5 Players the San Antonio Spurs Can Add to Get Tim Duncan Another Ring
For nearly the last decade-and-a-half, San Antonio has been home to some of the best basketball in the world.
The San Antonio Spurs have been sensational throughout Tim Duncan's 15-year career, taking home four titles over the span of nine seasons. The first came in 1999 as Duncan paired up with David Robinson as the twin towers. The last came in 2007, but Timmy burns for yet another ring before he hangs up his sneakers.
It could be argued that San Antonio isn't far off from doing just that, as they led the West for much of the regular season and made it to the Western Conference finals before being bested by the younger and deeper Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Spurs' biggest glaring weakness is their deficiency in athleticism, both in the frontcourt and backcourt; a slashing, driving and able passing guard is needed, as is an athletic center that can defend the paint with fervor.
This list takes a look at five players that could fill those voids and get Timmy one more title.
Andre Miller is a versatile veteran that's proven his worth every step of the way in the NBA.
Miller wasn't content being the backup to Lawson, as he believes he is still capable of starting in the NBA. But he's also come to the realization that if he wants to win a title, he'll most likely have to be the backup this late in his career.
That's where he comes in handy to the Spurs.
Tony Parker is still playing at a high level, despite being in his 11th year, and he'll certainly be the starter next season. But imagine the boost Miller could provide by coming off the bench.
He's a vocal on-court leader that directs teammates on where they need to go—and he can score in a variety of ways on the offensive end. Miller loves to drive the hoop and make wild layups, but he can also dish it out to an open shooter once he's in that far.
His jumper's not the greatest, but he can knock down shots here and there while he possesses the ability to hit occasional threes as well.
Miller's athleticism is underrated and he could help San Antonio.
San Antonio will have the 59th pick in the NBA draft raft and could try to trade up and take young center Festus Ezeli from Vanderbilt.
Ezeli, at 6'11", 255 pounds, has the size of a true center at the NBA level, and he picked up four years of college-level experience at Vandy, though he actually enjoyed a better year in his junior season than last year's senior campaign.
Ezeli would almost certainly be a defensive specialist in the Association. Scouts believe that while he's a bit slow-footed, he possesses enough speed and quickness to defend the pick-and-roll and get into passing lanes.
He's a solid one-on-one defender in the low block; Ezeli can really block shots as he averaged over two per game his last two years in college.
Of course, he'll have to work on his consistency, but adding another big body will help give Duncan some rest and complement Tiago Splitter if the Spurs decide to keep their current center as well.
Kaman is another choice at big man for San Antonio.
Kaman was the full-time starting center for the Clippers for the first eight years of his career, and he even improved enough to make the All-Star game in 2010, averaging 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game that year.
While his athleticism leaves something to be desired, Kaman seems like the prototypical Spurs big.
He's able to do just about everything on the court; score from the post, hit mid-range jumpers, rebound with strength and positioning, block shots and even pass the ball a little bit.
Kaman's a better-than-solid center—better than Splitter is currently—and he'd get the nod over Splitter if San Antonio could bring him in.
If the Spurs really want to go wild and do everything it takes to bring Duncan and the city their fifth ring, they could trade Manu Ginobili for Rudy Gay of the Grizzlies.
Nate Jones of Goodwin Sports suggested the trade today on Twitter, and really, it's not a crazy idea.
First, from an age standpoint, it makes sense for San Antonio. Ginobili is soon-to-be 35 years old, while Gay is only 25. 2007-08 was Ginobili's best year and he's slowly, steadily declined performance-wise since then.
Gay, on the other hand, still hasn't reached his peak.
From a size standpoint, Gay has a two-inch and 25-pound advantage, and he's undoubtedly more athletic than Ginobili at this point. While Manu knows how to throw layups off the glass, Gay possesses one of the deadliest off-the-dribble drives and dunks once he gets to the rim.
Overall, Gay would be an improvement over Ginobili and could be enough to help bring Duncan that fifth ring.
Dwight Howard flip-flops more than a politician, fitting for this presidential election year.
He wanted to be traded, then didn't, then did again. He wanted Stan Van Gundy fired, then said he didn't, but the head coach was fired after another failed season.
What it all boils down to is Howard wanting to win. The massive center has enjoyed some success in Orlando, but he's yet to win a championship.
If the Spurs could somehow bring Dwight into San Antonio, the best center in the game would likely be ecstatic because it would be his first true chance of winning that elusive ring, alongside Duncan and under Gregg Popovich.
While Howard isn't the most gifted player on the offensive end, he wouldn't have to be with the Spurs. Duncan is the low-post specialist already, though Timmy could dish to Dwight at times for thunderous dunks if need be.
And on the defensive end, Howard would be able to not only protect the paint in general, but he would be a great help to Duncan as he could shift over and man-up against power forwards that get past the aging star.