The San Antonio Spurs have not performed as well as they had hoped this season, but that was to be anticipated given the talent on their roster.
Outside of Dejounte Murray, who has taken a giant leap in this league and become one of the top players in the NBA, there haven’t been many bright lights for the Spurs this season. He has the potential to be an All-Star this season, and if he isn’t, the voters will be disappointed. Dejounte Murray has been a big reason why the Spurs have been able to compete in most of their games and only win a few, but there have been a few more guys who have really come up for this squad and might one day be very successful players in this league.
Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, Jacob Poeltl, Doug McDermott, and Lonnie Walker have all contributed significantly to the Spurs’ success.
Let’s take a look at the three most underappreciated players on the San Antonio Spurs this season.
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Spurs Unsung Heroes 2022
3. Jakob Poeltl
Jakob Poeltl has been one of the Spurs’ players who has made a significant improvement this season. He’s currently averaging 12.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. He has not only been above average on the offensive end of the court, but he has also been a strong defender who has made the game difficult for some of the NBA’s best centers.
He’ll be a fascinating guy to watch around the NBA trade deadline since there have been rumors that the Spurs are looking to shake things up a little and bring in some new guys. Given his defensive abilities, it’s understandable that many contending teams would pursue him. Teams in the Eastern Conference will have to get stops against players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid, and Poeltl can make it more difficult for these players than most other NBA centers.
From the Spurs’ standpoint, letting go of him wouldn’t make much sense since he’s been one of the reasons they’ve been able to compete at times this season. It may be in the team’s best interests if they believe they can receive a good return.
2. Lonnie Walker
Lonnie Walker hasn’t been spectacular for the Spurs this season, but he’s still averaging 11 points per game, just one point shy of tying his career best. He’s clearly found a bigger role this season, and not only has he had to play in a variety of situations, but he’s thrived in them on both sides of the floor.
Lonnie Walker isn’t going to blow everyone away with his numbers, but he does a lot of the small things well in the game and is virtually what coach Popovich wants in a basketball player. He’s constantly trying to make the right decisions on the court, and he’s been more than capable on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor this season.
1. Doug McDermott
Doug McDermott is a unique name that has been around for a long time. This is his first season in San Antonio, and he has already proven to be a valuable member of the squad, shooting over 41% from 3-point range. There have been many rumors that he could be traded at this year’s trade deadline, and it could make sense from the Spurs’ perspective. First, despite how well he has played for them, he is already 30 years old, and he could get a decent return for a younger player or a draft pick or two to help speed up the Spurs rebuild process, which they will undoubtedly begin this offseason.
The next few months will be exciting for this Spurs team, and the next few weeks might mark the beginning of a big reconstruction for this franchise. They haven’t had the kind of success that everyone expects from the Spurs in recent years, but that was to be anticipated given that they lost several of their Hall of Fame players.
Not only will the Spurs’ trade deadline be exciting, but the offseason will bring many new challenges for the club, as there are rumors that head coach Gregg Popovich is entering his last season. San Antonio will have some difficult decisions at the deadline this year, and they must recognize that if they do not receive adequate compensation for any of their players, they may be locked in a rebuilding process for longer than they would want.
They already have Dejounte Murray, so instead of rebuilding, they may retool and bring in some guys and a second star to partner with him.