5 Signs That the NBA Has Finally Passed by the San Antonio Spurs
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Here it goes again.
Some media guy says the Spurs are too old and they can no longer get it done. And you know what? They're right! San Antonio bows down and has a disastrous season.
Then he wakes up.
Even in the lockout-shortened 2012 season, the Spurs put together their 13th straight 50-win season.
I'd hate to see it, but what if this is the year that it actually happens?
Tim Duncan only has two or three years left to play, Manu Ginobili's bald spot isn't getting any smaller and Tony Parker is now considered to be another veteran who is past his prime.
Here are five signs that the NBA has caught up to the Spurs.
1. Tony Parker's Eye
It was a freak injury, but what if it affects Parker long-term?
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Nothing bad ever happens at nightclubs in New York City. Ever.
Oh sorry, Plaxico.
Many of Tony Parker's comments since that incident have been that his eye is perfectly healed and that he is good to go for the season, as he was for the Olympics.
That's great news, but if he doesn't wear the protective goggles and gets poked in the eye, does the injury flare up and give him trouble with his vision?
Maybe this is a stretch, and I'm no doctor, but I can only wonder what happens after an inadvertent flailing index finger does some damage to the point guard.
2. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili's Age
Has age finally caught up to two of the Spurs' Big Three?
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Tim Duncan has always been a fan favorite. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports during the Western Conference Finals against the Thunder, he assured San Antonio nation he is a Spur for Life.
But Timmy's minutes per game dropped considerably last year and backup center Tiago Splitter hasn't been a fantastic solution. Splitter has yet to live up to his expectations and doesn't seem to be a quality replacement for Duncan.
According to ESPN, Manu Ginobili is due just over $14 million in the final year of his contract this season. Is a player whose points per game dropped from 17.4 to 12.9 worth that much money?
The Spurs cannot hold on to the past much longer and overpay a decent sixth man.
3. They Signed Who?!
If he makes the roster, I expect nothing less than this from Curry.
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A fellow Bleacher Report writer once told me "I'm not sure anyone has ever actually called Eddy Curry an asset to their team."
Man, do I echo that statement.
I was scanning the Spurs' news feed recently and saw that a center had signed with the team. My belief that it would be a useful replacement was destroyed when I saw the name.
Is it harsh? Absolutely. But Curry has played in a mere 20 games in the last four seasons combined.
If he makes the Spurs' roster after participating in training camp, that could be a huge indication of a team in dire straights reaching for any sort of "relief."
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
As Kobe nears the end of his storied career, Durant's is just beginning.
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It wasn't luck that propelled the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals last season. This is a team that is built to win for a long time.
Behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder have a team ready to compete with the best in the league.
James Harden is the best sixth man in the NBA, and Serge Ibaka didn't earn his nickname of "I-block-ya" for no reason.
Thabo Sefolosha is also a great defender, and Oklahoma City could be absolutely unstoppable in the Western Conference if the team can find a fifth starter.
The Thunder proved its worth last season in the conference finals, beating this same Spurs team after going down two games to none in the series.
5. Miami Heat
He won his first title in 2012, LeBron's next goal is getting his second.
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Note how the previous slide ended: Western Conference.
Oh, and NBA, I believe you were officially re-introduced to the Miami Heat last season.
Miami took a lot of unjust criticism after not bringing home the 2011 NBA title, but it was a team with two superstars learning how to be teammates. Throw in Bosh pretending to be a shooting guard, and it was a recipe for disaster.
The Heat defeated the Thunder in five games, and nothing logical shows that they can't do it again.
I for one hope Duncan and Ginobili have one last title run in their aging bones, but the inevitable could occur this season.
It has to happen... right?