Biggest Issue San Antonio Spurs Must Solve Before the Start of NBA Playoffs
Nearing the homestretch of the 2012-13 NBA season, the San Antonio Spurs seem primed to make a deep playoff run. Second only to the scorching Miami Heat, the team has been a complete juggernaut thus far. Having dropped only 17 games, despite a nagging injury bug, the team's execution has been close to perfection, and the Spurs have shown little indication of slowing down.
Their position atop the Western Conference would make them the Western Conference favorites in the postseason, but—as shown in years past—the top seed is little more than a number. Despite their offensive dominance and their defensive prowess, refinements can always be made—and the Spurs are no exception.
But while other teams' leading issues may be impossible to fix, the Spurs' can be done effortlessly.
Numerous times throughout the season, the Spurs have encountered an issue with playing time, in which there simply isn't enough of it to give worthy players substantial time.
Omitting blowouts, a handful of players have found themselves glued to the benches, or thrown into the lineup intermittently.
The backup point guard situation has been questioned habitually over the year, and whether it be the sudden implementation of Cory Joseph or the ever-popular Gary Neal question, the answer has yet to reveal itself.
Even after the Tony Parker injury—a period in which increased playing time was supposed to bring forth a solution—the answer remains unclear, with Patty Mills, Nando de Colo, Joseph and Neal each falling in and out of the rotation at irregular intervals.
Though Tony Parker has proved to be the team's leading man, rest will be valued come playoff time, and overplaying your star is never a good idea. Assuming Gregg Popovich intends for his squad to remain productive during Parker's absences, declaring one guard the true backup is a matter that must be addressed prior to the conclusion of the regular season.
In the frontcourt, the major issue concerning playing time revolves around DeJuan Blair. Blair, who at one time was a consistent starter for San Antonio, has since become an unused commodity, and the team's decision not to deal him at the deadline came as a surprise to many.
Despite his lack of playing time, however, Blair possesses an abundance of talent, namely his rebounding prowess.
Second-chance opportunities are a rarity in San Antonio, and while offensive rebounding isn't stressed, the team's ranking of dead last is enough indication that a change may be necessary.
Last season, the team ran into a similar issue against the Oklahoma City Thunder, in which the rebounding issue had become substantial, and bringing Blair into the lineup became a necessity. Though he did make an impact, it proved to be too late, and the Spurs' season ended after six games.
With a Western Conference Finals rematch seemingly inevitable, the team should rethink its decision to leave Blair on the bench, giving him a handful of minutes each night, with the hopes that if the team should need his services in the playoffs, they can call on his number with confidence.
Though finalizing the rotation is hardly a nagging issue, lingering questions in the postseason can only hurt the team.
So whether it be the re-introduction of DeJuan Blair or the long-awaited solution to the backup point guard question, the Spurs' front office must make the necessary adjustments, as to ensure the utmost success when a championship is on the line.
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