During free agency and the NBA draft, the San Antonio Spurs made some interesting decisions to prepare for the 2021-22 NBA season. After missing two consecutive playoffs, there are a lot of opinions flying around about how the Spurs will play this year. Coach Gregg Popovich is still at the helm, but the team is facing a major rebuild, and the harshest critics aren’t optimistic about their ability to produce positive results. Let’s take a look at the forecast from some of the biggest USA betting operators, and you can check out Betting.us if you’re curious about sports betting in your state.
The offseason transactions weren’t much to write home about in terms of bringing headline talent to San Antonio, but if the Spurs play their cards right the moves that they didn’t make will be just as important as the ones they did. Trading a key veteran in DeMar Derozan and picking up the youngest player in the draft in Joshua Primo emphasizes the rebuilding position the Spurs are in.
Spurs Looking at the Future with a Trade
DeMar DeRozan departed from the Spurs to join the Chicago Bulls in a trade that included Thaddeus Young and Al-Farouq Aminu, as well as a protected first round draft pick and two second round draft picks to San Antonio. The primary reason the Spurs did the trade was to acquire the first round pick. Patty Mills and Rudy Gay have also left San Antonio, with Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker IV, and Jakob Poeltl headlining the returnees. The Spurs signed a few free agents including Doug McDermott, Bryn Forbes and Zach Collins.
There was nothing particularly showy in the transactions the Spurs made in the offseason and this year’s odds won’t be affected by the development of young talent, especially with more experienced and consistent players leaving the team. But San Antonio has saved a significant amount of salary cap room for the next offseason, possibly prepping for a season of player development with younger players and putting off the playoffs for one more year.
San Antonio also invested in Tribe Gaming over the summer, stepping into the world of esports and potentially diversifying future revenue streams. Founded in 2017, Tribe Gaming has worked with big names in entertainment like WWE wrestler Claudio ‘Cesaro’ Castagnoli and Charlotte Hornets player Gordon Hayward. The deal with the Spurs will potentially cover mobile esports and entertainment opportunities like cross-content collaborations, co-branded marketing efforts, talent and audience crossover, and shared strategic expertise.
It’s a little early to tell how the Spurs are going to fare while working with a team overhaul, but there are mixed opinions among operators about their odds. Their performance in preseason games has shown an intriguing change in strategy and San Antonio’s investment in young players is bringing a lot of energy to the court. Still, DraftKings has predicted a pretty abysmal win total of just 28.5 games for the Spurs. If you think that’s low, you’re not alone. Writer Kyle Forson at Fansided expressed his disbelief at the estimate in August, calling the prediction “downright disrespectful”. Meanwhile, FanDuel places the odds for a San Antonio Spurs NBA Championship win at +16000, compared to the +35000 over at DraftKings.
While the Spurs may be facing unlikely odds as a team, some of their new players may pick up some interesting titles depending on their performance this season. According to DraftKings, Josh Primo has a +6500 for Rookie of the Year while Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, and Dejounte Murray are numbered at +3000, +2500, and +4500 respectively for Most Improved Player.
Fantasy basketball players might want to keep an eye on Keldon Johnson in particular. The opportunity to join the Olympic basketball team this summer was a unique experience and if his performance on the court against Spain is any indicator of his potential this season, he could be a real asset.
Compared to other teams that are also rebuilding, like the Houston Rockets, the Spurs are projected to do a little better. But the playoffs will most likely still be out of reach. DraftKings puts the odds for the possibility of playoff action for the San Antonio Spurs at -3000 no and +1000 yes.
The Spurs had to cut two players from the roster before the season began on October 18th, and Al-Farouq Aminu and Luka Samanic were the two players cut. Thaddeus Young made the cut but hasn’t yet seen much action. Whether because of the youthful rebuilding of the team, the excess of centers with Jakob Poeltl as a sure-fire starter, or because he’s being eyed for another trade, Young seems likely to finish the season on another team.