Apr 30, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs were terrific last season as they finished with a 55-27 record. Unfortunately a loss in their last game of the season against a New Orleans Pelicans team that needed to win dropped them in the standings. Instead of winning the Pacific Division and finishing with the second seed in the Western Conference, the Spurs dropped to sixth place.
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The Spurs had to face the Los Angeles Clippers without home-court instead of facing the Dallas Mavericks with home-court. The Spurs fell to the Clippers in seven games in what was a terrific series. With Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker getting older, why will the Spurs be better this season?
The Spurs lost Tiago Splitter, Marco Belinelli, Cory Joseph, and Aron Baynes in the offseason. The four players were significant pieces off the Spurs bench. Guess who they replaced them with? LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, and Ray McCallum.
Aldridge is the only player in the NBA to average at least 23 points and 10 rebounds in consecutive seasons. He has made four straight All-Star games. West is a reliable NBA veteran that has made two All-Star games (2008-09). Last season West averaged 11.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists.
The Spurs made a terrific under-the-radar move by trading a future second-round pick for Ray McCallum. The 24-year old averaged 11.2 points and 4.3 assists in 30 starts with the Sacramento Kings. McCallum should be a terrific replacement for Cory Joseph, whom signed with a surprising four-year, $30 million contract with Toronto.
Jul 20, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Kyle Anderson (1) shoots against the defense of Phoenix Suns guardArchie Goodwin
(20) during the NBA Summer League Final at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Anderson dominated in the summer league, as he won the Summer League MVP and led the Spurs to a championship win against Phoenix. In seven Las Vegas Summer League contests the 21-year old point-forward averaged 21 points and 6 rebounds.
As a rookie he averaged 2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.8 minutes.
Anderson has mismatch written all over him as he is 6″9 and has the playmaking and handle of some lead guards. His game is reminiscent of his Spurs teammate Boris Diaw, when he was in his prime with the Phoenix Suns.
If he continues to improve his shooting and his quickness, he will be a major problem for the opposition. Anderson should have a much bigger role than he did as a rookie with the Spurs this season.
The Spurs should be healthy for the first time in quite some time. Last season Kawhi Leonard (hand), Tony Parker (hamstring), Tiago Splitter (calf), and Patty Mills (shoulder) missed time with injuries. Marco Belinelli (groin) and Tiago Splitter (calf) also missed time but they are no longer with the Spurs.
Parker had arguably his worst season since his rookie year. The 33-year old guard averaged 14.4 points and 4.9 assists. In the postseason, Parker was worse as he averaged 10.9 points on an abysmal 36% from the field.
With the Spurs being healthy and getting a superstar in Aldridge, they will be one of the favorites to win the 2016 NBA Championship.