Ranking the NBA Southwest Division: Where do the Mavericks land?

Memphis Grizzlies v Dallas Mavericks
Memphis Grizzlies v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs, Victor Wembanyama
2023 NBA Summer League - Charlotte Hornets v San Antonio Spurs / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

5. San Antonio Spurs

A top-3 finish for the Spurs would surely be surprising. Finishing as the worst, or second-worst team in the Southwest Division is more likely. In this exercise, San Antonio is projected to finish fifth.

San Antonio's rebuild is in full swing. Although the Spurs did just draft the phenomenal Victor Wembanyama with the first overall pick, the roster is still improving. All five probable starters will be 24 or younger when the season kicks off.

Besides Wembanyama, the Spurs have a nice collection of young wings. Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell should average eighteen-plus points per game, while Jeremy Sochan will provide staunch defense and offensive versatility.

Where San Antonio lacks talent is in the backcourt. Tre Jones will start at point guard, but he looks like a top-notch reserve rather than a starter. Veterans Cameron Payne and Devonte Graham round out the rest of the primary ball handlers.

Behind Vassell, either Malaki Branham or Blake Wesley will provide minutes at the two-guard spot. Both of the reserve guards are entering their second season in the NBA, thus the guards are largely unproven contributors.

For San Antonio to compete sooner rather than later, organic improvements across the board must come quickly. Ultimately, the Spurs roster will have growing pains as each player finds their footing playing alongside soon-to-be alpha, Wembanyama.