Jan 28, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs players (from left to right)Kawhi Leonard
, andTim Duncan
, andTony Parker
watch on the bench during the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs were the winners of the free-agency. They landed big fish LaMarcus Aldridge. It didn’t stop there as they landed David West, Ray McCallum, and Jimmer Fredette. The Spurs did lose Tiago Splitter, Marco Belinelli, Aron Baynes, and Cory Joseph.
It’s easy to forget about these terrific role players when you land a four-time all-star (Aldridge) and a former all-star in West. Aldridge is coming off back-to-back seasons of at least 23 points and 10 rebounds, the only player to average that in two straight seasons. West isn’t the same player he was in 2008-09 his all-star years, but he is still solid. West averaged 11.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists last year.
What is the key for the Spurs to win the title?
There are many keys, but it all starts with gaining home-court in the postseason. The Spurs should be in the mix for the top 2-3 slots in the West alongside Oklahoma City, Golden State, and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Spurs must get a top two seed, preferably one, as the Western Conference is loaded. Imagine if they were to get the 3 or 4 seed and they have to play someone like Memphis or Houston in the first round that would be difficult. Spurs would be favorites especially with home-court but it would be quite the test.
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Tony Parker can’t play the way he did last season, particularly in the postseason. In the playoffs Parker averaged 10.9 points and 3.6 assists, easily the worst statistical output of his postseason career. In the West, Parker can potentially go up against Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Mike Conley, and Ty Lawson in the playoffs. If he doesn’t bring it this season the Spurs will be in trouble.
Bench play will be crucial for the Spurs. David West will be asked to provide a spark off the bench. He hasn’t came off the bench in a game since 2005. Patty Mills will have to step up like he did in the postseason with Joseph gone. Boris Diaw will do what he usually does as a playmaker and a versatile defender. Manu Ginobili will be asked to step his production up in the playoffs. Ray McCallum and Kyle Anderson are two players to keep an eye on. McCallum was acquired for a future second-round pick from Sacramento. The 24-year old is a terrific replacement for Joseph as they have a similar body type and a similar skill set. Anderson is coming off winning the summer league MVP award. He will be in his second season and looks ready to contribute. Anderson is a terrific ball-handler and playmaker, if his jumper continues to improve he will be a good player.
As for Kawhi Leonard and Aldridge, they will be the go-to-guys and should be all-stars. Tim Duncan will be terrific as usual despite being like 80-years old, okay he’s only 39. Danny Green will build off a career year as he is a terrific “3 and d” guy.
If the Spurs do these things they will be crowned champs in June.