The San Antonio Spurs enter this season with a worse overall team than last year in comparison to the Western Conference improvements.
With the improvement exceptions of the Danny Ferry hiring in the front office and the signing of rookie center Tiago Splitter, little changed to improve the Spurs shaky footing in the Western Conference.
And Splitter will spit blood at the seasoned NBA referees before he gets favorable calls. Veterans will sweep the floor with the tall rookie.
After being swept in the Conference Semifinals last season, what are they thinking? Allow me to explain their thought process.
This season, the Spurs will play out the string until they are ready to make a play for a Tony Parker trade to the best bidder.
That’s right, the Alamo City’s favorite pro team has little chance of dethroning the mighty Lakers this season and this campaign could enter survival mode by the All-Star break.
Superstar Tim Duncan is on his last legs despite dropping at least twenty pounds in the course of the last two off-seasons. Timmy is one of the best power forwards to ever play in the NBA, but even Michael Jordan gave in to the dog years of the hard court.
Roger Mason II and Keith Bogans won’t be missed, but who replaced them that will fare any better? The Spurs will be shown to be woeful in the area of help off the bench from the guard position: Manu Ginobili is the lone reliable threat.
I hope I’m wrong, but this (me being wrong) has been an unreliable proposition.
Ginobili has been showing signs of a total collapse over the last two seasons, and his coming into camp healthy this season provides room for George W. Bush smirk-faced optimism.
But the Spurs formula of bringing their best scorer off the bench was figured out three seasons ago, and head coach Greg Popovich, a chemistry buff, would be wise to concoct a new mixture.
Tony Parker is mixed up in his contract year, and he wants to impress the rest of the league (the Lakers and the Knicks in specific): a move to either coast would be great for Tony’s possible future career in acting.
Even if he was not married to the petite, curvy, and charming actress and model, Eva Longoria, I believe Tony would venture into acting. And judging by the commercials he’s starred in on local San Antonio television, “mad cap adventure into acting” is a better phrase.
But what do movie producers care about acting skills when Parker is concerned?
With apologies to Dennis “The Worm” Rodman, “Pretty Tony” is considered the handsomest Spur, ever, by many of the women who reside in San Antonio: Eva Longoria would agree, and she was considered average looking in her own family, by her own humble account.
The Spurs petite back court will find treading tougher in the Western Conference where the trend is moving fast in the direction of longer, lightning quick, and high-flying guards.
Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry will be an improved combination of talent, hunger, and heart. Ellis is being billed as having Dwayne Wade-like ball skills, and Monta is bracing for a big year.
Expect a big year from Golden State’s guards as well as Oklahoma City’s.
A Thunder and Team USA point guard, Russell Westbrook is every bit as speedy as Tony Parker, but Russell has much more strength and lift near the bucket.
Tony “Buckets” Parker has never been known as a defensive wizard: the label the Spurs forced on combo guard George Hill.
Teams will continue to go at Tony and George, and San Antonio’s starting guard duo will continue to return the favor. Last I checked, though, this makes things equal in a game.
George Hill is Parker’s equal heir apparent, but Hill was Suns-burned in the playoffs last May.
Last season, the month of May 3-pointer showering Phoenix Suns beat the Spurs 2 -1 in the regular season: the Suns victories were by an average of 11 points, while the Spurs lone victory was by 3 points.
In the playoffs, the Spurs starters failed in a miserable manner to contain the Phoenix bench, led by 6-4 shooter and disher Goran Dragic.
The Suns swept the Spurs in the 2010 NBA Western Conference Semifinals.
Head coach Alvin Gentry popped King Popovich in their chess match, and Gentry is eager to prove that last year was real: the Suns may in fact be the Lakers most adept challengers.
It could also be that the Suns will take a step back without versatile Amare Stoudamire who was shipped to the New York Knicks in a sign and trade deal for a future second-round pick.
Seeing that versatile 6-8 guard and pick-pocket defender Josh Childress and 6-10 ball-handler Hedo Turkoglu were added to the Suns roster this year, Phoenix may again draw up the Spurs undoing.
Everyone will blame the Spurs demise this season on Duncan’s age, but the fact is that the Western Conference is bigger and better this season, and Los Angeles under Phil Jackson is hyped at the possibility of tying the Celtics for the most championships in NBA history.
This just in, Phil Jackson would love to cause the Spurs to rebuild.
San Antonio’s most hated opponents by far; the Lakers may have improved their roster more than any NBA team: they added Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff, and Matt Barnes. And folks are sleeping on the mega-talented Lakers draftees: rookies Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks.
Bank on this: Spurs fan will panic after another disappointing season for their beloved team.