Sunday, September 30, 2007

San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs season preview

Projected starting line-up
G Tony Parker
G Michael Finley
F Bruce Bowen
F Tim Duncan
C Fabricio Oberto

Manu Ginobli
Robert Horry
Jacque Vaughn
Francisco Elson

Last year:
The model for the perfect franchise for the past decade. And let's be honest, one of the main reasons they didn't get a ring in 2005-2006 is because of the foot injury that slowed down Duncan for most of the year. Since drafting Tim Duncan, no franchise has been as consistent as these San Antonio Spurs. Going in to the 2006-2007 season, the Spurs had to be considered one of the favorites to win it all even as teams like Dallas/Suns/Pistons were getting more attention. The reality is that picking the Spurs was pretty much considered a boring pick. Everyone knew they were a serious threat, but picking the Suns or Mavs was a more "sexy" choice. At the end of the day though, we all knew that beating the Spurs in a 7 game series would be quite the feat for any of the other 29 teams in the L. Leading up to the all-star break last season, the Spurs looked good but not great. They were not on the tear that the Suns and Mavs were on, that much is for sure. Of course, unlike the Suns and the Mavs, the Spurs have already been there and done that, and the strategy to the season became more clear after the all-star break. Take it easy in the first half and turn it up a notch for the home stretch. The Spurs had a record of 23-4 after the all-star break (I am ignoring the last 2 games in the season that obviously was rest time for the team, Duncan didn't play in ether game) and went through the playoffs only losing 2 games in three of the four rounds (Denver/Utah/Cleveland).The one hitch to the season of course was the controversy with the Suns series. But while the Suns can play the game of "what if", the Spurs can play the game while enjoying the sparkle off their new championship rings. The NBA finals were such a joke this year because of how much better the Spurs were then the Cavs. It was pretty much common knowledge that the finals were not going to be close, which is a testament to how good the Spurs truly were. Them winning this year was viewed as boring for the average viewer with ratings for the finals being down, but is it the Spurs fault that they were so good that no other team except one (Suns) had even a remote chance at making things interesting?

Re-Signed Matt Bonner
Re-Signed Jacque Vaughn
Re-Signed Fabricio Oberto
Traded Jackie Butler and Luis Scola to Houston for Vassilis Spanoulis, a 2009 2nd round pick and future considerations
Drafted Tiago Splitter
Drafted Marcus Williams
Signed Ime Udoka
Released James White

Did anyone expect them to blow-up the team? They re-signed the depth as they should, with Bonner, Vaughn and Oberto. If this roster took them to the dance with ease last season, there is no reason in getting rid of anyone at this point. In fact, the only reason that Butler and the rights to Scola were traded to Houston was for financial reasons. While those players could help out the Rockets, they were not needed on the ultra-deep Spurs team. Ime Udoka will back up Bowen and possibly be prepared for the started small forward position down the road.

Only two teams are capable of taking down the Spurs, the Suns and the Mavs. At this point the Spurs have too much talent, too much chemistry, one of the top coach's in the league, multiple rings, too much experience...what else? Oh yeah, the best player in the league and the best power forward in the history of the game in Tim Duncan. No team in the East will be able to challenge this team. BUT I am not saying that the Suns and the Mavs couldn't do it, specifically the Suns. Phoenix has shown the ability to beat the Spurs and next year they will have something that San Antonio might be lacking which is drive. I don't doubt that the Spurs won't bring it all in every game they play that means something, but after 4 rings in 9 years, can they match up with the piss and vinegar that the Suns will be bringing? Did anyone watch that celebration after game 4 in the finals a few months ago? I think I saw Duncan yawn as the clock ticked down. Again, the opponent was a huge reason for this lack of celebration last year, but will this team be short the fire they will need against the Suns? No matter what though, this team is not going away. They have Duncan, Manu and Parker signed for 3 more years playing together as well as next season having cap space to make some moves. The question is not IF this team will win it's 5th but a question of WHEN it wins it's 5th.

What to watch for:
1) Complacency - You have won 4 championships in 9 years. The last one without breaking a sweat. You know you got the talent to make another run at number 5 but do you have enough drive to deal with the urgency the Suns and Mavs will bring this season?
2) Injuries - I know Duncan had foot issues two seasons ago, but he still played. The Spurs have yet to deal with a big blow injury wise. There is always a first time for everything.

I see the Spurs following a similar pattern as last year, with a slow (there standards of slow) start with a strong post all-star finish. I think that the talent is better spread out this year, as not that many teams have gotten weaker in the West (at least not the teams that stood a chance of beating the Spurs to begin with) and much improvement in the East. What this means is a tougher time during the regular season. The bottom line though is that what happens during the season won't matter during the playoffs. And even if the Suns and Mavs finished with a better record after 82 games, once the playoff series starts, everyone is back to zero. And in the playoffs is when the experienced Spurs are most dangerous.

A 52-55 win season with a 4th place overall in the West

1 comment:

breatnyS said...

Good defense by the San Antonio Spurs drama boys, if only we could patch up the difference, this will be a San Antonio good season. They are running, switching in defense, rebounding see those efforts. We don't have yet the Spurs team down.

I which I could see some Spurs games live. I was looking for tickets all the good seats on ticketmaster were taken I had to check broker. And man you don’t want to do that especially for the San Antonio Spurs. Thanks god there sites like Ticketwood which work as comparators here is the site
Spurs Tickets

I like slam dunks that take me to the hoop my favorite play is the ally-hoop,
I like the pic n roll,i like the given goal its basketball yo, yo lets go!
Go Spurs Go!!!