Realistic Stat Projections for Each Member of the San Antonio Spurs in 2012-13
Last season, Tony Parker surprised everyone with a breakout season, deserving of MVP mention. He was accompanied by Tim Duncan, whose bounce back year proved that he still had gas left in the tank.
However, the biggest surprise was Kawhi Leonard, the rookie phenom, who took the NBA by storm as one of the league's most productive rookies.
Now, with the 2012-13 season looming overhead, one can only wonder: Which players will guide the team to victory? Which youngsters will finally break out? And what can be expected of the newer additions, who will spend their first complete season with the Spurs?
Until the season begins, those questions will remain unanswered, so let's take a look at how we think they will perform in the upcoming year.
DeJuan Blair, PF
Projected stat line: 4.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, .7 SPG, .516 FG%
DeJuan Blair began last season as the Spurs' starting center, and during his time in the role put up a solid stat line.
However, Blair soon found himself on the bench, as the newly acquired Boris Diaw gained control of Blair's starting job.
Blair's court appearances became rare, as he spent the majority of the second half of the season watching from the sidelines.
In 2012-13, not much should change for the Pittsburgh product, as Diaw will spend the entire season in San Antonio, presumably eating at Blair's minutes once again.
He will see an increase in time from last year's postseason, but don't expect anything to change too drastically.
Matt Bonner, C
Projected stat line: 5.9 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 0.2 BPG, .412 3P%
Matt Bonner has had a very consistent role during his time with the Spurs, as he has scrapped the idea of using his height as an advantage, and instead become one of the league's best three point shooters.
It doesn't look like much will change for Bonner, who received decent playing time last season, and in return provided the team with another perimeter option.
The addition of Nando De Colo, as well as their surplus of guards may result in their continued use of the "small ball" lineup when in need of perimeter scoring, and this may take a toll on Bonner's playing time.
Still, Popovich has shown a consistent liking for the big man, and it is expected that he will find himself on the court for multiple minutes at a time once the season rolls around.
Nando De Colo, G
Projected stat line: 3.1 PPG, 2.1 APG, 1.3 TPG, .427 FG%
Nando De Colo could make a huge splash this season, but at the same time he could find himself with very little playing time.
The Spurs have a plethora of guard options, and if Cory Joseph's summer league performance was any indication of how he will perform this year, than the French combo-guard could find himself being the team's last option in the backcourt.
Pop may try to experiment with the rookie at times, but with so many more "mature" options, the chances of De Colo playing a lot is very unlikely.
He may take advantage of a few opportunities, and his shooting should stay on par with his Euro league average, but no big expectations should be made.
Boris Diaw, PF/C
Projected stat line: 8.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, .7 BPG
It appears as though Boris Diaw will be the day one starter for the Spurs, providing him quality minutes on a nightly basis.
Being the diverse player that he is, Diaw won't shine in any particular category, and instead produce average stats across the board.
He is not a go-to player in the offense, and while he certainly can be trusted with the ball, he won't be relied on too heavily on the scoring end.
Still, he won't fail to produce on the offensive end, and with a full season with the starting job, his numbers could really improve from last year's campaign.
Look for Diaw to do what he does best—be a solid role-player and assist in any aspect that the team needs help.
Tim Duncan, PF/C
Projected stat line: 14.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.3 BPG, .496 FG%
Over the summer, Tim Duncan signed on for what will likely be his final contract in the NBA. Age has caught up to the superstar, and while he isn't the elite player he once was, he is more than just a shell of his old self.
Last season—especially during the playoffs—Duncan bounced back from his previous season, in which he experienced an all time low in points and rebounds.
This year, he will find himself somewhere in between last season and the one before that, putting up solid averages, but nothing too outlandish.
He is still tough enough to be their centerpiece on defense, as well as their primary post option on offense. However, he won't be the star—as Tony Parker has taken command of that role.
Duncan's numbers will decline a bit from last year, but for the most part, his 2012-13 campaign should be similar to his previous one.
Manu Ginobili, SG
Projected stat line: 15.1 PPG, 4.7 APG, 3.9 RPG, .510 FG%
Manu Ginobili's season last year was plagued by injury, and as a result he didn't finish to well, statistically.
Before he went down with the injury, his statistics lingered at around 17 points per game, a feat that is much more like him than the measly 12 points per game that he ended with.
This season, if we expect him to survive injury-free, it can be expected that he'll bounce back from last season.
While 17 per game may be too much to ask from him, especially considering the other guards willing to cut into his minutes, 15 is an ideal choice.
Ginobili also developed chemistry with big man Tiago Splitter, and if Splitter has a big season, than you can expect that Ginobili will have something to do with it.
While he won't be a stud, he'll bounce back from last season, and be the leader he always was.
Danny Green, SG/SF
Projected stat line: 7.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.1 SPG, .419 3P%
After Pop's experiment placing Manu Ginobili in the starting lineup failed during the postseason last year, it is very likely that Danny Green will begin next season as the starting shooting guard.
With a solid season under his belt, Green will show an improvement, but the changes will be expressed more from a mentality standpoint, not so much on the stat sheet.
He will be more productive during the time he is in, but he should not count on the same amount of playing time that he received last year. While Green will be the starter, his minutes throughout the game will likely be cut down, and distributed to Nando De Colo, Patty Mills and Cory Joseph in order to give them a chance.
On defense, Green will remain one of their consistent perimeter stoppers, and he will likely get more time if he is needed on the defensive end.
Overall, not much of a change should be expected, with a possible reduction in minutes.
Stephen Jackson, SF
Projected stat line: 8.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.4 SPG, .387 3P%
After returning to San Antonio for the second half of the season, last year, Jackson will now get to spend the entire season with the Spurs.
His scoring average will take a hit, as will his minutes, as sophomore, Kawhi Leonard's role will be increased this season.
However, due to his 6'8'' frame, the Spurs may use Jackson alongside Leonard at times, forcing Jackson into the post. This should allow his rebounding averages to improve, as well as give him decent chances to score.
He will be a threat, especially on the defensive end, but his time will be monitored with the extra minutes being distributed to the team's younger guards.
Cory Joseph, G
Projected stat line: 6.2 PPG, 3.0 APG, 1.8 TPG, .423 FG%
Cory Joseph may have spent last season bouncing back and forth from the D-League to the pros, but his spot in the lineup in this upcoming season should be fairly secure.
After letting James Anderson walk, the Spurs are likely clearing up a spot for Joseph. While he won't get a ton of minutes, he should certainly receive a fair share of time every night, as he used his D-League experience to develop his raw talent.
If the Spurs needed any inclination to use him a bit more, his summer league play should be enough to convince them.
He will likely split the backup point guard duties with Patty Mills, but should also see a few minutes per night at the shooting guard spot as well.
With a surplus of guards, Joseph will need to take advantage of his time, but after seeing such impressive progress over the summer, there should not be a doubt about his spot on the team.
Kawhi Leonard, SF
Projected stat line: 13.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.6 SPG, .387 3P%
If any Spur is going to see a substantial improvement next season, it is without a doubt, Kawhi Leonard.
The San Diego State product had an incredible rookie season, and after his first full summer of training, Leonard is primed for an incredible spike in numbers.
Popovich has announced that Leonard is the next face of San Antonio, and his numbers will likely be the highest on the team, excluding Tony Parker.
He also will be given a bigger role on offense, and after seeing such an improvement with his shooting last season, his ability to score should not be questioned this year.
Leonard will also be their defensive stud, likely guarding the opposition's best player. His steal averages, as well as blocks should rise, along with his rebounds.
The 2012-13 NBA season is Leonard's platform just waiting for him to erupt. Parker will be the star, but next to him, Leonard might be the team's next best player.
Patty Mills, PG
Projected stat line: 9.4 PPG, 5.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, .467 FG%
Patty Mills joined the San Antonio squad late into the season, and wasn't given many opportunities.
However, he did take advantage of the ones he was given, especially with his 27-point game against the Suns.
In London, he further backed up his spurts of stardom, leading all Olympic competitors in points per game.
Now, with a full season ahead of him with the backup point guard role secured, Mills will have a chance to explode.
Popovich loves to use his backups, and Mills has shown enough talent that he'll get solid time.
He is a proven scorer and can distribute too—so as long as his minutes remain steady, Mills will produce.
Gary Neal, G
Projected stat line: 10.2 PPG, 3.1 APG, .9 SPG, .412 3P%
Each year we wait for Gary Neal to finally explode, and it hasn't happened yet. However, this season more so than others, it may be difficult for the young guard to break out considering his non-existent role in the offense.
Mills has taken over the role of Parker's backup, and Green will likely start the at the other guard spot, with Ginobili being the first man off the bench.
Still, Neal has demonstrated excellent professionalism, both with his ethic and his ability to perform in clutch situations. He also has become the team's go-to three point shooter.
His ceiling is high, and while he won't reach it this year, he may finally crack double-digit points per game.
Expect Neal to be the same player as last year—with the same inconsistent role Pop has dumped on him for the past two seasons.
Tony Parker, PG
Projected stat line: 21.3 PPG, 7.0 APG, 0.9 SPG, .490 FG%
Tony Parker finished last year as one of the prime MVP candidates, officially marking his entrance into his prime.
This year, having fully assumed the leadership role, Parker will dominate with an even bigger emphasis on scoring.
He'll crack 20 points per game for the second time in his career, and while his assist average will take a hit from last year, it won't be by too much.
Parker, now 30 years old, will likely be given the minutes of a star, allowing him to take full control of the game from tip-off to the final buzzer.
The Spurs need him to come through if they want to be contenders, and from what we've seen of the French guard, he's fully capable of it.
Expect Parker to have a career year in 2013.
Tiago Splitter, C
Projected stat line: 9.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.3 BPG, .570 RPG
Tiago Splitter has also been on the verge of breaking out for a while, and after another offseason of practice—as well as Olympic competition—this may finally be his year.
Duncan's minutes will be heavily monitored, and with Splitter being the only other 6'-11" player on the roster, the team will likely look to him to provide the team with post dominance.
He may not be the most talented big man in the league, but as their best option outside of Duncan, Splitter will be given a large role.
If he can complete the tasks he is given, then he may prove to be a star this year; but until then, expect him to put up good—but not elite—statistics.