The difference in experience on the San Antonio Spurs roster splits it in half.
The San Antonio Spurs roster once had a stable group of players to lead the team into the playoffs, when Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were all together for 14 years. That moved in another direction with Duncan’s 2016 retirement, but the Spurs still found their way into the 2017 Western Conference Finals.
One year later, without Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Kyle Anderson, the Spurs developed a fluctuating roster that no longer includes most of its stalwarts. If Manu Ginobili retires, it becomes the tip of the iceberg.
With the changes, the Spurs roster developed a lopsided feel; not with tenure in the organization, but overall NBA experience. Veterans overtake one half of the roster and players without a significant NBA run have the other half:
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- Pau Gasol: 17 years
- Manu Ginobili: 16 years
- LaMarcus Aldridge: 12 years
- Rudy Gay: 12 years
- Marco Belinelli: 11 years
- Dante Cunningham: 9 years
- Patty Mills: 9 years
- DeMar DeRozan: 9 years
- Davis Bertans: 2 years
- Bryn Forbes: 2 years
- Jakob Poeltl: 2 years
- Dejounte Murray: 2 years
- Derrick White: 1 year
- Lonnie Walker: Rookie
There’s a significant drop-off after Cunningham, DeRozan and Mills at nine years, with the potential future of the Spurs in the hands of those with two years or less, all of whom have contracts at least through the 2019-20 season.
It’s an interesting signal about the team’s future, as a developmental stage may already be here, but with veterans that also help the “win now” mentality. Dan Favale of Bleacher Report thinks this roster has an ongoing playoff window, but the potential downfall will happen at some point, barring no big name joins them within the next few years.
This situation bases itself on unknowns, mostly with the development of the youth and the eventual decline of the veterans. The former helps the Spurs transition and provides a positive look, one that works with players having age catch up to them. If no one takes a step forward and players decline, then it’s a different story.