get better on the interior.

Find a Spark Scorer

One other pressing need is bench scoring. Marco Belinelli and Bryn Forbes are headed into free agency and could be gone.

Forbes was actually a regular starter, and quietly brought 11 points per game to the table over the last two years, while shooting 40% from long range for his career. It’s possible the Spurs hold onto him, but losing him would force someone else to ascend into the starting five.

Belinelli was only called upon for 15 minutes per game last year, but he’s still a useful shooter that would have probably been asked to step up. And when you start looking at guys like Keldon Johnson and Lonnie Walker – that have not been consistent at all – you see how big of a deal this could end up being.

San Antonio can try to improve with these guys from within, and they also could just target some offensive help in the draft. Or they could spend a little money on scorers like Jordan Clarkson, E’Twaun Moore, or Langston Galloway in free agency.

Summary

It’s pretty clear that the Spurs are headed in the wrong direction. Nobody is calling for Popovich’s head, but he’s also likely nearing the end of his coaching career.

In just about every way, San Antonio should be looking to start from scratch.

The good news is they have a lottery pick, they have some assets, and they still have a nice foundation on their roster to hit the reset button with.

I doubt they’ll make some huge splash move to close the gap between them and the top teams in the Western Conference this year, so most of their energy should be focused on quickly rebuilding over the next couple of seasons.

We’ve been taking a look at the major needs for every NBA team going into 2021. Here’s a few more to take a look at while we’re on the subject.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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