San Antonio Spurs: 3 way-too-early bold predictions for the 2021-22 NBA season
With the 2021-22 NBA season starting soon, The San Antonio Spurs seem to focus on rebuilding as they let Patty Mills, and Rudy Gay walk and then initiated a sign-and-trade deal to ship out superstar and leading scorer DeMar DeRozan for Thaddeus Young.
In the process, with around $50 million in cap space, they have signed Doug McDermott, Zach Collins, Jock Landale, and their prodigal son in Bryn Forbes.
The Spurs have addressed their biggest issue coming into next season, their three-point shooting (The Spurs were the worst team to shoot the three-ball among the other 29 teams in the NBA as they were ranked last). They certainly addressed this issue as McDermott and Forbes are among the best 3-point shooters in the league right now. Scoring-wise, McDermott had a career year last season as he averaged 13.6 points per game, he is also a career 40.7% shooter from behind the arc.
However, despite addressing the shooting issue, the Spurs seem to lack someone who can take them to the next level.
Here are some way-too-early predictions for the Spurs for the 2021-22 NBA season.
Prediction #3: Spurs finish the season with at most 30 wins
The Spurs are set to miss the playoffs for the third straight season as they look to unleash their young core in Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, and the newly drafted Josh Primo. San Antonio has nothing to lose as they did not sign any big and hot names in the free-agent market this offseason.
The Spurs will be without a bonafide star after they let DeRozan and some other veterans go. However, even with DeRozan on the team, San Antonio really struggled to make the postseason.
So don’t be shocked if they are in it again for another losing season as they will continue to snag talent at the draft in years to come.
Prediction #2: Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, and Keldon Johnson’s breakout year
The bright side of this rebuild is that the Spurs are going to let Johnson and Murray loose this coming season.
After averaging 12.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists last season, Johnson showed immense potential as he flashed some of the things he can do when given the opportunity. He helped carry some of the load off of DeMar DeRozan.
He possesses all the intangibles that the Spurs value like being a team-first guy and being a hard worker. Johnson has a high basketball IQ as he showed last season with a lot of backdoor cuts leading to easy buckets.
Johnson was then selected as part of the winning roster for the US at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. As young as Johnson is, the international experience certainly helps him mature as a player and as a leader on and off the court.
With LaMarcus Aldridge out of the Spurs’ roster, Johnson will look to have his break-out year. Expect the 21-year old to average at least 18 points per game next season.
For Walker, he is the biggest winner of DeRozan’s departure. Walker will look to handle the task of scoring as he showed how capable he is of being a three-level scorer.
Per 100 possessions last season, Walker averaged 21.3 points and will certainly look to improve those numbers now that DeRozan is gone. His quickness and elite athleticism will help him soar to greater heights.
Murray will also be a big factor for the Spurs next season after averaging 15.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.5 steals for them last season. Murray’s two-way skillset is dangerous to opposing teams as he is a point guard who crashes the boards, makes plays, and plays exceptional defense.
If Murray develops his somewhat so-so 3-point shooting, he can certainly be a star in this league.
Prediction #1: Gregg Popovich retires after the season
Popovich is not getting any younger as he is turning 73 in January. The legendary coach has nothing else to prove in this league after winning five titles with the Spurs to go with his three Coach of the Year awards.
As the Spurs are set to miss three straight postseason appearances, Pop will likely hang it up as he will certainly want to be competitive and not waste his talents and efforts on a rebuilding team given his advanced age.
If he really decides to retire, Pop’s record is quite impressive as he boasts a winning percentage of 66.7% during the regular season. So far, Pop won 1310 with the Spurs and only lost 653 games.
He will forever be a legend not only for the Spurs’ organization but in the Basketball world as a whole.