Prior to Friday evening’s contest against the lowly Seattle Sonics, the San Antonio Spurs had scored 64, 72, and 79 points in their previous three games. The Spurs actually managed to win the second one, but looked pitiful in doing so.
What’s the diagnosis, Dr. Dan?
An easy answer may be "age." Outside of Tony Parker, the rest of the regulars were born before 1980. Perhaps last year’s championship run, combined with the tough competition in the Western Conference, has simply worn this team down.
Ah yes, a good theory indeed.
Well, not so fast. The soon-to-be 32-year-old Tim Duncan remains the Spurs’ leading scorer and rebounder. Duncan led the team in scoring the last two games and has had one of his steadiest seasons.
And therein lies the problem.
Please, do explain.
In order for the Spurs to make another run at the championship, their guards, specifically Parker and Manu Ginobili, must be more consistent.
But Ginobili has the same PPG as Duncan, and Parker is only 1.2 behind them…
Yes, but Duncan is likely to score 20 points on a given night while Ginobili will score 30 one night and 10 the next. The same goes for Parker.
Ah, yes, but Michael Finley can pick up the slack…
Finley’s near-10 PPG may be an accurate reflection of his contributions at this point in his career, but his 41 percent from the field is neither impressive nor reliable.
Ime Udoka has been a nice surprise for San Antonio this season, but has seen his playing time dwindle as of late and his scoring average is down to 5.5 PPG.
Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili can match up with any trio offensively. With the defensive support of Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and others, they are still the gold standard in protecting their basket. Consistent play from that threesome will be the perfect prescription for the Spurs to get past the other seven contenders in the West.