Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Big Question for the Spurs in 2017

With the summer winding down and the start of the NBA 2017-2018 regular season fast approaching, we find the Spurs in something of an interesting holding pattern. Fairly or unfairly so, LaMarcus Aldridge in a Spurs uniform has been considered a general disappointment, especially after his general disappearance in the playoffs following the season ending ankle injury to Kawhi Leonard. As summer progressed it became rumored that Aldridge and the Spurs were unhappy with one another, even going as far as having the Spurs reportedly offering Aldridge for a 1st round draft pick. Since the draft, nothing really league shaking has happened. The Spurs made two savvy draft picks with the 29th and 59th picks in the 2017 NBA Draft in Derrick White and Jaron Blossomgame.  The Spurs quietly signed Rudy Gay and re-signed Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, and Pau Gasol. With the injury to Tony Parker leaving him out until 2018, one of the big questions for the Spurs is the development of 2nd year point guard Dejounte Murray, who performed admirably during the playoffs after Parker ruptured his quadriceps tendon in the 2nd round against the Rockets.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Unfettered Optimism: Summer Signings

I believe that Spurs have made most of the moves that they're going to make. If we assume that the imminent signings of Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol then most of the signings are pretty much complete, at least as far as I can see in terms of the main players on the roster. Granted, there might be a few more signings or people that surprise during training camp. Here's where I see the roster as the season begins:

PG - Patty Mills, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Tony Parker
SG - Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, Brandon Paul
SF - Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gay, Kyle Anderson
PF - LaMarcus Aldridge, Davis Bertans
C - Pau Gasol, Joffrey Lauvergne

Officially, Bryn Forbes (who has been lighting up the Summer League) and 2nd round pick Jaron Blossomgame have not yet signed contracts with the team, but to be honest, I've never been 100% convinced about Bryn Forbes. He has the ability to be a Roger Mason or Gary Neal type player at best and frankly Patty Mills works out better. I also am not sure what exactly will happen with Adam Hanga joining at least training camp, hopefully he'll pan out slightly better than Livio Jean-Charles.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Reacting to summer trades so far...

Summer is here and that means all the speculation, trades, and reshuffling the NBA goes through during the summer. The draft has occurred and I'll put out a post regarding my thoughts on the Spurs' draft picks, though there's not much to say, they made smart picks with their typical late 1st round and 2nd round picks. However, this post will be about the two major trades that have happened so far. Granted, every team is still trying to see if they can land Paul George and/or Gordon Hayward.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Looking at Positional Needs: Assessing Wing Depth

Looking at the Spurs this off-season there are a lot of needs to be addressed. I'm hoping to put out a series of posts that detail some of the options we have at each position this off-season. However, before we get there, we have to understand the situation that the Spurs have on their hands. That means a quick (and casual) look at the Spurs' salary cap situation.

From a cursory glance, we can surmise that the salary cap for next season will be $101 million, which is the important number for us. Another slightly less important number is the $121 million luxury tax threshold. (Note: salary figures provided by HoopsHype). I'm not going to get into the cap holds for players on the Spurs' roster entering free agency, but will simply illustrate the best case scenario here. Let's also not forget that many are already looking towards the 2018 free agent class which includes both Paul George and LeBron James.
Let's assume Manu retires and all players with options opt out. This means that the Spurs will have about $72 million in salary wrapped up. Sounds good right? However, if we look at the roster under that assumption:
PG - Tony Parker, Dejounte Murray
SG - Danny Green, Bryn Forbes
SF - Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Anderson
PF - LaMarcus Aldridge, Davis Bertans
While we're technically still paying for Livio Jean-Charles, I don't know that he's coming back to the roster anytime soon.
As reference, let's look at all of the Spurs' draft-and-stash players they have available to them: Adam Hanga (SG/SF), Nemanja Dangubic (SG), Nikola Milutinov (C). We'll discuss them as their position comes up.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Looking at Positonal Needs: Manning the Point

So as we approach the end of the NBA season, with the possibility of the Cavaliers commemorating 10 years since LeBron James's first Finals appearance with another sweep, some would argue that the NBA postseason has been somewhat anti-climatic. The teams that were supposed to win generally won, there never was any real question of an upset. Looming on the Spurs' radar though, outside of the general well-being of Kawhi Leonard's ankle, is the off-season, a time of relative uncertainty, especially if the Spurs expect to be big players, a role that they have generally avoided during the Tim Duncan era. The lone exception was the courtship and signing of LaMarcus Aldridge two seasons ago.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Beginning of the Post-Duncan Big Three Era: Looking Forward to the Kawhi-Era Spurs

With one season down, albeit, finished rather anti-climatically, ending with an unfortunate and fairly scary injury to Tony Parker (ruptured quadriceps tendon) and a poorly executed Zaza Pachulia close-out, after watching the game and seeing how Pop treated Kawhi after the sprain in Game 5 of the Rockets series I would surmise that Pop was just kind of riding however far the team could go in the playoffs because fairly, the Spurs didn't have much shot without Tony Parker and even less of one without Kawhi Leonard. This was quickly demonstrated by a convincing four game sweep of the Spurs out of the Western Conference Finals by the dominant Golden State Warriors. While many Spurs fans will point to the fact that this was something of a rebuilding year for the Spurs, which is crazy, considering it was just another ho-hum 50 win year for Gregg Popovich, but let's be honest, there is some merit to that. There were 7 new players on the roster (Pau Gasol, David Lee, Dewayne Dedmon, Davis Bertans, Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, and Joel Anthony), but most importantly, Tim Duncan, a fixture since the 1997-1998 season was no longer on the roster.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Unfettered Optimism: New faces and young guns

Tim Duncan retired. It's kind of the end of an era for the Spurs. Strange to say it, but essentially the Spurs are sort of officially in a rebuild phase. Yes, we still have Tony and Manu (albeit on the last legs of their careers), yes we did sign Pau (also last legs), but Timmy was the cornerstone for the franchise for arguably his entire 19 year career. Yet this is what makes the Spurs amazing. For most NBA teams the word "rebuilding" means that you're bottom feeding in the standings, looking for that lottery pick that will change your fortunes (e.g. the 76ers). It's interesting to note, that no team with a top five pick has jumped from lottery to the playoffs since 2003, no rookie has had that sort of impact since Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade (not gonna count Darko even though he technically won a championship his rookie year, because frankly, Larry Brown hated playing rookies). Currently, as stars of the early 2000s (e.g. Duncan, Kobe Bryant, and Dirk Nowitzki, sorry but Kevin Garnett hasn't really been super relevant for the better part of the last decade) begin to fade into the sunset most teams are either rebuilding (e.g. the Lakers now that Kobe is gone) or anticipating a rebuild (e.g. the Mavericks once Dirk is gone). That's what happens when you lose a pillar of the team.