*Normally, a team that has fallen just short of a championship will not dramatically alter its makeup, but will tweak it by adding to or enhancing it to eliminate weaknesses and fortify strengths.
The San Antonio Spurs are fresh off of a disappointing NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat and are, despite the constant media pointing to the contrary, wiping that proverbial dirt off their collective shoulders. They are coming into the 2013-14 NBA season more certain than ever as to their ability to reach the pinnacle of professional basketball with their current core.
Tim Duncan proved last year that he is, beyond speculative prattling, the very best power forward to ever play the game. He also showed that he is still one of the top 10 best players in the game and perhaps still the very best big man in the NBA as well. Head-to-head playoff matchups in which he dominated Dwight Howard and Zach Randolph attest to that.
Tony Parker, despite three titles and multiple All-Star appearances, seems to get looked over when the NBA props wagon is dishing out compliments. However, it was he who carried the brunt of the offensive load for San Antonio throughout the playoffs, and he almost single-handedly won Game 6 before running out of gas. History remembers the Spurs failing in their endeavors last season thanks to a timely corner 3-pointer from Jesus Shuttlesworth aka Ray Allen to send the series back to Miami.
Manu Ginoboli has clearly lost a step or two as his 37th birthday looms in the distant future. He was once the free radical molecule within the conservative and methodical offensive body that is the Spurs, and that seemingly unpredictable energy had long been the scourge of NBA defenders. But he was in large part a defensive liability throughout the playoffs last year, and an offensive liability versus Miami. His 11-point average is the second-lowest output of his entire NBA career as well.
The 2013 NBA Playoffs revealed the strengths and weaknesses of a Spurs team that, if some analysts were to tell it, was too old to make any kind of noise. Noticeably absent on the Spurs’ roster last season was another low post scoring threat to compliment Tim Duncan, although F/G Kawhi Leonard did start posting up later in the season. PF Tiago Spillter averaged 10 points per game last season, but he is a cleanup guy at best, and not a very rugged one as he averaged just six rebounds a game last season. Also, he has shown very little ability to score on clear outs. This is true even when he has a size advantage. Boris Diaw has some moves on the low block, but he cannot be relied on to score consistently there because of his age and relative small size.
First-round draft pick Livio Jean-Charles suffered a severe knee sprain during FIBA U-20 back in July, and there’s speculation he would not have joined the Spurs next year anyway. Second-year player Nando De Carlo isn’t particularly spectacular at point guard, and I don’t think he makes this roster, which is rich in point guards. He is good enough to be in the NBA all the same. Former Ohio State Buckeye Deshaun Thomas isn’t a shoo-in to make this roster either. The Spurs are deep at shooting guard and small forward. Here’s what I feel the final roster of the Spurs may look like.
Ricardo Hazell is a freelance sports writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.