Tim Duncan. Manu Ginobili. Tony Parker. Bruce Bowen. Uh, Fabricio Oberto? Kurt Thomas maybe?
This looks to be the starting lineup for the San Antonio Spurs at the beginning of the 09' NBA season. But is this lineup alone with a less stacked bench than prior years ready for a run at the championship?
Starters such as Ginobili and Duncan look to carry the team as usual into the playoff stretch this year, much like the prior years when the Spurs have dominated. However, unlike the past few years, the team looks a little weak where they have always been strong...in their bench.
With uncertainties in remaining free agents Michael Finley, and Damon Stoudamire, it looks like the Spurs need to make a few moves during the offseason to be once again in line to go deep into the playoffs.
The Western Conference has shown itself to be a very tough conference, with some of the better teams being left out of the playoff picture. If the Spurs aren't careful, they could be on the outside looking in this season.
With hardly any free agents worth while left on the market, it seems as though the Spurs will have to go young, or make a move via trades to improve a team that is rapidly aging.
The Spurs for years have been left without a dominant force down low besides Tim Duncan since the "Twin Tower" dynasty ended when David Robinson retired. It may be time to usher in a new era with France center Ian Mahinmi.
Is it possible the Spurs run at playoff greatness may be coming to a close? Not if Coach Gregg Popovich has anything to say about it.
Regardless of their roster, expect the 08-09 Spurs to remain competitive with an experienced starting five.