2009-2010 San Antonio Spurs Season Preview
By Ryno of Predictem.com
Last Season’s Record: 54-28
Head Coach: Gregg Popovich
Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Tony Parker 6-2
SG: Manu Ginobili 6-6
SF: Richard Jefferson 6-7
PF: DeJuan Blair 6-7
C: Tim Duncan 6-11
Key Reserves: Michael Finley 6-7 SG, George Hill 6-2 PG, Roger Mason 6-5 SG, Antonio McDyess 6-9 PF
Current 2010 NBA Championship Odds: 15-2 at Bodog Sportsbook.
As long as Tim Duncan is still playing, the Spurs will always be a top contender in the NBA. In 12 seasons, Duncan has four NBA championships, and he will try to make it five this year. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are still there to form one of the longest standing trios in the league. But now Richard Jefferson joins that core. The Lakers are the reigning NBA champions and the clear favorites in the Western Conference, but if any team can defeat them in a seven-game series, it’s the Spurs.
Who’s In/Who’s Out
Jefferson was traded to the Spurs in the offseason. He replaces Bruce Bowen, who was traded and then retired. Jefferson isn’t the same defensive stopper as Bowen, but he provides a lot more offense. Jefferson has a decent jump shot, but he is especially a good slasher. He can take his defender off the dribble and get to the basket. The Spurs got a steal in the second round of the NBA Draft with DeJuan Blair, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Pittsburgh. Blair is a strong big man with great rebounding ability and work ethic. Antonio McDyess was acquired in the offseason to give the Spurs depth in the frontcourt. McDyess is a 15th year veteran who played for the Pistons the last few years.
Parker is one of the top point guards in the league. He has three championships in eight years and is still only 27 years old. As long as he and Duncan are healthy, the Spurs will always be one of the top teams in the league. Parker and Ginobili form one of the best backcourts in the NBA. Both players can shoot from outside or drive to the basket. Michael Finley and Roger Mason give them two more veterans in the rotation. Mason came along last year and hit some big shots for the Spurs. He is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league. George Hill was a rookie last year after being drafted by the Spurs in the first round. He is a solid floor leader who will see some time backing up Parker.
Duncan, Blair and McDyess are the main big men for the Spurs. Either Blair or McDyess could start. It just depends whether Gregg Popovich wants to go with the rookie or the veteran. McDyess gives them more height and experience, but Blair gives them more strength and energy. Duncan may not be what he was five years ago, but he is still an elite big man in this league. He can dominate around the rim or he can step out and hit his patented 15-foot bank shot.
The Spurs have as much experience as any team in the NBA. Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have been in San Antonio almost as long as The Alamo. The three of them know how to play off of each other and are very difficult to defend. Having Popovich as their coach is also a strength for this team. He has been in San Antonio longer than Duncan. The Spurs are one of the best defensive teams in the league. Duncan can defend any big man in the league. Parker, Ginobili and Jefferson can defend any perimeter players.
There is a good chance that at least a player or two on this team will have injury problems. That’s just how it works with so many older players. It’s good to have experienced veterans, but having an old roster can be a weakness. The Spurs already lack depth, so injuries could hurt their depth even further. They especially lack depth in the frontcourt, where Duncan, Blair and McDyess are their only solid big men.
Betting Odds and Projections
The Spurs are listed on Bodog with 15-2 odds to win the 2010 NBA Championship. If the Lakers don’t come out of the West, the Spurs have as good of a chance as any team to get to the NBA Finals. But betting against the Lakers is tough to do. Even if the Spurs did get past the Lakers, the Cavs and Celtics would likely be favored over the Spurs. The key for the Spurs is staying healthy. If their key players are there for the whole season and are 100 percent in the playoffs, this team can go deep. They will likely win their division title and earn a top three seed, but figuring out how to defeat the Lakers will be a difficult task.