Category Archives: San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs went into this offseason with a good amount of cap space. This excited the Spurs fanbase, especially after getting oh so close to ring #5. The Spurs were rumored suitors for several free agents, but in the end the Spurs decided to take care of the players in house, adding just 1 new piece to the Western Conference Championship roster.
First order of business, retaining Tiago Splitter. Now this wasn’t a very popular choice, mainly because Tiago had a bad Finals series. Fans tend to forget about Tiago’s solid defense in the Memphis series. When the Spurs played the Grizzlies two seasons ago in the 1st round, Zack Randolph destroyed the Spurs. This time around, with Splitter starting at center Randolph was a no show and the Spurs swept the series. And with Dwight Howard landing in Texas and in the Spurs division, having a good defensive center is more valuable than ever for the Spurs.
This next signing wasn’t much of a surprise, although the money was. Manu Ginobili will probably retire a Spur, but not before collecting 14 million over two seasons. Manu faded in these playoffs, showing age is catching up with him. His 12 turnovers in the last two games of the Finals really put the Spurs in a bad spot, a spot that ended up dooming the Spurs. Manu means so much to this franchise, so I do understand re signing him. 7 million a year however, was too much for sentimental value. With Duncan and Manu having 2 years left on their contracts, I guess the Spurs will have some serious cap space in 2015.
The only new blood the Spurs brought in was bulls swingman Marco Belinelli. Now this was a solid pick up, swaping a spot shooter in Gary Neal for a more athletic role playing shooting guard. Belinelli passed up on 3 better offers to join the Spurs, mainly due to the international culture of the team. This minor upgrade gives Coach Pop a chance to sit Manu more, hopefully to keep him fresh for the playoffs.
The Spurs will again drive for five, and are content doing so with the same team that was 28 seconds away from #5.
1st Round-Livio Jean Charles
Forward from France
Yes, another young French star. Charles is 19 year old 6’9 forward, don’t expect to see him in a Spurs uniform anytime soon, but if he fills out as he gets older could become another steal for San Antonio. At this point do we ever second guess the Spurs front office on draft night?
2nd Round-Deshaun Thomas
Forward from Ohio State
That’s right, he’s the guy that refused to give the Spurs his phone number during the pre draft screening. Now he belongs to Pop, and will probably spend next season in Austin with the D-League. The former Mr. Indiana high school star was also the Big ten’s leading scorer in a deep Big ten this past season, and has experience as the shooting guard, small forward, and this season power forward. Thomas could develop into Kawhi Leonard’s back up.
The heartbreak of the NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat will burn for awhile in the River City, and from the sound of Tim Duncan in his post game press conference it might burn the rest of his life. America finally learned to love the Spurs, but most “experts” feel this was their last real shot at an NBA title. What everybody should remember though is that every year that the Spurs are eliminated from the playoffs, the same talk of the Spurs being done comes out. Fact of the matter is these Spurs aren’t going anywhere, whether you love them or hate them.
Tim Duncan is 37 years old, and only has 1 year left on his contract. Duncan was 2nd team all NBA this past season, and looks poised for at least 1 more season. Tony Parker just turned 31, and is in the prime of his career. Parker is the best point guard in the world, and as long as he’s on the floor the Spurs will contend. The big question mark with the big 3 is clearly Manu Ginobili. Manu is an old 36, and looked bad in the NBA Finals. Manu didn’t contribute much this post season, and is a free agent. If Manu wants to return, the Spurs might feel like they owe him that opportunity.
After the big 3, the Spurs look in good shape. Kawhi Leonard looks to be the young star the Spurs can build around, flexible enough to play the swing or power forward spot, and he just went toe to toe with Lebron and didn’t flinch. Danny Green emerged in this year’s playoffs, especially in the Finals. With those two in the starting lineup, Parker has some running mates after Tim and Manu are gone. As for Manu, his 14 million a year comes off the books this summer, and the Spurs could use that money to land a successor to Tim Duncan. Al Jefferson is a free agent, and if the Spurs let Manu and Tiago Splitter go, the Spurs can afford Jefferson. If Jefferson doesn’t come to San Antonio, then the Spurs will have to spend a little money keeping Tiago on the roster. Besides landing a free agent or two, the Spurs will hope some young players on their bench develop. Nando de Colo showed a lot of promise in his rookie season, but not enough to get any real playing time so his development from year 1 to 2 should be interesting. Corey Joseph took a huge step forward in year 2, went from the Austin Toros to the legit backup point guard in the playoffs. Coach Pop didn’t trust him in the Finals, but with Manu possibly gone Joseph should get more responsibility.
While the rest of the country foolishly writes the Spurs off again, just remember that great franchises like the Spurs don’t rebuild, they reload.
The Spurs have played 102 games, and after all of that the season and championship comes down to 1 game. A Game 7 is special, there is nothing like it, and for the Spurs they hope this particular Game 7 erases the memory of a horrifying Game 6. As you all know by now, the Spurs missed a golden opportunity to win their 5th NBA title by blowing a 5 point lead with 20 seconds left. Tony Parker looked gassed, Duncan might be hurt, and Manu just played awful. Coach Pop, the best coach in pro sports was even questioned for his decisions in that final minute of the 4th quarter. Long story short, the Spurs are a wounded animal and most of America feels they’ve already lost the title.
And this is exactly why Spurs fans should feel confident. Nothing is more dangerous than a wounded animal, and do you really think Pop and the Spurs have another break down? You don’t’ think the Spurs have thought about Game 6 the last two nights? These Spurs, maybe more so than any team in any sport, are a tough, family oriented team that will rally together with a me against the world mentality. I fully expect the Spurs big 3 to play with everything they have, and for coach Pop to have his boys ready for the game of their lives.
It won’t be easy, Lebron has been lights out in Game 7’s, and the Heat fans will be looking to prove they aren’t a bunch of bandwagon fans that leave early when the going gets tough. Chris Bosh has already lit a fire under the fan base, telling them to stay home if they don’t want to stay until the end. The problem with the Heat though is that they only seem to be motivated after a loss, and might ride into this Game 7 thinking the Spurs are mentally beaten already. If that is the case, they’re making a terrible mistake, because the Spurs are never mentally beaten. Manu will bounce back from his Tony Romo like performance, Timmy will have 1 more monster game left in his old body, Danny Green will continue his Robert Horry impression, and Tony Parker will suck it up for 1 more game.
Game 7, the end all be all of sporting events is upon us, and is there any team in the world you think would be better in a 1 game setting than Coach Pop’s Spurs?