After reading the San Antonio Spurs Offseason Report Card on NBA.com, I, for the most part, am in agreement with the conclusion they came to.
To begin, I would say that I fall in the group of Spurs fans that believe continuity is still our best shot at winning another championship this year. That said, I agree with most of the individual grades given in the report.
In the frontcourt, I believe Tim Duncan will have yet another productive year, albeit with a slight drop off in numbers, mostly due to a decrease in minutes played. I also believe Tiago Splitter will continue his personal improvement, and be more comfortable in his starting role. Kawhi Leonard will continue his impressive rise and in my opinion, will also be given more free reign to create for himself within the offense. All in all, I agree with the "A" grade here.
In the backcourt, Tony Parker will continue to regulate on the court. That is just about a given. The biggest question mark here will be Manu Ginobili and how he responds to his mostly disappointing year.
Manu is a warrior, and I am glad he will likely have the opportunity to retire a Spur, but if Spurs are to make it back to the finals this year, he will have to be more of a factor.
I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that Manu will have a solid year.
I think he will make the necessary adjustments to his game to stay competitive at his position. I also expect Danny Green to continue to grow, and be a solid, and even sometimes, spectacular player. Here too I agree with the grade "B" mostly because of the questionable ability of Manu to rebound from last year.
I agree with grade "A" for Spurs return to defensive minded play. The infusion of some much needed youth in the past couple years have allowed Spurs to get back to very solid defense. This will be key to getting back to the finals, with the West having so many very good squads.
On the bench thus far anyway, I would agree with the grade "B". I really like the Marco Belinelli signing and think he will be at least marginally better than Gary Neal. I expect his shooting to be on par with Neal's production, but his handles, defense, and ability to get to the rim to be better. I also like the Jeff Pendergraph signing and believe that he will end up the better fit over DeJuan Blair. He will be capable of mid range shots, good rebounding and solid defense. I also expect Jeff to be getting more playing time by the end of the year than Blair did, and possibly even be part of the playoff rotation. My main reason for not giving Spurs an "A" here is because we still have a hole at small forward.
Lastly, and in the one area where I disagree with the report, I think coaching did take step back this year with the loss of coaches Mike Budenholzer and Brett Brown. Everyone behind head coach Gregg Popovich now is pretty green in my opinion, and I'm just not sure how much Pop will be able to lean on them when he may need to. It's here that I would have graded a "B".
What grade do you give the Spurs' offseason moves? Leave your comments.