How the San Antonio Spurs Will Adjust Without Trey Lyles

The San Antonio Spurs will have a shortage of big men when the regular season starts back up at the end of the month. LaMarcus Aldridge is out due to shoulder surgery and even assistant coach Tim Duncan won’t be in Orlando. The latest big to leave the bubble is Trey Lyles, who underwent an emergency appendectomy yesterday.

Without Aldridge, Lyles was expected to step into a bigger role. In his last six games, he averaged 15.3 points and 6.7 rebounds on 47.8% shooting from the field and 47.1% shooting from beyond the three-point arc. Lyles, San Antonio’s starting power forward for virtually the entire season, appeared to be capable of shouldering some of the production the Spurs would be missing with Aldridge back in Texas. Now, the Silver and Black will have to look elsewhere.

Who Will Replace Trey Lyles in the Starting Lineup for the Spurs?

With the team’s two starting big men, the Spurs will likely go with the starting lineup of Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay and Jakob Poeltl. Head coach Gregg Popovich could also go with some micro ball lineups that feature DeRozan at power forward and Lonnie Walker IV at small forward.

Beyond the starting lineup, the Spurs will likely now be forced to give playing time to youngsters like Chimezie Metu, Drew Eubanks and maybe even Luka Samanic. Considering that Popovich has indicated that he will use these Orlando games for development purposes, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see each of those three players get extended looks in the season’s final eight games.

Will Trey Lyles Be Back Next Season?

The Spurs have a $5.5 million team option on Lyles for the 2020-21 season. While the 24-year-old didn’t have a complete breakout campaign this year, he did well enough that he’s a bargain at that price.

The only way the Spurs don’t bring Lyles back is if their hand is forced due to a shrinking salary cap brought on by the COVID-19 disruption. Otherwise, you can bet on him being back in San Antonio.