As a site, we ranked all the NBA teams from worst to best for our release of season previews. Day twenty-nine’s release of a season preview ends up being the new look, San Antonio Spurs. I will provide a recap of their past season, an offseason recap, and then finally the season preview all of us fans are eager for.
San Antonio Spurs:
Last season’s record: 55-27
Playoff Status: Lost 4-3 in first round to Los Angeles Clippers
The 2014-2015 season was another great regular season performance from the aging big three of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, and the new star in Kawhi Leonard. Duncan’s style of play never disappoints and allows for him to still dominate in this league. Parker battled injuries for a good duration of the season, and never looked like himself. Kawhi Leonard continued his development, but even he battled through injuries, and was not able to perform at his top level. Once the playoffs started they were unable to keep the magic going, as that was handed to Chris Paul with his game seven performance. After this heartbreaking loss, San Antonio headed into the offseason with hope of using their cap space to help keep their dynasty alive, and keep the team steady as Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker creep towards retirement.
Heading into the 2015 NBA Draft, many mock drafters had no idea who to slot to San Antonio. They did not have many pressing needs besides maybe finding a big to develop behind Duncan. On draft night, San Antonio selected Nikola Milutinov with their first round pick. Milutinov is a Serbian center, who will likely need some more development overseas before making a big contributions for the Spurs. In the second round, San Antonio selected Cady Lalanne, a power forward from the University of Massachusetts. Lalanne will likely see a majority of his playing time either overseas or in the D-League, as San Antonio looks to groom him for the future. San Antonio’s draft was not for the now, as they needed their cap room to sign free agents, but both of these players in a couple years could be good players for the Spurs to build around.
The city of San Antonio is not a big drawer of marquee free agents, even with all their team’s success over the past fifteen years. This was about to change. LaMarcus Aldridge the dominant power forward from the Portland Trailblazers was set to become an unrestricted free agent, and he wanted to play for San Antonio. The Aldridge sweepstakes took place in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Houston, and San Antonio. Aldridge sent everyone through a loop when he put Phoenix in his top three destinations (Phoenix even signed Tyson Chandler to a long-term contract to try and sway him), but in the end he chose San Antonio, as this was the best place for him to win a title. In order to clear up the cap room to sign Aldridge, San Antonio had to trade away Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks, which means Duncan will need to play a majority of his minutes at the center position. After signing Aldridge, San Antonio signed Kawhi Leonard to a new five-year $90 million extension to secure their main piece of the future. Danny Green also received a new four-year $45 million extension, which was a discounted price so San Antonio could continue to add pieces to compete for championships. Tim Duncan also received a two-year extension, as this looks to be the final extension of his career. David West, who opted out of his $12 million player option with the Indiana Pacers, and the San Antonio Spurs were able to sign him to a one-year veterans minimum contract. West will bring needed toughness to the bench, as well as another great leader for the locker room. San Antonio also brought in Jimmer Fredette and Ray McCallum to add a few more shooters to their bench. This offseason was extremely successful for San Antonio, as they retained their core players, as well as added deference makers in Aldridge and West.
We have all learned over the course of Tim Duncan’s career that there is one thing we can count on, and that is the Spurs making the playoffs. With the additions of Aldridge and West we can assume this will happen again, with a likely top seed as their goal. The starting five consisting of Parker-Green-Leonard-Aldridge-Duncan have the perfect blend of defense and offense, can space the floor, and bring out each other’s skill sets. Although it may take some time to form chemistry with adding another star like Aldridge to the line-up, if anyone can do it, it is the San Antonio Spurs. The bench is just as terrifying for opponents. Mills, Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, West, and Kyle Anderson cam stretch the floor consistently and play good team defense. This does not even include newcomers McCallum and Fredette, who can stretch the floor and handle the ball. This bench is built by veteran leadership and reliable shooting, and has the chance to be one of the best benches in the league. With so many talented payers on this roster, and the leadership by veteran coach Gregg Popovich, San Antonio will be a top two team in the Western Conference, as well as a top three team in the league, and have a great chance to add another Larry O’Brien trophy to their collection.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17