The San Antonio Spurs are going to look a lot different during the 2022-23 NBA season than they have in the last few seasons. All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray is no longer with the franchise as he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for three first-round draft picks.
Without Murray in the fold, the Spurs’ game plan is going to change drastically. He had the ball in his hands a lot and they are going to have to find other players that are capable of creating not only for themselves but their teammates as well.
One of the players who will see his role expand this upcoming season is Keldon Johnson. He has made strides every season of his career and San Antonio will need to see another one this season.
It is tough for any player to succeed without a good table setter. The Spurs had Murray, DeMar DeRozan and Derrick White handling those duties the last few seasons but all of them are now gone. How Johnson adapts to that is one thing an NBA scout will be keeping an eye on.
“I’m curious to see how he handles more responsibility in the Spurs’ offense and adapts to having a downgrade in point guard play. He was cashing out a ton on catch-and-shoot, but I’d imagine the ball will be in his hands more now. How he reacts this season could be a big indicator of what his ceiling is.
“When you look at who the Spurs were relying on for a lot of their ball screens and DHOs early last season, they’re gone now. It’s Keldon’s time to show what he’s got.”
The experience that Johnson gained while playing for Team USA is something that will certainly benefit him now. He played alongside the best of the best and likely learned a lot despite not being a consistent part of the rotation. If anything, the most important part of the Olympic process, especially for a young player such as Johnson, is the practice sessions.
The Spurs have shown that they excel at developing young talent and Johnson has a chance to be next in that pipeline. The skills are there, he just needs to hone them.
“Keldon does have plenty of room for growth in his game. He still needs to get better as a finisher and as a shot creator. … I can see him making real strides this season. There’s been flashes, but I’d like to see him with more reps then see where he’s at.”
Johnson will be 23 when the regular season gets underway. He has plenty of time to continue developing as he is just scratching the surface of his potential. The Spurs are certainly hopeful that the flashes he has shown turn into consistent performances night in and night out.
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