San Antonio Spurs ’09-10 NBA season preview

10.21.09 9 years ago 22 Comments

Last year we debuted the “Highs and Lows” system — previewing the NBA season by predicting the respective ceiling and basement for each team. Same theme, different season…

Added: Richard Jefferson, Antonio McDyess, DeJuan Blair, Theo Ratliff, Keith Bogans

Lost: Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, Ime Udoka, Drew Gooden, Fabricio Oberto, Jacque Vaughn

Ceiling: NBA championship
The way some people are saying this season is San Antonio’s last real shot at a championship in the Tim Duncan era, you’d think the Spurs are using “This Is It” as their marketing slogan. It’s not quite that bad … True, Duncan isn’t as dominant on a day-to-day basis as he once was, but the 33-year-old still has at least a couple runs left. And as good as rookie DeJuan Blair has been throughout the summer and the preseason, his biggest contribution — along with veteran pickup Antonio McDyess — is that he will help keep Duncan from wearing down before the playoffs … Meanwhile, Tony Parker is hitting his prime just in time for Duncan to afford a step backwards … The third member of the Big Three, Manu Ginobili, took the summer off, and if his ankles hold up, he’ll be his usual crunch-time killer self as arguably the third-best SG in the West and an All-Star candidate … But the biggest difference between this year’s Spurs and last year’s version is Richard Jefferson. He brings a new element of athleticism and offensive explosiveness at small forward that San Antonio hasn’t had since Stephen Jackson contributed to the 2003 championship; RJ’s defense isn’t on Bruce Bowen’s level, but he’s another guy capable of scoring 20 points a night and he has plenty of postseason experience … Roger Mason, Keith Bogans, Mike Finley, Matt Bonner and Theo Ratliff will play their roles like the title-hungry vets they are, George Hill is a sleeper pick to have a solid year as TP’s backup, Gregg Popovich will have the right plan in place, and the Spurs are going to be a serious problem for the rest of the League.

Basement: Conference semifinals
Last spring, before the Spurs/Mavs first-round playoff series, I based my pro-San Antonio argument mostly on the fact that Duncan had never been knocked out in the first round of the postseason — not even in college. So while it turns out there is a first time for everything, the ’09-10 Spurs are too good and have too many weapons to make a repeat early exit … There are some areas of concern, though. First and foremost is Duncan’s durability. And right behind that is Ginobili’s durability. Not to mention aging key players like McDyess, Finley, Ratliff, and RJ is no child at 29 years old … While the Spurs got better on offense, did the defense suffer? You can see why Bowen, Thomas, Udoka and Oberto were ultimately expendable, but did the front office perhaps overreact to the Dallas series (when Duncan and Parker got zero help on offense)? Will guys like Jefferson, Finley, Mason, Blair and the forever-injured Ratliff be able to do their part in maintaining that brick wall San Antonio has become known for?

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10/21 — Miami Heat
10/19 — Oklahoma City Thunder
10/19 — Milwaukee Bucks
10/15 — Portland Trail Blazers
10/14 — Chicago Bulls
10/13 — Golden State Warriors
10/12 — Toronto Raptors
10/9 — Houston Rockets
10/8 — Detroit Pistons
10/7 — Memphis Grizzlies
10/6 — New York Knicks
10/5 — New Orleans Hornets
10/2 — Atlanta Hawks
9/30 — Sacramento Kings
9/29 — New Jersey Nets
9/28 — Denver Nuggets

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