Losing typically isn’t a part of Gregg Popovich’s coaching DNA. Since joining the Spurs as a head coach, he’s only missed the playoffs five times. And two of those times has resulted in the number one pick: Tim Duncan and now Victor Wembanyama. Here’s the San Antonio Spurs 2023-24 NBA season preview:
The most highly touted draft prospect since LeBron James has landed in San Antonio, and judging by his preseason, he’s going to make a huge impact. How large will that impact be?
Wembanyama is special. He’s 7’4 with guard skills. And I’m not talking about “unicorn” guard skills. I mean this kid is doing crossovers into turnaround mid-range jumpers. This kid is blocking shots on one end with his 8-foot wingspan and hitting transition threes on the other end. It’s no surprise that the NBA was streaming his games for Metropolitans 92 to give fans a glimpse of this transcendent talent. And now he’s here with all the expectations in the world. The San Antonio Spurs 2023-24 season goes through Wembanyama. And if all goes right, he could be the face of the franchise for the next 15 years doing things that no player his size should be capable of. And that alone gives them one of the biggest wins of the offseason.
The Spurs added the veteran wing as a part of the sign-and-trade deal that Cleveland made to acquire Max Strus from Miami. Osman can certainly step in as a locker room leader for the young core, but also as a 3 & D presence off the bench.
Wembanyama wasn’t the only Frenchman that San Antonio added in the 2023 draft. They selected Sidy Cissoko in the 2nd round from the G League Ignite. The 6’6 wing can fill the statsheet in a variety of ways and could potentially see solid minutes off the bench this season.
The only major departure this offseason was Keita Bates-Diop, who started in 42 games last season for the Spurs. He served as a very efficient floor-spacing wing, averaging 9.7 points per game shooting 39% from three. Bates-Diop departed after three seasons in San Antonio, signing with the Suns early in the offseason.
Coach Popovich announced that the Spurs would be experimenting with starting second-year forward Jeremy Sochan at point guard to start the season. This lineup makes the Spurs one of the tallest teams in the league, with nobody under 6’5.
The team’s inexperience on the bench could be a factor that keeps them towards the bottom of the league. While they have their core intact, many of these players on their bench still have a lot to prove.
The Spurs will have a lot of eyes on them this season to see what Wembanyama is capable of. But luckily they’re devoid of expectations. This team isn’t in a position to where they’ll be contending for the playoffs, nor do they have to be. They’re about a season or two away from playoff contention, and landing in the lottery gives them an opportunity to pair another elite prospect with their generational talent. I expect them to be at the bottom of the loaded West, with a 24-58 record.
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