San Antonio Spurs
(Darren Abate/Associated Press)

The San Antonio Spurs look to extend their playoff streak of consecutive appearances to a record-breaking 23. This year will be TOUGH to do it, given the parity of the NBA, much less the Western Conference.

Spurs Additions

The Spurs did not change their roster much after a league altering trade with Kawhi Leonard, one of the best players in the NBA, to the Raptors last year. However, the San Antonio Spurs did make a notable signing in Demarre Carroll. I loved this move by the Spurs, one of their biggest problems last year was rebounding and post defense, two things that Demarre Carroll can excel at. They also added Trey Lyles, who will most likely be a benchwarmer that sees garbage minutes, but even on Denver, he had flashes of great moments. Although it is more of a recovery from injury than an actual addition, Dejounte Murray will be coming back from injury after being out for the year tearing his ACL. Murray is a defensive stud that looks to expand more on his offensive game this season.

Spurs Losses

There was really only one notable loss on the Spurs roster, but I’m gonna count two just because of what Marcus Morris did. If you didn’t know Marcus Morris initially verbally agreed to a deal with the San Antonio Spurs for 2 years and 20 million. He then recanted that, then signed a one year deal for 15 million with the disorganized Knicks. I count this as a loss because I would take him over Carroll, but that’s just business. The other loss was trading away Davis Bertans to the Wizards. Bertans was the sharpshooter for the Spurs. However, that’s pretty much all he did, he seemed like a liability on the court for defense, rebounding, whatever you want to say. But he could shoot super well and can be an asset in situational settings.

Roster Lineups

The projected starting and bench lineup for the San Antonio Spurs that I have and would work best for them is this:

PG; Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Patty Mills

SG: Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, Marco Belinelli

SF: Demar Derozan, Derrick White, Rudy Gay

PF: Demarre Carroll, Rudy Gay

C: LaMarcus Aldridge, Jakob, Poeltl, Trey Lyles

Lineup Analysis

Dejounte Murray and a Derrick White backcourt will be one of the better defensive backcourts in the league. Although White had great scoring production in the playoffs last year, he’ll need to be consistent this year. Murray is still unproven to be a consistent scorer, therefore they won’t be the most productive scorers on the team. The offense for the starting lineup will be through Aldridge and Derozan again. With a year under the offense, hopefully, Derozan finds better strides in his game and looks to be more of a lead scorer. LaMarcus Aldridge is approaching the end of his prime if he hasn’t got there already, both of these players need to find a little bit of range to open up the spacing for the rest of the offense. Rudy Gay will be the number one scorer for the bench and have a leadership role for the younger guys. Gay was productive off the bench and will continue to do that. He is a better option for the bench than Demarre Carroll, who’s offense isn’t as good as Gay’s, Gay’s production would be wasted in the starting lineup with most production going to Derozan and Aldridge.

The San Antonio Spurs will be better this year, but unfortunately for them, so will everyone else in the West. It’s truly a wild, wild west out here, and even though I am confident in the success of the squad, I cannot guarantee a playoff spot and the highest seed this team will get is the 8th seed. However, with the 8th seed, the Spurs break the record and still go to the playoffs. They’ll be one of five teams competing for that 8th spot since the first 7 spots are a lock. With Gregg Popovich on their side, I like their chances though. We’ll see how it turns out for them.