Where do you see the San Antonio Spurs right now - as currently constructed - in the Western Conference hierarchy?
Steve Aschburner: I think they're about where they were last season, maybe a bit better because they'll be swapping in a full season of DeMar DeRozan for just nine games of Kawhi Leonard. So something in the 45-50 victory range seems reasonable. Now, given the arms race out West, that might not be enough to get the Spurs into the postseason. (It took 47 this spring to qualify). At least in adding DeRozan to LaMarcus Aldridge, their status as Monsters of the Midrange is secure.
Tas Melas: The Spurs are the third-best team in the West behind Golden State and Houston. There was a gap between those two teams and the rest, and the Spurs just filled it. Two All-Stars plus Gregg Popovich looks like a 50-plus win squad to me. There is a lot of faith in the green Dejounte Murray and in the greying rest of the roster, but the old school midrange shootin', high post passin', draining all that shot clockin' will be fun to watch.
Shaun Powell: The Spurs are in the middle class, which is where teams usually don't want to be. They're not title contenders and at best are title spoilers for someone else. But I'm not sure things would be different had they kept Leonard.
Welcome to San Antonio, DeMar! pic.twitter.com/kpjhqYigvf- San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 18, 2018
John Schuhmann: If you look at it one way, they've replaced Danny Green with DeMar DeRozan on a team that won 47 games last season. They've finished in the top five defensively in each of the last six seasons (and in 17 of the last 21), but have lost something on that end of the floor with the departures of Green and Kyle Anderson. Offensively, they should take a step forward with DeRozan, but spacing will be an issue and the DeRozan-LaMarcus Aldridge dynamic could be more of a my-turn-your-turn situation than a cohesive duo. With the amount of isolations that they'll run and midrange shots that they'll attempt, it's hard to see them ranking in the top 10 on that end of the floor. And, of course, the Western Conference is so strong from 1-10 that there's a chance of the Spurs' 21-year playoff run coming to an end.
Sekou Smith: The Spurs are in much the same space they were last season, when Leonard played in just nine games and knew they weren't a serious challenger to the Rockets or the Warriors in the Western Conference. I really like some of the young pieces, especially Murray and Lonnie Walker, and what they could become down the road. But the Spurs front office understands where they fit in the bigger picture right now and are taking a very pragmatic approach.
Scott Rafferty: They're still in the tier below the Rockets and Warriors, which probably isn't saying much considering there were only three games separating the No. 3 seed from the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference last season. I could see the Spurs fighting for homecourt advantage because they're running it back with a similar team as last season, plus DeRozan, who should feel right at home in Popovich's system, but there won't be much room for error. If the offense doesn't improve much and they take a big step back defensively in replacing Green, Leonard and Anderson with DeRozan, they could find themselves in an uphill battle again.