As many San Antonio Spurs fans cringe at the thought of having one of the smallest front-line in the NBA with a new season starting in a week, Jan Hubbard of Sheridan Hoops doesn’t totally agree with their thought process.
In a piece that almost made me open my eyes, Hubbard gives several reasons why the Spurs still have a legitimate chance at winning the NBA championship one last time. Hubbard uses a variety of arguments such as Manu Ginobili’s late season injury, the splash of youth, and a weaker Western Conference.
“We won 61 games, one game behind (the Bulls for best league record) in the regular season.” Ginobili said when Spurs training camp began. “We cannot become that much older in a year.”
”We’ve always had a decent number of young guys (who played),” said Popovich, who couldn’t resist a joke. “It’s just that everybody concentrates on Tim, Tony and Manu and thinks of those three guys. When Robert (Horry) played for us I think he was 44 or 45. He used to do all the hamburger commercials. But we’ve always had a few young guys.”
With veteran Antonio McDyess retiring, the Spurs are only left with Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, DeJuan Blair, and Matt Bonner. I know Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, and Darrell Arthur hurt the Spurs badly in the paint last season, but could a healthier Ginobili and a more productive front line the small forward position really have made a difference in a close six-game series?
I might also say “yes” as Hubbard did. What if that extra piece of Ginobili launched the Spurs into the second round, they probably could have beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder then moved onto the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat. They may still try to go out and look for a big man this season, but it’s going to be hard to find one who makes a difference with the minimal amount of cap room the team has right now.
If the team could finish with the best record with an aging group last season, it’s unknown if they’ll fall of the map in a 66-game schedule. The only choice for the team might be to just play out the season with the group they have and hope, they either win or lose in the end. But as long as they face that outcome healthy.