Believe it or not, the NBA's regular season is two weeks away. To get you ready, Crossover Chronicles will be profiling a team each day for the next few weeks. This week is the Southwest Division. Today is the San Antonio Spurs.
2011-12 Record: 50-16, lost Western Conference Finals
Key Losses: James Anderson (signed with Atlanta), Derrick Byars (free agent), Ike Diogu (signed with Phoenix)
Key Acquisitions: Nando de Colo (signed from Europe), Josh Powell (signed from Atlanta)
|Tony Parker||Danny Green||Kawhi Leonard||Tim Duncan||DeJuan Blair|
|Gary Neal||Manu Ginobili||Stephen Jackson||Boris Diaw||Tiago Splitter|
|Patrick Mills||Nando de Colo||Derrick Brown||Josh Powell||Matt Bonner|
The Spurs are the same old Spurs. Less emphasis on the old, perhaps. But this is still very much the same team that has won the Western Conference's regular season title the last two years.
Tim Duncan is solid as always. Tony Parker put in a career year averaging 18.3 points per game and 7.7 assists per game as Gregg Popovich turned the offense over to him and instructed him to run the team like he runs the French national team. And Manu Ginobili is still Manu Ginobili.
San Antonio has been a bedrock of the NBA for the better part of 15 years and there seems no sense in changing that. The Spurs will still hold true to all their old tenets — strong defense, a fast-paced offense that uses the pick and roll and takes advantage of mismatches. There is really no reason to go away from that.
This is what the Spurs did this summer. Virtually nothing.
San Antonio has players that know and fulfill their roles. Stephen Jackson probably would not work as well as he does on any other team. Popovich always knows how to get the most from his team while keeping them well paced for the Playoffs.
There is not a whole lot to say about the Spurs. You know exactly what you are going to get and cannot stop it.
While the Lakers reloaded and the Thunder danced their way to the NBA Finals, the Spurs stood pat. They got another year older. The biggest acquisition was foreign import Nando de Colo. And nobody is sure how he will fit into the NBA — although Parker and Ginobili did just fine.
San Antonio has known Duncan has been slowing down for a while now and has prepared for it by shifting the focus of the offense and seamlessly changing the team's philosophy. At some point though, the window is going to close and the team is going to start acting its age.
There just is not much for this team's future. Everyone is playing for now. Duncan is 36, Parker is 30 and Ginobili is 35. Putting the focus on Parker and his playmaking ability, but how much longer could he carry the load? And who will be there to help him out?
That may not matter much in the regular season. The Spurs will still be one of the best teams in the Western Conference. It is in the Playoffs that San Antonio is still figuring out how to make that part of the equation work. It has not the last two years in the Playoffs.
San Antonio has no answers at center. Yes, Tim Duncan may technically be a center (not on the All-Star Ballot!), but DeJuan Blair takes the position there for the most part. Tiago Splitter is still developing but does not have a whole lot of offense and is still learning the NBA game to some extent.
The Spurs though sent out plenty of trade feelers concerning Blair and failed to move the sometimes disgruntled forward this offseason. San Antonio does not deal well with dissent in its locker room and there are leaders to keep things quiet — that is what Duncan is really good at defusing.
But San Antonio is not going anywhere in the postseason if there is not a good post game and someone who can measure up to Dwight Howard or Serge Ibaka or, when things get really tight the stretch-4s and small forwards playing power forward like Kevin Durant.
What it all comes down to is San Antonio was clearly missing something last year as the team failed to win a championship and the team did not do anything to address it in the offseason.
Have thoughts or predictions on the Spurs? Leave them in the comments below or drop us a line @CrossoverNBA on Twitter or join the discussion by using the hashtag #SpursDay. We will be back with a closer look at the Spurs throughout the day.