Team Tank, We Did It! Spurs have the worst record in the West!
San Antonio Spurs' Alize Johnson, left, grabs the rebound ahead of Phoenix Suns' Deandre Ayton (22) and Spurs forward Isaiah Roby during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in San Antonio. Phoenix won 133-95. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

The San Antonio Spurs now have the worst record in the Western Conference, after getting blown out Sunday by the Phoenix Suns 133-95 at the AT&T Center. Spurs have lost 11 straight and 16 of 17 games.

With nine minutes left in the second quarter, the Spurs were shooting a red hot 61% for the game and *still trailed by double digits. It’s been that kind of year. This season is circling the drain quickly and it’s not even Christmas.

The bright spot: If the season ended right now, the Spurs would be tied with the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons for having the best odds at winning the lottery.

The NBA recently reduced the lottery odds for the worst teams (and added the Play-In Tournament) to discourage teams from tanking. Still, the three teams with the worst records have the best chance at selecting phenom Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson at number one and two in the 2023 NBA Draft.

The 3 worst teams have a 14% chance of winning the lottery and a 52% chance of a top-4 pick. There’s a small chance the team with the worst record can slip to number 5 in the draft, the team with second worst record can fall to number 6, and the team with the third worst record could land at number 7. The Spurs are in a DEEP rebuild that might take years before we are competitive again.

The Black & Silver Lining: The Spurs have the possibility of owning two first round picks in 2023 or 2024 (Dejounte trade), already have three first rounders in their back pocket for 2025 (Dejounte trade, DeRozan trade), a potential Swap with the Hawks in 2026, two first rounders in 2027 (Dejounte trade), and a potential swap with the Celtics in 2028 (Derrick White trade).

That’s 10 first round draft picks and 2 swaps in the next 6 years! The Spurs can trade more players for additional draft capital. I’m sure they can receive a first rounder for Jakob Poeltl. Josh Richardson, like Poeltl, is on an attractive expiring deal. Doug McDermott might also attract interest at trade deadline, which is February 9th.

The Spurs have a 6-18 record. At this point, we should all be part of Team Tank. It’s obvious the front office and coaching staff have no desire to win games this season. Call me crazy, but I don’t believe half the “injuries” listed on the team’s pre-game injury report. We need to keep certain players healthy in case a trade partner comes calling.

It’s difficult seeing what losing is doing to our players, specifically Keldon Johnson – who has struggled with his shot the past four weeks. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, and I fear he has regressed.

Sucks, I know. At the end of the day, maybe only three or four players on the current roster will be on the team two seasons from now. We need to look forward to the future.

The 2023 draft class is STACKED, beyond Wemby and Scoot. There’s a Black & Silver Lining with all our future first round draft picks. But make no mistake, this rebuild can be cut shorter if the ping pong balls go our way next year.

What do you think of the Spurs having the worst record in the Western Conference? Reach out to Michael on Twitter @MikeESPNSA. You can listen to him on “Halftime with Mike Jimenez,” weekdays from Noon to 2 p.m.

More about: