Last year’s record: 54-28
Head coach: Gregg Popovich
Projected Starters: Tony Parker, Roger Mason, Jr., Richard Jefferson, Tim Duncan, Antonio McDyess
Like most of the NBA’s contenders, the Spurs re-tooled over the offeason. Adding Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess (not to mention rookie DeJuan Blair) to an already talent-laden roster could mean another championship for the bland boys from San Antone.
Jay – George Hill. If Hill can become a solid backup for Parker, the Spurs have depth and talent at every position.
Tommy – Ginobli; The most underrated player in the league. I know he’s had health issues,but when healthy, Manu is a cold-blooded killer. He rounds out the top 5 assassins in the West, along with Kobe, ‘Melo, Roy, and Paul.
TJ – Ginobili’s health. The Spurs desperately need the third person of their three-headed monster. Last year, without Manu, Duncan and Parker had to shoulder way too much of the load…
Biggest question mark:
Jay – Do the Spurs stay healthy? The Spurs are old and they are injury-prone. But if they can maintain health, especially for the trio of Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili, they will be RIGHT THERE for the Western Conference and NBA championships.
Tommy – Will the Spurs speed up the tempo at all with newcomer Richard Jefferson running the wing? Tim Duncan has lost about 20 pounds this offseason and Tony Parker is one of the fastest point guards ever. Last year, it looked like San Antonio’s offense needed a shot in the arm.
TJ – Is Richard Jefferson what this team needs on the wing? I’m not sure he is. In his prime, Jefferson was an explosive scorer. But Jefferson is on the way down, and is better suited for a team with quicker tempo. I’m just not sure the Spurs will be seeing a lot of this next season…
Most compelling storyline:
Jay – Tony Parker’s ascent to the Spur’s clear-cut go-to guy. For years in SA, Duncan has been the man, but Parker was the Spurs’ best player last year. He should create an even larger gap between he and Duncan this year.
Tommy – If R.C. Buford and Greg Popovich had a son, his name would be Bill Belichick.
TJ – Dirk should be on his A game this year as his window to win a championship is slowly closing. He has the talent around him; however the elite teams out West have also gotten better. The Mavericks will have their work cut out for them this season.
Player to watch:
Jay – Manu. When Manu is healthy and productive, the Spurs are inevitably one of the NBA’s elite teams. He took the summer off from playing international basketball, and should benefit from the extra rest. Look for a better, healthier season from Manu, one of the league’s greatest competitors.
Tommy – George Hill; The kid has a promising future, but hopes to provide an immediate energy-boost this year off the bench.
TJ – Manu. Contract year, and coming off an injury? It all adds up to an important season for Manu. If he’s good, the Spurs will be great. If he’s hurt, the Spurs will only be good.
Jay – 58-24
Tommy – 59-23
TJ – 60-22