ESPN, Vegas, both have put out that the Spurs will not be winning more than 43 games, and will not make the playoffs. Spurs fans, I preface everything that I’m about to say with I am one of the most objective sports fans you will ever meet, with that being said, do not buy into any of that. The San Antonio Spurs will be battling between a 3-6 seed and will win between 49 and 51 games at this seasons end. Now you might ask yourself why should I listen to this crazy guy? I have no problem in explaining the entirety of the situation.
47-35. 7th seed. To many, that record is something many basketball fans in Sacramento, Memphis, both teams New York, among others, would take as a sign of improvement and something to build on. In San Antonio, that is mediocre. When you break down the team, there are many players who most would consider only “Spurs” players. What I mean by that is, players who only fit the Spurs system, and will only excel in the Spurs system.
Outside of that, the team last year was very inexperienced, much older, and not very deep. Outside of Kawhi Leonard (who played 9 games), The offense flowed through LaMarcus Aldridge, and that is about it. We had no offense outside of him, the team struggled offensively. You had a bunch of lapses on the court, a lot of missed opportunities, but that is going to come with the territory of building a new, young, team. With the big three all gone now, (bigger loss in the locker room than on the court) in last year‘s case, on their last legs, Coach Pop realized it is now time to bring in new blood, new life, and build towards the future.
This year will be entirely different. Last year the Spurs had a very average group at best, with a huge hole on the offensive side of the court. With all the drama surrounding Kawhi Leonard, the lack of youth, athleticism, inexperience, the team never could find a good rhythm both ends of the floor. That, and the combination of not a very talented group, really put them in a bind all season.
This year, they add a healthy Rudy Gay, comeback in Marco Belinelli, the constant improvement in Dejounte Murray, the new blood in Derrick White, Lonnie Walker and did I forget to mention the addition of DeMar DeRozan? A perennial All-Star, and one of the best scorers in this league? Although the losses of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Kyle Anderson will hurt defensively, offensively this gives fans an entire case of new juice. Kawhi Leonard who appeared in nine games, throughout his tenure with the Spurs, the complaint from Spurs fans was consistent.
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The sometimes flatlined flow of the offense and below average passing ability really hurt the Spurs when the going got tough throughout the year. Now, with that being said OF COURSE offensively he is great, he is a phenomenal jump shooter, can get to his sweet spot in the mid-range very well, the complaint is, the offense never flowed correctly. It was always off, as a pretty average at his very, very best passer, whether we’d win a ton of games or not, you could tell late in games, the struggle would become a ton to overcome.
Not only that, when it rained, it poured, not rained as in calling “WET!” when you shoot, I mean due to his ball dominant playstyle, it was brick city all game long. Also, defensively, nobody can match Kawhi. I mean, no member on the roster is a 2x DPOY. Kawhi is the best on-ball defender in the game, might be one of the greatest of all time. The Spurs as a defensive unit though, play some of the best team defense in the entire NBA. If and when there’s an issue with how any player is playing defensively, coach Pop will certainly find a way to bring a better attention to detail throughout the entire scheme.
With all the trouble that the Spurs had last year, this year, this team has so much more talent and is way more youthful and athletic then it has ever been. We have reason to believe this team can take a huge step due to not only a new year of experience for this team but the constant progression of the players. LaMarcus Aldridge and Dejounte Murray had strong years last year, and can very well build on it. Rudy Gay when healthy really showed flashes of brilliance in the system.
Marco is a phenomenal asset to have, seeing how well he worked back in our Finals run. DeMar & Jakob, DeMar is a top 20 player in this league easily, and Jakob consistently got better and better last year, now he gets to learn from a HOF foreign big like him, in Pau Gasol. Derrick White, who killed it in Summer League & last year in the G-League, is looking to make his young mark in this league. Last but not least, Lonnie Walker. Coming into this year, he was set to get a ton of playing time, with the addition of DeMar, I figure it isn’t as much and maybe he’ll get time in the G-League, but man, he is one baaaaaaaaad man. He CAN be a star one day, I’m calling it now, Freezing Cold Takes. Write it down.
In closing, In this day and age in the NBA, you cannot win the way the Spurs did back in the early 2000‘s. The organization has realized that, through that, we see the attention to younger players, drafting players who fit better in this day and age of the league as well as the faster development of players. People tend to forget the Spurs were two games out of the third seed last year. This year, an improved team will be sure to strike every chance it gets.
Team MVP: DeMar DeRozan
M.I.P: Jakob Poeltl
Season End: Western Conference Semi-Finals
Roster Prediction: Pau Gasol AND/OR Patty Mills will be traded this season
Projected Team Lineup:
C- (starting) Pau Gasol, Jakob Poeltl, Chimezie Metu
PF- (starting) LaMarcus Aldridge, Davis Bertans
SF- (starting) Rudy Gay, Dante Cunningham, Quincy Pondexter
SG- (starting) DeMar DeRozan, Marco Belinelli, Lonnie Walker, Bryn Forbes
PG- (starting)Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, Derrick White