As the NBA season quickly approaches, Right Down Euclid will be previewing all 30 NBA teams, breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of each franchise. This preview will focusing on the San Antonio Spurs, who last year had a record of 58-24 and made the NBA Finals.
Team: San Antonio Spurs
Coach: Gregg Popovich
General Manager: R.C. Buford
2012-2013 Record: 58-24
Place in Conference: 2nd
Leading Scorer: Tony Parker (20.3 ppg)
Key Additions: G Marco Belinelli, F Jeff Ayres
Key Losses: F Dejuan Blair, G Gary Neal, G Tracy McGrady
The Spurs are coming off an NBA Finals appearance, and essentially a co-championship after an otherworldly seven-game showdown with the Heat. They brought back basically they same team, just switching out a couple of bench pieces for more different bench pieces, and re-signed their key guys (Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter). So basically, the same-old/same-old for the Spurs. They did lose their two top assistants to Atlanta and Philadelphia, but Pop, Duncan, and Parker are still here, the young guys will get better, and it’s San Antonio! They can’t possibly be worse, right?
Strengths: The Spurs are only one of the smartest teams in the league on both ends, and that will get them far by itself. The sheer volume of basketball IQ contained in the brains of Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and Popovich could put the entire FanSided network to shame, and they are versatile enough to scheme to match any team, as we saw them do against Golden State, Memphis, and Miami in consecutive series last year. Tony Parker is still a Top-10 NBA player that absolutely no one acknowledges during the regular season then is amazed by in the playoffs. They upgraded both bench additions, with the slightly less chaotic Marco Belinelli replacing Gary Neal, and replacing Dejuan Blair with an underrated two-way player in The Artist Formerly Known as Jeff Pendergraph. Kawhi Leonard might break out into a stud this year as well. The interior defense is destructive, with Duncan and Splitter, and somehow Boris Diaw. We cannot make this sound intimidating enough; Duncan may have had his best defensive season last year AT AGE 37. Miami might be better on offense, and Memphis is certainly better on defense, but on paper, the Spurs are your best two-way team in the league.
Weaknesses: This is where the what-ifs come in for me. The major weakness that we know San Antonio will have this season is offensive rebounding. They aren’t good at it, they haven’t been good at it, and there’s no reason to believe they will be. I’m probably grasping at straws here, but here are my issues: Manu looked awful last year. Can he get it back together? Can Danny Green keep up with his torrid pace of last year? How much does losing Pop’s two top assistants matter? Can Duncan stay healthy? Does Belinelli hurt them defensively? What happens now that the Spurs paid Splitter a ridiculous amount of money? And do they get swallowed up in a brutal West, with so many top teams running at a really quick pace?
2013-2014 Season Predictions
-Will win 50+ games for the millionth straight season
-Will finish somewhere between first and sixth in the West, and I can’t figure out where
-Tony Parker will be an MVP candidate, again, and no casual NBA fan will understand why, again
-There will be at least one game this season like Game 3 of the NBA Finals, where the Spurs literally kill, like, the Kings with fire (from three-point range).
-Will beat Philadelphia by 45 this season. Pop is going to murder Brent Brown because he is weird like that.
-Will not make the Finals because there’s just way too much talent at the top of the West.