Once described as "fine wine, better with age" by Gregg Popovich, the San Antonio Spurs, after a 2-5 start, have fought their way back up to the top of the very competitive Southwest division. Still feeling the sting of the Olympics with the ankle injury to sixth man extraordinaire Manu Ginobili, San Antonio stands second in the tough Western Conference, behind only the Lakers.
Ginobili, who made an early return after Tony Parker went down with an ankle injury of his own, still isn't a fully recovered and it shows. Manu doesn't have the explosiveness Spurs fans have come to love and hasn't found the touch from behind the arc yet. But despite Manu's struggles, the Spurs have been able to keep pace in the West behind their bench.
In the offseason, the Spurs made an attempt to sign Corey Maggette, but after failing, they were able to sign Roger Mason Jr. Mason, who is averaging 12 points, has hit two buzzer beaters, and is one of the two Spurs in the top five for three-point shooting in the league. He has spearheaded a cast of role players, who have helped keep the Spurs afloat while Ginobili and Parker healed.
Other key players include the other Spur in the top five in three-point shooting: Matt Bonner and the first IUPI player to play in the NBA, George Hill. Hill earned the backup point guard spot over veteran Jacque Vaughn and has more than overcome expectation with his aggressive play.
Before everyone counts out the aging Spurs like every year, let's remember that the Spurs were one Ginobili ankle injury away from the NBA Finals last season and are amongst the leaders in the West yet again. Led by one the greatest coaches of all time, Greg Popovich, and the greatest power forward to ever play the game, Tim Duncan, the Spurs look poised to make a title run in another odd year.
So, when the Manu we've all have come to love or hate comes back around and the Big Three are at it again, expect a June month decorated with San Antonio basketball.
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