When the NBA season resumes, the San Antonio Spurs must play to their strengths

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 17: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs and Dejounte Murray #5 push the ball down court against the Atlanta Hawks during second half action at AT&T Center on January 17, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. Atlanta Hawks defeated the San Antonio Spurs 121-120. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that ,by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 17: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs and Dejounte Murray #5 push the ball down court against the Atlanta Hawks during second half action at AT&T Center on January 17, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. Atlanta Hawks defeated the San Antonio Spurs 121-120. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that ,by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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In order to have success and make a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance, the San Antonio Spurs must cater to the strengths of their roster.

The NBA is making preparations to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando and has given players a deadline of June 24 to choose whether they will participate, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.  As of now, we are not aware of any San Antonio Spurs player or staff member who has declined to participate.

One player we know will not be participating is LaMarcus Aldridge, who had shoulder surgery on April 24. Despite it being a big blow to the team, it’s reassuring to know that the Spurs know how to keep things in-house and protect that information from a leak.

So, as we wait for the final roster to be announced, what is known is that there will be an abundance of guards and a lack of experienced bigs.

Many experts do not believe the Spurs have a chance at making the playoffs for a record 23rd straight season.  Although making the playoffs is a long shot, the old saying about effective management applies: A good manager knows his personnel, in this case, his players, and places them in the best position to succeed.

San Antonio’s roster isn’t perfect and many fans are eager for necessary changes in the offseason to address those flaws. The roster does have some good NBA-level players and depth that few teams can replicate. The Spurs also have a head coach who has shown he can adjust playing-style to best suit the players’ strengths.

In the early years, it was easy. They had a team with two all-time great big men (Duncan and Robinson) who simply required entry passes into the post and a slow tempo offense.  By the mid-2000s, new players were rotated around the core four of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Bruce Bowen. It was a balanced inside/outside style of play. The 2014 Finals team has been widely recognized for its beautiful game with constant ball-movement.

The Spurs’ brass is sure to make minor changes to the rotation due to Aldridge’s absence.  As someone with very limited coaching experience, I will leave the expert decision-making to the pros.  However, my humble suggestions are to pick up the tempo and install a hockey-like rotation.

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I’m not advocating for the Mike D’Antoni-coached “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns. Rather, I’m thinking of something closer to the 2007 “We Believe” Golden State Warriors that shocked the Dallas Mavericks as an eight seed.  The Spurs roster consists of players who are athletic and can run, make quick decisions and move the ball. The roster does not have an elite closing unit as some of the title contenders do, yet it has the depth of at least ten quality NBA players who can be easily interchanged between first and second units that other teams do not.

With a deep squad, the Spurs can tire their opponent throughout the game and close the fourth quarter with whoever has the hot hand that evening. Between their reliable starters like DeMar DeRozan, their trustworthy backups like Patty Mills and their rising talent like Lonnie Walker IV, the Spurs have a strong, core rotation of players. They’ll also have the freedom to sprinkle in some of their youth like Chimezie Metu for relief minutes.

If the Spurs have any chance at clinching the eighth seed, the players need to be put in the best position to succeed.  Let the games begin…

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We live in a changing world, and change can be scary for some, but change can also be good. Based on the events happening Stateside, change is necessary! While this site is dedicated exclusively to San Antonio Spurs basketball, let’s not forget COVID-19, rising unemployment and the need for social justice. These all intertwine with the NBA, its personnel and fans.

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