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Season Preview: San Antonio Spurs

September 18, 2012


Will somebody please tell the Spurs that the offseason has begun?

In: rookies Nando De Colo, Marcus Denmon

Out: James Anderson


PG Tony Parker        Gary Neal, Patty Mills, Cory Joseph

SG Manu Ginobili    Danny Green, Nando De Colo (r), Marcus Denmon

SF Kawhi Leonard   Stephen Jackson

PF Boris Diaw           Matt Bonner, DeJuan Blair

C  Tim Duncan          Tiago Splitter

Offseason Recap: Coach Gregg Popovich said recently about small forward Kawhi Leonard: “I think he’s going to be a star…and as time goes on, he’ll be the face of the Spurs.” This obviously explains the lack of additions to the roster this offseason. Obviously ‘Pop’ thinks Kawhi by himself is enough. Look, as much as I luv the former Aztec’s game, Leonard isn’t a franchise player…..not even in the Spurs system. Okay so they made sure Tim Duncan would retire a Spur while also bringing back Boris Diaw and Danny Green…..but is that really improvement? Duncan re-signing may have been a big move ten years ago, but not in 2012. Green, meanwhile, didn’t even play in the team’s final playoff game (coach’s decision). The Spurs failed to even move Coach Pop’s doghouse resident DeJuan Blair this offseason, as obvious move as there is. The team wasn’t even able to bring over Erazem Lorbek from Europe, who he opted to sign a three-year deal with Barcelona. His rights came to the team from Indiana in the George Hill trade. Just after the season, Gregg said “(we) reached our limit” vs OKC. In other words, the team overachieved in just getting to the conference finals. So how does not making any changes in the offseason jive with that reality? it doesn’t. This team is going backwards and another injury away from falling off of the map altogether.

Strengths:  Coach Popovich and his system could probably get me, my roommate and his sister to the NBA playoffs…playing 3-on-5. Last season he adapted his game plan to take advantage of every single aspect of his roster while also taking the pressure off of the aging Tim Duncan. Pop saw that Timmy could no longer carry a team down low so he stopped asking him to. Instead, it was all about getting downcourt quickly and taking the first good look. Coach relied on the perimeter talents of Parker, Ginobili, et al by also devising a gameplan that would get them great looks in the halfcourt offense. Duncan still sets some of the best screens in the entire league. Defensively, of course, it was a masterful job as always by Gregg and his staff.

Weaknesses:  This team is regular season great, but not playoff great…in fact they’re mediocre when the stakes get high. Unlike the rest of the nation, I was unmoved by their winning streak heading into the postseason. Why? because they don’t have another gear to go to like the Thunder or Lakers do for example. Sure that engine can backfire sometimes, but the NBA in the end has always been about star power. San Antonio just doesn’t have much game-changing ability. They don’t force many turnovers and hardly block any shots. It’s their system and their discipline that allows them to beat undisciplined teams handily during an 82-game docket (filled w/ back-to-backs and long road trips). But when the playoffs start and every team gets to prepare equally for their opponent this group in black n’ silver becomes very predictable. It was seeding that got them all the way to the western finals last season as the Jazz were inept and the Clippers just weren’t ready to take that step. We all saw what Memphis did to basically the same Spurs roster in 2011. They would’ve beat them again had they not lost to L.A. SAS will be lucky to even have that much success next season.

Prediction: This team will miss the playoffs in 2012-13.

Now that you’ve had a moment to digest that statment, let me explain. The San Antonio Spurs have been finding ways to be successful the past few years despite no longer having an unstoppable Tim Duncan down low nor even having Parker and Ginobili healthy for long stretches. This season, that all comes crashing to a halt. They’ll struggle out of the blocks to keep up with a much improved Western Conference this year. Sure, Pop is bound to get kooky like starting Blair/Bonner over Diaw and maybe even Gary Neal at SG…but it won’t be enough. Also, this team avoided multiple injuries the past two seasons (minus Ginobili’s elbow). This season the ‘yin and yang’ of the league will catch up to them. Then, after missing the postseason, Spurs management will be forced to actually make a move or two in the offseason.

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18 Responses to Season Preview: San Antonio Spurs

  1. Mark on September 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    You have no basketball credibility if you really think this Spurs team will come “crashing to a halt” and miss the playoffs this season. The Spurs will get a top 4 seed. Never underestimate the best head coach in the NBA right now, Gregg Popovich. Sorry, but you will be wrong like all the others who keep sleeping on the Spurs every season.

    • Martin Knezevic on September 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Mark, I sincerely hope I’m wrong. This isn’t a wish, but just a gut feeling I have. If SAS makes the postseason in their usual consistent fashion I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong…we shall see.

  2. SleepCrack on September 19, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Hmmm. Tee hee. Heh heh heh. Ha ha…hee hee hee. Hee hee ha Ha HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAH!!!!
    Stick with yer day job, sir.

    • Martin Knezevic on September 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Say no to crack…Sleepy Pink Floyd.

  3. SpursFan on September 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    1) What gear do the Lakers have and when did they show it? Yes, they look like the team to beat on paper, but let them play a game and show this gear before you put them in the same category as OKC.
    2) Agree with you on the Spurs being a regular season team. They beat who they should and beat good teams pretty often. But things get different in the playoffs when Durant/Westbrook play for 44 minutes a game. If there was a 35 cap limit on players then the Spurs would run away with the title having the best roster from 1-11, unfort in the playoffs its only 6 or 7 that matter (just look at the spurs when they won championships)
    3) That being said…they are a regular season team! So theyll make the playoffs…

  4. Justin on September 20, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Dude, how many years in a row do people keep expecting the Spurs to roll over and die? Certainly everyone did last year, after they lost in the 1st round. But no, then they get to the WCF. They have the same team that made the WCF. And now they’ll miss the playoffs? Who’s gonna beat them out, the Warriors or Twolves? Lol. It’s stupid to pick against a team that’s won 50 games every year for more than the past decade.

    • Martin Knezevic on September 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      Justin, it’s JUST those past years of sliding by with a vanilla play and good health that makes me think that it will eventually come to a sudden end. I just have a feeling in my diaw, I mean ‘gut’, that all the good fortune down in San Antone is eventually going to come to an end (remember the 1996-97 season?..they happen). By the same token, a team like the Warriors or Knicks will eventually have a healthy season for once. There’s gotta be some balance of luck in the big picture.
      To answer your question, yes, I think both the T’wolves & Warriors will get in actually. Bad health last season was the main reason Minny didn’t get in. And health is the only reason a lineup of Curry, Thompson, Barnes, Lee, & Bogut can’t make the postseason out in the Bay.
      Here’s MY West: LAL, OKC, MEM, LAC w/ homecourt…MIN, DEN, DAL, GSW. I think the Spurs will be fighting the Rockets and Jazz in April. It’s just one man’s opinion…in September. Thanks for reading.

  5. David on September 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    you are a complete driveling moron.

    • Martin Knezevic on September 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      I only drivel when Boris Diaw actually Looks at the basket…

  6. sam silvers on September 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

    martin, i didn’t know about this lorbek stuff, thanks for the 411.

  7. Bayern Munichen on September 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Awesome blog thanks.

  8. coral98 on September 22, 2012 at 7:49 am

    You know nothing about basketball. Obviously the Spurs will get a top 3 seed.


    • Kozher on December 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      definitely spurs and lakers. the west was all clseor to each other in the standings than the east to say one. then the spurs are defending champions and the lakers are a young team. its very impressive. im kinda biased to though cuz im a diehard laker fan but seriously in perspective its the lakers.

  9. smack on October 1, 2012 at 11:46 am

    say no to crack

  10. dre on October 20, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Kawhi is a stud but he is not enuff

  11. Thy on December 16, 2012 at 5:35 am

    The Suns and there Stupid coach!!There going nowhere with that coicnahg staff!!Sorry Suns fans but they would have won on saturday if there coach wasnt a moron!!

  12. Justin on February 18, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Sooo…..is it safe to say the Spurs will make the playoffs by now??

    • Martin Knezevic on February 18, 2013 at 9:13 am

      YES….and, MY BAD. I was really hoping you all forgot this prediction. At least my other prediction of Boston being injured and missing postseason still has a chance…..Justin, Thanks for reading….what did you think of Pop in All Star Game? -Knez

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