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'We don't have superstars' | Popovich says team lacks superstar players, and that is exciting

A new era of Spurs basketball is here.

SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs have not had a superstar player since Kawhi Leonard wore the silver and black jersey.

Sorry to open old wounds, Spurs fans.

However, that has been the team's reality. There has not been a franchise player for some time.

Entering the 2021-22 regular season, that will remain the same for a young Spurs team filled with good players, but lacking in NBA star power.

"It's not a negative to say, but we don't have superstars," Gregg Popovich said. "This is not a superstar-filled team."

What the roster lacks in star power, it makes up in players who are young, hungry and ready to put their stamp on the NBA.

With the departure of veteran leaders Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Patty Mills, this opens up a a chance for the young players to get in significant time on the court and possibly emerge as an NBA star.

How is this for an eye-opener?

The new, longest-tenured Spur is Dejounte Murray at 25-years-old with five seasons on the team. He will likely be the player the team turns to on the court to lead.

"The leadership is always there no matter who is on the roster," Murray said. "My mentality is always the same: Be a leader by example with my work."

RELATED: Spurs' Poeltl ready to take on a leadership role, do more on the offensive end

Keldon Johnson may be making huge strides since joining the NBA, but the jury is still out if he will emerge to be the megastar the team needs.

"We're really young," Johnson said. "But I feel we're ready to go out and compete. I feel we all are on the same page and we got each other's back."

They'll need to have that wolf pack mentality once the season begins.

Not many peg the Spurs to make the playoffs, nor the Play-In game. Perhaps that can fuel the team to excel and shock the world.

"It's a team filled with great character, a lot of will, and that's what makes it fun," Popovich said.

The team does have some NBA veterans. 

There is Doug McDermott (29-years-old, seven NBA seasons), Thaddeus Young (33-years-old, 14 NBA seasons), and Al-Farouq Aminu (31-years-old, 11 NBA seasons), but it is an open question if Young or Aminu will finish the season in San Antonio. 

Ultimately, this is a very young team, and the lack of superstar players isn't stopping this roster from proving naysayers wrong.

"We all have the same goal at the end-all-be-all which is to win," Lonnie Walker IV said. "My mindset is to prove everyone wrong. When we're losing big pieces such as DeMar (DeRozan) who is an All-Star talent, Rudy (Gay) who is an All-Star talent, Patty (Mills) who's been here, going into this season, we're a young group. I do not think not too many people understand how much of a great group we are. Let our actions do the talking."

The Spurs have been linked to NBA All-Star Ben Simmons throughout the offseason. 

RELATED: REPORT: Spurs among teams with interest in Ben Simmons

The disgruntled Sixers point guard is seeking a new home, and many believe San Antonio would be a fitting landing spot.

A move for Simmons would address the team's need for star power. But, will the Spurs be willing to pay a high price for him?

With or without star players, the season-opener is fast approaching against the Magic on Oct. 20. 

And Popovich, and the players, are excited about this new Spurs era. 

"It's exciting. I have no idea who I am going to give it (basketball) to or what play we're going to run," Popovich said. "That's something we're going to figure out as we move along here. And to me, that is exciting as hell."

Twitter: @JeffGSpursKENS5

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