San Antonio Spurs 2016-2017 NBA Season Preview
Three of the best basketball players to ever grace the NBA decided to retire last season. One of them, Tim Duncan. The future Hall-of-Famer and San Antonio’s franchise player for nearly 20 years decided to call it quits during the offseason in July. Obviously, the unassuming Duncan bid goodbye to the basketball world without warning.
Even at the age of 39, Duncan proved that he was still a big factor for the Spurs in his final season. Although it was apparent that father time started catching up for the big fella against quicker, younger and more athletic players.
Inevitably, Duncan retired from basketball and the Spurs would have to move on without the Big Fundamental. With him gone, LaMarcus Aldridge is now being paired with Spurs’ new acquisition by the name of Pau Gasol.
Take note that neither Aldridge nor the 36-year-old Gasol can defend like Duncan could, but both big fellas are offensively gifted who can definitely bring nightmares to opponents, according to Basketball Insiders.
Aside from Gasol, Spurs also incorporated big men like David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon. Now, it’s up to Head Coach Gregg Popovich on how he can bring the new acquisitions to get along with each other and play like they have been teammates before.
Coach Pop, obviously, has the reputation for building chemistry but the challenge for him this upcoming season would be the absence of Duncan and his leadership.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs have been a team that impose consistency and excellence for the past 20 years.
According to Bleacher Report, the Spurs have never consecutively won any championships but have collected five since 1999. Their consistency were very apparent all throughout those years with 50+ wins every season and have always managed to enter the playoffs. All of which occurred when Duncan was still around.
With him gone, things are going to be very different for the Spurs come 2016-2017 season.
Staying: LaMarcus Aldridge, Kyle Anderson, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Mills, Tony Parker and Jonathon Simmons.
Key Additions: Joel Anthony, Ryan Arcidiacono, Davis Bertan, Dewayne Dedmon, Bryn Forbes, Patricio Garino, Pau Gasol, Livio Jean-Charles, Nicolas Laprovittola, David Lee, Dejounte Murray and Ryan Richards.
Key Losses: Matt Bonner, Rasual Butler, Boris Diaw, Tim Duncan, Boban Marjanovic, Kevin Martin, Andre Miller and David West.
Projected Rotation 2016-2017: PG:Tony Parker, Ryan Arcidiacono, Patty Mills, Nicolas Laprovittola; SG: Danny Green, Bryn Forbes, Jonathan Simmons, Dejounte Murray, Manu Ginobili; SF: Kawhi Leonard, Patricio Garino, Davis Bertans, Livio-Jean Charles; PF: LaMarcus Aldridge, Kyle Anderson, David Lee; C: Pau Gasol, Joel Anthony, Dewayne Dedmon
Strengths: Low-maintenance stars have been a key factor to Spurs’ success. Kawhi Leonard and Aldridge are now going to have to step up and become leaders of the team. Leonard imposes great offensive and defensive style of basketball and that’s just what every team needs. Aldridge is a threat from the mid-range and in the low post. Gasol, as a frontcourt player, could also contribute big numbers. The Spurs’ effort and unselfishness have become big factors. Not to mention, great defense and high basketball IQ from their veteran players in Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
Weaknesses: Obviously, the team’s adjustment would come from the fact that Duncan will no longer play. He has been the focal point when it comes to the team’s leadership and his defense has won a lot of championships. So, the Spurs would have to come up with something to fill that big hole. In the point guard position, Parker somehow mellowed down from being an aggressive player. As usual, the Spurs is not a very athletic team with several key players aging 30 and above.
Prediction: 1st in the Southwest Division, 2nd in the Western Conference.
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