After the major power move that the Golden State Warriors pulled of this summer, we wonder if the San Antonio Spurs can still compete out West.
After the retirement of Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs lost one of the greatest defensive presences of all-time. He was even great in his final season.
Now at that moment you might have thought that the Spurs would no longer be a real threat in the Western Conference based on the birth of the super team in Golden State; well think again.
With the signing of Pau Gasol, the Spurs will be right back in the mix of contenders. Even though father time is catching up, Gasol can still produce at a high level. Per 36 minutes, he is projected to average 19 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and nearly two blocks per game.
During the offseason, I heard about Gasol’s lack of defense way too many times. The oldest Gasol brother deserves some credit on that end of the floor and the numbers show. He averaged two blocks per game last season which was good for 5th in the league. He also blocked a total of 146 shots and that placed him 4th in the league.
His ability to block shots also forces offensive players to adjust when they are near the paint area. Don’t expect the Spurs defense to drop off too much in Duncan’s absence.
Four of the Spurs’ five key guys from the previous season still remain. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, and LaMarcus Aldridge look to get their team back in the NBA Finals after a two year absence.
Kawhi Leonard is on pace for his third straight Defensive Player of the Year award. Dwight Howard is currently the only player in NBA history to achieve that feat. Tony Parker’s numbers may be down but that’s because Pop has been lessening his minutes. He still proves to be an efficient scorer and that will be key for this Spurs offense.
After the 2015-16 season, there were chirps around the league about Ginobili retiring. He announced that he would play another season just days before the world found out that his longtime teammate Tim Duncan was retiring.
His announcement put those rumors to rest. This upcoming 2016-17 season Ginobili returns with his dazzling plays that will excite NBA fans across the globe. With the retirement of Duncan, the Spurs will need more from Lamarcus Aldridge.
The 6-foot-11 stud definitely has the skills needed to step up. There’s a chance he won’t make the all-star team because of the emergence of Karl-Anthony Towns, who is already considered a top 5 big man around the league but you can still expect another all-star type of year from Aldridge.
San Antonio fans are in for something special this year. I believe they will meet the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the NBA and with him still running things; it’s looking like another 50-win season in what will be the 18th consecutive year for the San Antonio Spurs.
NBA fans of all ages, get ready to potentially see this great team give Golden State a run for their money. Something we were robbed of last season.
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