Draft lottery celebrations continue after the San Antonio Spurs secured the number 1 pick in the 2023 NBA draft. Now it’s time to evaluate how Victor Wembanyama fits into the current roster.
It’s been a popular opinion throughout most sports media that Wembanyama will be an NBA Center. But Wembanyama has made it clear that he has no interest in playing at the center position. He’s more likely to end up playing as a power forward with the Spurs. With that comes a roster shakeup. With Wembanyama at power forward the first question that comes to mind is where to put Jeremy Sochan.
During his rookie season, Sochan was tested as a point guard and performed well as a distributor. There were mistakes as expected with someone learning the position, but he has proven to be capable. Let’s explore the Spurs’ point guard options and Tre Jones.
Tre Jones Deserves More Respect
At the time of this writing, the Spurs have yet to secure Tre Jones in free agency. One would assume after major growth this past season Brian Wright would want to bring Jones back. But there is stiff competition for the starting point guard position coming from Blake Wesley. It seems to be a common opinion that Jones is better suited as a backup. This harkens back to a time when Avery Johnson would get comments that the Spurs couldn’t win a championship with him as the point guard. Perhaps it’s time for sports media and critical fans alike to enjoy another slice of humble pie in that regard.
Blake Wesley and Malaki Branham Fighting For A Starting Role
As for Wesley, his growth was hindered by an early season knee injury, but with some time and perhaps a good Summer League showing he could be in a position to challenge Jones for his starting position. With the point guard being the biggest Spurs question mark this year we have to assume that fellow Spurs Sophomore Malaki Branham will also be in that mix. Branham was drafted as a shooting guard but, he also played point guard from time to time.
The Sochan Of It All
If we’re to take head coach Gregg Popovich at his word, Zach Collins will be the starting center next season. With Wembanyama likely setting in as a power forward, it leaves Sochan as a floater. But the exciting part of this is the potential for Sochan to start at point guard. Sochan was great as a fill-in point guard this past season, and for defensive purposes, it’s crucial that Sochan and Wenbanyama be on the floor together. Sochan as a rookie was able to shut down some of the NBA’s top talent. Golden State may have swept the Spurs in the season series, but in the two games where Sochan guarded Step Curry, he only scored 15-points in one game and 16-points in the other. That kind of defensive presence along with Wembanyama will be a dominant force in the NBA for years to come.
Bring In An Experienced Veteran?
If Popovich and Wright insist on Wembanyama playing center there is also the possibility of seeking outside help. Portland star Damian Lillard is not happy with his current situation. He has implied that he wants to play with Wembanyama. Lillard is a seven-time all-star and has playoff experience. He would also give the Spurs some desperately needed veteran guidance. With another season on his contract, the only way to get him this season is for the Spurs to make a trade. I won’t get into possible trades, I’ll leave that to Wright. But this could be a great move for Lillard.
D’Angelo Is A Nice Fit
Another playoff-tested free agent this offseason will be the Lakers’ free agent D’Angelo Russell. At 27 he’s more in the Spurs timeline. He’s a former all-star, and he is currently having big games in the playoffs.
Bronny James Is Coming Next Season
If Wright and the front office don’t want to make any big moves this season, and they don’t feel they have their long-term starting point guard on the current roster, another option is to just wait. Let Tre Jones or Jeremy Sochan take the reigns this season, and use some of the Spurs draft capital to be in a position to draft Bronny James in the 2024 NBA draft. James is shaping up to be a great point guard prospect and is expected to be one-and-done at USC. ESPN’s 2024 NBA mock drafts already have him as a top-ten prospect.
This option also has the advantage of potentially getting LeBron James at a discount as he wants to play his last season with his son. This would be huge in terms of Wembanyama getting some great veteran guidance and in terms of growth for the city. All season long people would make trips to San Antonio to see LeBron play one last time in person and more nationally televised games.
No matter how things shake out at point guard, Wembanyama’s rookie season will be historic. Not only will the Spurs be adding a generational talent, but the current players are also expected to make some big leaps as well. Stay with Project Spurs this offseason to stay up to date with Spurs news and analysis. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube Channel. Comment below who you’d start at point guard if it were up to you