San Antonio Spurs: 30 Teams in 30 Days
Finished 54-28, first in Southwest Division, third in Western Conference
First Round: Lost to Dallas Mavericks 4-1
Richard Jefferson via trade, Dejuan Blair via draft, Jack McClinton via draft, Antonio McDyess via free agency, Theo Ratliff via free agency, Nando De Colo via draft
Drew Gooden via free agency, Bruce Bowen via trade, Kurt Thomas via trade, Fabricio Oberto via trade
Usually a 54-win season ending with a first round postseason exit would please many NBA teams, probably more than half the league's teams, but to a team like the San Antonio Spurs it is considered a major disappointment.
A team like the Spurs are used to the finer things of the NBA world and have experienced championship glory and contending for a title year in and year out. Just to show you how dominant this team has been for the past decade, here's a stat for you: 54-28 is the worst record San Antonio has had in ten years. Not to mention, they had advanced past the first round of the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons.
Obviously, only the best is reserved for San Antonio. We can see the Spurs contending every year for a top three seed and every year they get it with a number of Southwest division titles. With all the offseason moves being made by San Antonio, it is obvious to see that 54 wins is not enough for a team like the Spurs.
They pulled off one of the first moves of the offseason and turns out it could be the most important. The team traded away several non-offensive factors and stole away one of the best producers in the NBA on the offensive side in Richard Jefferson.
One year was enough for RJ as he was quickly traded away at the end of the season. He averaged 20 points and five rebounds which are the numbers Jefferson has put out consistently every year in the league. He is a very underrated offensive threat and fills in the small forward position for a Spurs team that was lacking depth at the three spot.
By bringing in Jefferson, the Spurs lost out on hometown favorite Bruce Bowen. While Bowen was a little to non-threat as an offensive player, it was his frustrating, dangerous defense that kept him around for so long.
Bowen will be missed as a defender and most of all by the city of San Antonio, but this trade was for the best and vaults the Spurs near, if not to the top of the Western conference power rankings.
The combined scoring of Bowen, Thomas, and Oberto last year added up to barely half of what Jefferson makes per game. With Parker and Duncan as the leading scorers of the Spurs, this could be one of the top three-headed monsters in the game, which will cause problems for Western conference powerhouses such as the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Spurs success over the past decade can be credited to "The Big Fundamental" Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. The combination of Parker and Duncan has won three championships with all three coming in the past seven years. They are arguably the best combination in the NBA at the moment and could be discussed amongst the best historically.
Duncan has been fantastic from the start when he won his rookie of the year award in the 1997-98 season averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds. A lot has happened between then and now, and nothing has changed in Duncan's game. He has averaged a double-double for his entire career and averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds last year. While some might criticize him for his lack of intensity and emotion, numbers don't lie and championship rings don't either.
Over the past few years, Tony Parker has emerged as a team leader and has a created a great chemistry with Duncan in their postseason pushes. Eight years into his NBA career, Parker had the best season of his career posting a high of 22 points and seven assists per game. He also had a career high 55 point game which led his team to a victory.
Tony has become one of the top point guards in this league and with leadership and determination on his side, three championships are only the few of many more to come if he can get Duncan to will out a few more in his waning career.
Usually with championships, it takes more than two superstars to win it. It needs a supporting cast and the Spurs have one of the best. When they brought in Roger Mason last year, it wasn't too publicized due to the fact that Mason was not much of a scorer or much else.
It wasn't until he came to the Spurs that he finally decided to become the NBA player many had hoped he would be. He averaged a career high 11 points, three rebounds, and two three-pointers per game last year in his first season with the Spurs.
He has become a reliable role player and one of the top three-point shooting players in the NBA and luckily to San Antonio, he decided to break out of his shell the moment they picked him up from the Washington Wizards. He is sure to be the team's starting shooting guard next year and will more than likely produce even more than he did last year.
Not only is Mason a reliable scoring option, the Spurs also managed to steal Antonio McDyess away from the Detroit Pistons. McDyess is another great role player and could be a huge factor on the postseason road.
He has a consistent jumper and plays hard defense which is perfect for the Spurs style of play. His numbers have gone down in the past due to his age and role on a team, but he is always ready to knock down 10 points on average in a contest.
The bench has been very kind to San Antonio as well due to the fact it has one of the best sixth men in the league. Manu Ginobili sat out most of the season last year with an injury, which could be the reason why the Spurs did poorly in the postseason, but in the games he played he still averaged 16 points per game which is the usual numbers Ginobili puts up per game off the bench.
He is a threat on each side of the court and comes up huge for the team when they need him. This could also be the reason why the Spurs were not too successful last season in the postseason.
Usually they could rely on a threat off the bench which is Ginobili, but they lost this for the postseason and they suffered one of their worst postseason losses in a decade. He's the X-factor for this team and is the most dangerous bench player in all of the NBA.
When a team has a good season, they usually end up picking some non-factors from the draft in the late picks.
Once again, the Spurs like to prove they are different.
They took one of the most underrated players in the draft in DeJuan Blair in the second round after he was projected to be a late first round pick. Blair's stock dropped because of his small stature as a center, but he was one of the best rebounders at the college ranks last year averaging nearly 12 per game as a 6'7" center.
He has a knack for offensive rebounding mostly, as he led the NCAA last year with six per game. That means half of his rebounding came off of offensive boards, which is always an advantage for your team.
Not only did they take Blair, but they also selected one of the most talented scorers in Jack McClinton. In his time at Miami, he averaged 19 points with nine of those coming off of three's.
As arguably the best three-point shooter of the draft, McClinton could see a lot of playing time later on. He could be declared the Spurs second steal after being taken late in the second round.
As we can tell by the offseason moves the Spurs have made, they appear ready to make one of their strongest championship pushes since their last appearance three years ago.
They are always a threat, and have one of their best teams assembled ready for the 2009-10 season. By adding scorers and role players, this San Antonio team could be seeing it's fourth championship in eight years this coming June.
Projected Starting Lineup
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