The last time the San Antonio Spurs were in the lottery, they were selecting a young man named Tim Duncan with the first pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. Ever since then, they have been one of the past decade’s most successful teams by winning four NBA championships.
Nowadays, the Spurs organization is faced with a problem they have not faced for fourteen years: to rebuild or not to rebuild.
Well, it became apparent that the Spurs are going to try to contend for one more year after they traded away George Hill for Kawhi Leonard. This move proved that they are sticking with Tony Parker at the point guard position for now. Leonard also happened to be one of the more NBA-ready rookies in the draft and could easily contribute right away if needed.
Believe it or not, it is quite possible that the Spurs could contend for one more championship. Many could argue that their trio of Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili are too old, but the three actually played a combined average of 78 games last year.
Ginobili and Parker proved last year they can carry the scoring load as Duncan’s level of play has declined. Even Matt Bonner stepped up his game, shooting the best three-point shooting percentage of his career (46 percent).
The key for the Spurs will be production from their role players. This has never been an issue for coach Gregg Popovich. He knows how to get the most out of his role players. There was one role player last year though, who Popovich did not get a lot out of: Tiago Splitter. And if the Spurs want to contend they are going to need to get a lot out of the Brazilian prodigy.
Outside of the big three, Splitter may the next most important piece for the Spurs going into next year. From a defensive standpoint, he is the only big man on the roster that can hang with young and athletic post players. The Western Conference features guys like Andrew Bynum, Tyson Chandler, Marc Gasol, and LaMarcus Aldridge (assuming Chandler and Gasol re-sign) and Splitter could be the only person on the Spurs who could hang with them. Even that may be a stretch.
Despite that, they went 61-21 last year even with his mediocre season.
Popovich’s squad is always a tough one to read. They are just like the New England Patriots; unpredictable but always have someone ready to step into the spotlight and perform. Just like the Patriots, it is never a good idea to count out the San Antonio Spurs.
What do you expect from the Spurs next year?
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