Is Time Running Out on the San Antonio Spurs?


San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs dynasty just continues to chug along.  However, it appears as if the train seems to be run losing fuel.  Their nucleus of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker is starting to get up their age but if that core is healthy during the post-season, the Spurs are more than capable of once again making a run in the NBA Western Conference.

By: David Kay

San Antonio Spurs (50-32 in 2009-2010)

2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Tim Duncan/Tiago Splitter/Matt Bonner
PF: DeJuan Blair/Antonio McDyess
SF: Richard Jefferson/Bobby Simmons
SG: Manu Ginobili/James Anderson/Alonzo Gee/Garrett Temple
PG: Tony Parker/George Hill//Gary Neal
Head Coach: Gregg Popovich (15th season)

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $71.4 million

Offseason Moves:
-Spurs re-sign SF Richard Jefferson to 4-year, $38.8 million deal
-Spurs sign SG Gary Neal to 3-year deal
-Spurs sign F/C Tiago Splitter to 3-year, $11 million deal
-Spurs and F/C Matthew Bonner agree to 4-year deal

Off-Season Grade: C-

I made the outrageous statement that if Richard Jefferson opted out of the final year of his contract that would have earned him $15 million this season that I would stop wearing flip-flops.  I love flip flops.  RJ shockingly exercised his team option and became an unrestricted free agent.  Even more shocking is that the Spurs signed Jefferson to a four-year, $38.8 million extension when the market was not dictating him worthy of such a deal.  It is a conspicuous move for a player who did make the impact that most expected him to in his first year in San Antonio.

San Antonio did not have to do much else in the off-season.  They finally brought over big man Tiago Splitter who should be an impact rookie and re-signed Matthew Bonner to add even more depth up-front.  James Anderson was a good value with the 20th overall pick and should be a valuable bench player.  Still, I just do not get giving Jefferson that type of contract.  And yes, I reneged on my statement and still rock the flops.

2010-2011 Outlook:

Another NBA season, another year in which I cannot help but think this might be the year that the Spurs start to fizzle a bit.  San Antonio has posted eleven straight 50-plus win seasons but hit 50 on the head last season which show signs of the franchise starting to slow down.

Tim Duncan is obviously the glue that holds this team together.  He remains consistent having posted a double-double in every single season during his NBA career which is an amazing statistic.  However, Duncan averaged a career low in minutes, points, and rebounds in 2009-10 which could be an indication that all the mileage on his odometer is finally catching up to him.

San Antonio does have a good deal of depth up-front which will likely keep Duncan’s workload down as to keep him healthy for a playoff run.  DeJuan Blair proved to be a second round steal and fits right in with the Spurs’ toughness on the boards.  Splitter has battled a thigh injury this pre-season but should be a major contributor once he gets healthy.  Bonner and Antonio McDyess are veterans who will also chip in off the bench.

The point guard position is very solid with Tony Parker running the show and George Hill being more than a capable back-up who can also play alongside Parker in the backcourt.  Gregg Popovich has utilized Manu Ginobli in primarily a sixth man role the past few seasons but Ginobli should start at the two.  Rookie James Anderson will see fair share of minutes off the bench as well in hopes of keeping Manu healthy for the post-season.

The goal for the Spurs is to get a top four seed in the Western Conference.  As long as they are in the post-season and at one-hundred percent, they will have a chance because of their experience and ability to defend.

Eva Longoria Tony ParkerLooking Ahead to Next Summer:
The Spurs have always rewarded their own players when the time comes.  They inked Ginobli to an extension last season to avoid having him hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent and they re-signed Jefferson when he chose to opt out of the final year of his deal.  Expect them to do the same with Parker this season.  Mr. Eva Longoria is in the final year of his deal and would garner a lot of interest if he hit the free agent market.  While San Antonio does have a young talented player in Hill behind Parker, they cannot afford to let Parker go with the window slowly closing on some of their key players.  (UPDATE: Hours after I wrote this, Parker agreed to a multi-year extension with the Spurs.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.)

NBA Power Ranking: 7th

Other NBA season previews/power rankings:
#2 Miami Heat
#3 Boston Celtics
#4 Orlando Magic
#8 Dallas Mavericks
#9 Portland Trail Blazers
#10 Milwaukee Bucks
#11 Atlanta Hawks
#12 Houston Rockets
#13 Utah Jazz
#14 Denver Nuggets
#15 Phoenix Suns
#16 Charlotte Bobcats
#17 New Orleans Hornets
#18 Memphis Grizzlies
#19 Philadelphia 76ers
#20 New York Knicks
#21 Los Angeles Clippers
#22 Indiana Pacers
#23 Golden State Warriors
#24 Washington Wizards
#25 Detroit Pistons
#26 New Jersey Nets
#27 Sacramento Kings
#28 Cleveland Cavaliers
#29 Toronto Raptors
#30 Minnesota Timberwolves

Check out David’s Fantasy Basketball Rankings

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