This article is part of our NBA Team Previews series.
2022-23 San Antonio Spurs Team Preview
San Antonio is diving into a deep rebuild, triggered by trading Dejounte Murray to Atlanta for draft picks. The Spurs inked Keldon Johnson to a contract extension, and he projects as the No. 1 option this season. Jeremy Sochan also enters the equation as the No. 9 overall pick from this summer’s draft.
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2021-22 Record: 34-48; Lost in first play-in game to Pelicans
2022-23 NBA Win Total Odds: 22.5 wins (DraftKings)
2022-23 NBA Title Odds: +100,000 (DraftKings)
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San Antonio Spurs Fantasy Basketball Preview
Last season marked the third consecutive year Poeltl saw increased minutes, and it marked the best season of his career by a significant margin. He started all but one of his 68 appearances and averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 blocks in 29.0 minutes. His field-goal percentage (61.8) was fantastic, but his 49.5 percent mark from the Charity stripe was downright awful and quite damaging to his Fantasy value, although he took only 2.8 attempts per game. Poeltl’s increased production wasn’t simply a product of more minutes, as Poeltl’s 18.3 percent usage rate was significantly higher than his previous high mark of 14.8 percent in 2017-18. The center ranked 79th in per-game Fantasy production. This season, they should have room to grow yet again. The Spurs are in one of the best tanking situations in the NBA, with their best player arguably being Keldon Johnson. Poeltl can only handle so much usage as a traditional center without much of a post game, but he’s displayed upside as a passer and could handle the ball more frequently than ever before. Fantasy Managers should temper expectations given Poeltl’s limitations as a player, but he deserves a selection earlier than his ranking from the end of last season.
The No. 11 picks from 2020 made strides as a sophomore last season. With DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay out of the picture, Vassell stepped into more minutes (17.0 MPG to 27.3 MPG) and more usage (14.3% to 18.9%). He also started 32 of his 71 appearances. Overall, the Florida State product averaged 12.3 points on 43/36/84 shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, Vassell increased his shooting efficiency and assist percentage while decreasing his turnover percentage – an impressive feat as a young player taking on more usage. However, he still relied on others to create for him, with 80 percent of his baskets going Assisted – in the 37th percentile for wing players. He also settles for Jumpers often, with just 17 percent of his shots coming at the rim. And while he leans on long twos more often than is ideal, he shot 43 percent from that range, which is solid. Right now, he’s flashed upside as a three-and-D wing, but it’s possible Coach Gregg Popovich will look to get Vassell more involved this season. San Antonio is in one of the deepest rebuilds in the NBA, and Vassell is one of the best players on the roster after Dejounte Murray was traded away to Atlanta over the summer. Vassell ranked 121st in per-game production last season, so Fantasy Managers will likely need to cough up a top-100 pick to get the third-year wing.
The Spurs undertook the first stage of a rebuild last season after losing DeMar DeRozan to the Bulls. Dejounte Murray was the clear leader of the team, but Johnson also proved to be one of his top running mates. He stepped up his production, averaging 17.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.1 three-pointers across 32 minutes per game. While his 21.3 percent usage rate was the highest of his career, it was still a fairly modest mark. The main reason for his spike in points per game was that he shot 39.8 percent from behind the arc on 5.3 attempts per game. The season prior, he shot 33.1 percent on 2.6 attempts per game. This offseason saw Murray get dealt to the Hawks, further thrusting the Spurs into their rebuild. They haven’t added any significant veterans, so Johnson has a chance to lead the team in usage rate. If he can maintain his efficiency from behind the arc with an increased workload, he could become extremely valuable. There is some risk that comes with drafting him, though, as the Spurs could be one of the teams that sit some of their better players down the stretch of the season to improve their chances of obtaining the top pick in the 2023 Draft.
With Dejounte Murray being traded to Atlanta, a starting point guard spot has opened up in San Antonio. Jones appears to be the favorite to claim the job, and he could end up being a notable sleeper this season. Jones – the brother of Tyus – was selected with the 41st overall pick in 2020 out of Duke. He saw Fringe NBA minutes as a rookie but excelled in the G League, where he was named to the 2020-21 All-G League Team. Last year, he was able to garner a consistent role as Murray’s backup, averaging 6.0 points and 3.4 assists in 16.6 minutes. However, what Fantasy Managers should be interested in were his 11 starts. As a starter, Jones averaged 13.5 points on 48.8 percent shooting, 7.5 assists (1.1 turnovers!), 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 32.7 minutes. The turnovers need to be emphasized again. If you are in a nine-category league, Jones’ lack of giveaways will be an absolutely massive factor in his Fantasy value. One knock on his game is a lack of three-pointers. He averaged only 1.6 three-point attempts per 36 minutes last season and is a career 23.2 percent shooter from distance. There’s potential there – he went 39-for-108 (36.1%) as a sophomore at Duke and shot 77.1 FT% as well – but he has yet to demonstrate it at the pro level. The positive is that with Jones living at the rim and floater range, his field-goal percentage stays high. He was prolific from floater range especially, going 64-for-126 (51%) from 4-14 feet. They shot 49.0 percent as a whole last year. It’s understandable for Fantasy Managers to hesitate about drafting Jones inside the top 100, but the Spurs are without other suitable options at the position. Joshua Primo hasn’t looked great, and he’s also more of a shooting guard. Blake Wesley was selected with the No. 25 overall pick over the summer, but he may spend time in the G League. There should be a clear runway for Jones to be a 30-minute-per-game player with potential for semi-consistent 15-and-10 performances.
San Antonio Spurs Depth Chart for 2022-23
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San Antonio Spurs Predictions for 2022-23
The Spurs project as one of the worst teams in the league. The roster is full of unproven players, with Keldon Johnson being the No. 1 option. That’s a recipe for (intentional) disaster. Maybe they win a few more games than they should, given the excellent coaching of Gregg Popovich.
- 15 seed
- Worst record in the NBA
Keldon Johnson averages 25 points per game.
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