After a disappointing attempt to defend their right as NBA Champions, the San Antonio Spurs bounced back with an offseason that puts them, at least on paper, stronger than ever before. Led once again by Gregg Popovich, the Spurs will look to make the playoffs for the 20th consecutive season.
The acquisition of LaMarcus Aldridge has rejuvenated this Spurs’ team and rightfully so. The 30-year old power forward has been the only player in the league to average at least 21 point and 8 rebounds per game during each of the past 5 seasons. To put that into perspective, no one else has done it more than twice. The Spurs, who haven’t had a player average more than 22 points since 2002-2003, will meet in the middle with their new All-Star and there will likely be an adjustment period early on.
For the Spurs, both Parker and Ginobili are coming off of career worst years in terms of statistical analysis. This is an aging squad that represents the second oldest roster in the league (first in the Western Conference) and rotation management will be crucial in determining their regular season success. With a whopping 18 games on their plate through November, the Spurs luckily have only a total of 3 back-to-back sets this month.
Golden State, San Antonio and Atlanta were the only teams to finish in both top 10 for defensive and offensive efficiency. For the Spurs to keep this up, they are going to need to rely on both their young players and depth. If the Spurs’ usual stars are on strict minute rotations, guys like Leonard, West, Aldridge, Mills, Anderson and Green are going to have to play a bigger role than ever.
The most obvious game to tune into will fall on November 11th when the Spurs take a visit to Portland to take on Aldridge’s old team. The Trailblazers have decided to retool their roster in favour of a youth movement centered around Damian Lillard. Though the Blazers will likely be a non-factor in the Western Conference for a few years, this competition will be an emotionally charged return at the Moda Center. Aldridge will likely see a mixture of cheers and boos and will want to prove that he made the right decision in skipping town in favour of a winning organization. The teams will meet again just 5 days later on November 16th, this time in San Antonio.
Courtesy of 365Rundown.com