Can the Spurs survive without Duncan or Ginobili?


All San Antonio Spurs fans collectively gasped at the sight of San Antonio Spurs’ forward Tim Duncan’s fall to the court in the game against the Golden State Warriors in January.

Fortunately for the Spurs Duncan was fine and fans breathed a sigh of relief. However, it made me think, can the Spurs survive without Duncan or Manu Ginobili for a while should either suffer an injury?

The Spurs are having one of their best seasons in recent memory. Fifty games into the season, the Spurs hold an NBA best 42-8 record.

Who would have thought they will be the league’s best team at this point of the season? Not many people can claim they saw this coming and maybe no one can.

Hit the jump to see how the numbers stack up for the Spurs with Duncan and Ginobili on the court and more.

Despite being counted out by most NBA observers because of another disappointing playoff exit from last season and aging core, the Spurs somehow managed to stay afloat and are now considered serious title contenders once again. There are many reasons why the Spurs are having this kind of success this season and one of them is health.

With a healthy lineup and practically the same team from last season, the Spurs are one of the most balanced teams when it comes to offense and it could be argued that they might be a better offensive squad right now than most of their championship teams. 

Now more than ever, Ginobili has made it clear he is the team’s go-to-guy when it comes to crunch time and has become a more vocal leader of the team while Tim Duncan remains the team’s foundation on the defensive end and continues to lead by example. 

Ginobili has been more assertive and is currently leading the team with 18.5 points per ball game and his 1.8 steal average is a career high pace.

Tim Duncan’s numbers on the other hand, have declined across the board, his 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 29.1 minutes per game are all career lows. But the main reason behind it could be the Spurs’ offense have shifted more on the backcourt this season than in years past. 

However, his average of 1.92 blocks per game is his highest since the 2007-08 season which is amazing when you consider that his minutes per game has dropped dramatically.

Here are some interesting numbers to ponder.

When Ginobili has:

• Seven or more assists, the Spurs are 11-0

• 18 or more points, the Spurs are 26-3

• One or more blocks, the Spurs are 17-2

• Two steals or more, the Spurs are 23-3.

• Played 35 minutes or more, the Spurs are 13-1

• Shot 38% or better from three point range, the Spurs are 20-2  

• Shot 46% or better from the floor, the Spurs are 18-2

When Duncan has:

• Nine or more rebounds, the Spurs are 24-0

• Seven or more defensive rebounds, the Spurs are 23-0

• Three or more blocks, the Spurs are 18-0

• 19 or more points, the Spurs are 10-0

• Five assists or more, the Spurs are 9-0

• Two steals or more, the Spurs are 7-0 

• Played 33 minutes or more, the Spurs are 16-1 

• Shot 43% or better from the floor, the Spurs are 26-4 

Obviously, the Spurs will not have such a great season without their two stars healthy.

However, their reason for success does not rely heavily on the shoulders of either Duncan and Ginobili. This year more than ever, the Spurs’ supporting cast are lending a big hand. Tony Parker has been playing one of his best seasons, DeJuan Blair continues to thrive, learn and hold the middle down as the team’s starting center. George Hill is a steady hand from the bench, Antonio McDyess is providing veteran smarts on and off the court, and rookie Gary Neal has made their bench more dangerous.

Having said that, it’s obvious the Spurs are better with Duncan and Ginobili. No one will disagree with that statement. 

But Duncan is no longer dominant in the paint as in seasons past and Ginobili does have a history of injuries but can the Spurs survive without one of them for a stretch of games?

I know most you could not even think about the Spurs without either of them but it’s just a question that needed to be asked to Spurs fans.

Fire away at the comment section. 

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