Spur’s Season & Roster Forecast
Colby Smithwick: @Cas_NBA
Bluntly, the San Antonio Spurs are a championship-caliber team. Why? Well, there are… too many reasons. Gregg Popovich is a brilliant coach, their scouting system and draft prospects have proven to rarely disappoint, their lineup is stacked, but… you guys probably know this. If you don’t, though, don’t worry- here’s a little rundown of this team.
PG- Tony Parker: Finished his 66-game season last year with a 23.00 PER, which was good enough to be 8th out of the ENTIRE league. Who’s ahead of him? Harden, Kobe, Westbrook, Wade, Tim Duncan, Brook Lopez, Melo, CP3, KD and LeBron. Uhh… and Parker actually increased his PER from 16.4 in 09-10 to 23.00, so… the 31 year old (32 on October 30th) is no joke when it comes to running the point. He and Pop are becoming the next Nash and D’Antoni, or Pop and Duncan, in which they just… get the system that wins. Parker is becoming an on-court projection of Popovich’s scheme, and they’re mowing down teams that are in their way. He’s a 3 time champion, former Finals MVP, and a 5 time all-star. He knows he still has gas in the tank, and he has no intentions of slowing down unless his past injuries make him.
SG- Danny Green: Pretty much a few missed free throws away from a Finals MVP from last season…. (that was the hype at least…) but I don’t think he’ll be able to play like that consistently through this season. What he will do, though, is be the Spurs go-to 3 point guy, so as long as he’s starting you know they’re going to be spreading the floor for TP. He’s young, a decent defender and can make the quick cuts to get open.
SF- Kawhi Leonard : If you’re a Spurs fan, do you need an explanation? He’s proven to be the youthful X factor in Pop and the big 3’s scheme. They are getting up there ya know, but when Leonard’s filling the stat sheets (I’d be willing to bet he averages almost a double-double again in points and boards this year) the game comes much easier for Duncan, Parker and Manu. He’s also efficient, and he’s got an insanely high basketball IQ. I think Pop will give him a bigger role this season, and we’ll see him produce like he did in the playoffs on a regular basis.
C- Tiago Splitter: He’s a young, hard-nosed defender who just got signed an extension with the organization this past offseason. His career field goal percentage is .572, and it’s increased every year he’s been in the league. Not only has his percentage increased, but he’s doubled his numbers across every category every season so far. So… he brings more youth and all-around play to this Spurs team, and he’ll be here for a while with that contract. Him, Duncan and Kawhi make a mean front court.
SPEAKING OF TIM DUNCAN- F/C/LEGEND- Tim Duncan: I shouldn’t have to explain to you how he benefits this team and if you don’t know then you should google Tim Duncan real quick and get informed. Health is crucial, though, so as long as the Timmy’s not missing games he’s gonna compete as he always has. Hopefully he worked on his free-throws.
Patty Mills: He’s known as an energetic, knock-down 3 kinda guy. At 6’0 even, he’s quick and very Jameer Nelson-ish in his game, he shoots a high percentage (.470 in the regular season and .500 in the playoffs) and he’s just fun to watch when he’s on a streak.
Aron Baynes: New guy, but he fits right in. I’ve been sold on the 26 year old Center from New Zealand since the London Olympics. He played really impressive basketball (5th leading scorer even though he only average 12 minutes a game) and shot at an insanely-high .650 field goal percentage. He’s a great pick up for the Spurs, and fits in perfectly as a role player.
Boris Diaw: He brings that point-forward thing to the table, and he does it pretty well. Diaw can play at the 4 and 3, pass like a 1, and play defense on 2-5’s. He’s got a unique skill-set (he started as the Hawk’s point guard a few times during their dark ages) and Pop likes him. He’ll get on a solid streak in a game every now and then, and Pop roles with him. He can really be effective, but he’s getting older so we may not see Diaw as much this season. He definitely doesn’t bring many negatives to this bench though.
Marco B3lin3lli: In case you don’t know why I did that to his name, Belinelli can shoot 3’s. The Spurs picked him up in Free Agency this past offseason, and here’s what he brings to the table. He can shoot, pass, handle the ball, and has been well-coached throughout his career (Byron Scott, Thibodeau) which is always a plus. The combo of him, Mills and Cory Joseph is a great recovery after losing Gary Neal in FA.
Cory Joseph: Solid defender (Curry in the playoffs) and a young guy who’ had a promising preseason. Basically, if this is our 3rd string PG this season…. Well, that should tell you a lot about this bench.
MATT BONN3R: YOU KNOW BONN3R. R3D ROCK3T’S GOT 3’S FOR DAYS
Manu: I worry about Manu because the way he looked in the preseason, and this should be taken with a grain of salt, is exactly how he looked last season except even slower. His age is sadly catching up to his body, but he’s still Manu. He can still go Game 5 of the Finals on ya. He just won’t be doing it on a nightly basis like in previous years, and like Duncan… health is crucial for him. If he stays healthy then I think Pop will figure out a way to get him back in efficient form. But what if he does underwhelm? He’s still a brilliant basketball mind, and he would be a great mentor to the younger guys on the team. That’s a big IF though… because, come on, how can you NOT want Manu to be Manu again?
So, that’s this roster in a nutshell. This team has the perfect mix of seasoned veterans and youth in a brilliant system with one of the greatest coaches of all times. This team also has 3 Hall-of-Famers who still play at a championship level. The west is going to be extremely tight this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t win the conference. I think we’ll without-a-doubt finish in the top 4, though, and if everyone’s healthy it’ll be great season for the fans and players.
*Keep in mind, 7-10 spots are toss ups. They could go either way…. But 2 of those teams will make the playoffs.
Yup. That’s about it for this preview. I’m excited (and nervous) to see how everything pans out, but I got faith in the Spurs. They’re hungry after the finals, and they’re here to show it.