San Antonio Spurs: Ranking Their Most Important Players for the Future

Denise CharlesContributor IIIJuly 19, 2011

San Antonio Spurs: Ranking Their Most Important Players for the Future

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    It looks like we're in for the long haul with the lockout…and with that, there are no off-season practices or injuries to write about.  Don’t kick and scream just yet though, there is good news. 

    As of recent, NBA parties have been setting up a meeting for a labor negotiating session between the two sides soon. 

    On that note, we must push forward towards the future and with that, here is a ranking of the San Antonio Spurs most important players. 

Antonio McDyess

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    We barely saw the damage that could be done with McDyess on the court, but nevertheless there was always some harm being done by this 36 year old. 

    If he wasn’t intimidating, the Spurs would not have offered and agreed to an extension of the guaranteed-salary on his contract for the 2011-2012 regular season. 

    He plays for half the time as some of the more well known, but he still averaged .491 in field goal percentage and 5.4 in rebounds.  If that’s not contribution, then I don’t know what is.   

Tim Duncan

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    We all love him…I mean, who couldn’t??? But to be honest, he’s 35 years old.  He’s very near the average retirement age for an NBA player. 

    His 2010-2011 regular season averages were the lowest of his career.  He’s averaged 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 13.4 points per game.  Yes, those numbers aren’t bad, but in comparison to his career averaged 11.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.3 blocks, and 20.6 points per game—something is changing and it doesn’t look like it’s for the better of the Spurs. 

    There’s a reason he didn’t opt out of his final year in his contract with the Spurs for next season. If anything, he can provide lots of experience and advice to his teammates.  However, there is also a reason the Spurs didn’t offer him the same extension of the guaranteed-salary.

Tiago Splitter

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    Spurs fans waited anxiously for him—hoping he would be the complimentary piece to the Spurs and get them a fifth championship. 

    Some will still argue that they would take Splitter over Jefferson…not so fast though.  Not to discredit his talent, but he’s just not as much of a showstopper. 

    Like Gary Neal, it was his first year on the team and in the league (he previously played with Brazil) and aside from his averaged .529 field goal percentage and 3.3 rebounds in the 2010-2011 regular season, that’s all he produced and contributed. 

    It’s not his fault…he did endure an injury while trying to catch-up in the NBA training, but then after missing to recover, he couldn’t catch-up after that.  We’ll still give him credit where credit is due…if he can hang in there this season and prove to be a big asset to the Spurs future. 

Gary Neal

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    He definitely held his own and proved to be the best rookie on the Spurs team.  I wouldn’t have expected less from an unknown player prior to joining the league, but Neal showed what he was made of. 

    At 26 years old, nearing his peak and prime years, he’s averaged .451 in field goal percentage and .419 in three point percentages. 

    He has some fight in him and more importantly some clutch, as he showed during so many game saving clutch three pointers. 

Richard Jefferson

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    Despite the trade rumors, Jefferson managed to stay with the Spurs as they all surprisingly watched George Hill leave.  At 31 years old, Jefferson is another guy still in his prime on the team.  His stats from last season were by far his best.  Averaging .474 in field goal percentages, .440 in three-point percentages, and 3.9 in rebounds, he was amongst the best of the team (granted he’s not considered one of the three big stars of the team). 

Manu Ginobili

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    By far one of the most intense players the Spurs have…watching him at the AT&T Center is amazing because he plays with a lot of fire.  Granted, he is 33 and nearing the end of the tunnel, he still contributes a lot to the Spurs and gets the job done.  With an averaged .433 in field goal percentage, and .349 in three-point percentage…his stats have remained constant throughout his career, thus far. 

Tony Parker

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    He’s actually in the predicted peak years of an NBA player at the age of 29, but I was actually surprised to see him stay on the team (sense a little bias; I’ve never been a big Parker fan—yet, he made it to the top of my list). 

    Yes, we can agree his off-court life didn’t hinder his talent or skills and he helped the Spurs make it to the playoffs.  His stats from the 2010-2011season were some of his best, career-wise.  With an averaged .519 field goal percentage, he boosted his career average of only .493.  His three-point percentage averaged out to a .357, while his career sits below at a mere .315. 

    Although he has a way of magnetically attracting injuries, Parker is still a big asset to the Spurs and will probably remain one for the next 5 years or so.

They Got This...

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    So, even with the loss of George Hill (a trade I still have yet to understand as a Hill fan) hope is not yet lost for Spurs’ fans or players.  From the talented Rookies to the over-aged Vets, everyone will contribute to this team for the better…even if it is just advice based on experience.