Before the season actually comes around and spoils everyone’s fun, let’s take our time to embrace optimism and tell you why your team will win the title. We continue with the San Antonio Spurs.
San Antonio was the big winner of the offseason, signing LaMarcus Aldridge to a maximum contract to add to the already loaded roster (while keeping Danny Green). Now, the Spurs boast the best coach in the league, one of the best players of all time who can still dominate when called upon, and a stud on the wing entering his prime and a star in the frontcourt in his prime.
Kawhi Leonard is poised to take another step forward this year. He started out last season recovering from injuries, including a bizarre hand issue. It took him awhile to really get going offensively, but he shouldn’t have those problems this year.
Leonard is already one of the best players in the league, even if he isn’t recognized as such. He’s the best perimeter defender in the league by a comfortable margin. He has a versatile offensive game that’s improved every year. If he can improve incrementally this season, it’ll be a nightmare for the rest of the league.
Aldridge will take some of the burden off Tim Duncan in the frontcourt and be a key cog in the offense. Anyone worried about Aldridge’s fit should relax, as he has good enough vision to keep the ball moving when needed and knows exactly what his strengths are.
Defensively, Aldridge wasn’t great last year, but he has the skills to improve and should be better alongside Duncan.
Tony Parker looked hurt down the stretch and wasn’t himself. It’s possible age caught up to him, but if he can be just a bit better than he was last season, it’ll help immensely. There isn’t pressure on Parker to be the #1 or #2 guy anymore, so maybe he can ease into a slightly reduced role and thrive in it.
The Spurs now have the extra weapon the team needs to take down the Clippers. The series was as close as it gets last year and was the best series of the postseason. Despite all the attention the DeAndre Jordan saga received, San Antonio improved more in the offseason.
The biggest threat to the Spurs will be the defending champion Golden State Warriors, but San Antonio matched up well in the regular season. The Spurs were 2-1 against Golden State, and although it’s usually foolish to put too much stock in those games, San Antonio seemed to have an effective game plan for the explosive Warriors offense. To have a chance against the Warriors’ defense, teams need five guys on the floor who can score, and the Spurs will run out a starting lineup of five real weapons.
Ever since Aldridge made his decision to sign with San Antonio, the team has been one of the favorites to win the championship, and for good reason. With some health luck, Duncan and Co. could easily bring yet another title to San Antonio.