For the first time in two decades, the San Antonio Spurs will take to the court without Tim Duncan. The retirement of a surefire Hall of Famer may be reason to panic for most teams, but this is the Spurs we’re talking about. The team signed Pau Gasol to fill the void that Duncan left and – in all honesty – it is likely a step in the right direction.
There is a bit of a concern in the depth of the frontcourt, as the team had to jettison Boris Diaw in order to free up cap space to sign Gasol. LaMarcus Aldridge and Gasol will be a dynamic duo, but backups Dewayne Dedmon and David Lee leave a lot to be desired.
However, with Gregg Popovich at the helm and stoic franchise cornerstone Kawhi Leonard playing the best two-way game in the NBA, the Spurs aren’t likely going to see any drastic change in their record heading into this season. The team may see a bit of a drop in its historically good defense last season, but the expected offensive boost should easily make up for this.
Let’s face it, the Spurs are still an old team. Sure, Leonard, Aldridge and 3-and-D specialist Danny Green are all young and mobile. However, Gasol and Tony Parker are both aging and far from the picture of speed. This is a major concern considering they play in the Western Conference with the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, who will all push a ridiculous pace.
NBA Championship +900/Western Conference +450
The Spurs will still be a contender; there is absolutely no doubt about that. Talent will go a long way to hiding deficiencies on any team and that is especially true to San Antonio. Pop is potentially the best coach in history at putting his players in the prime position to succeed and that isn’t changing this season.
However, at what point does youth and energy simply outweigh experience and talent? The Spurs should cruise into the playoffs without a problem, but keeping up with the Warriors and Thunder may not be possible. Tony Parker is still one of the savviest point guards in the NBA, but watching him face off against the likes of Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook and James Harden in a seven-game series is not going to go well.
Southwest Division -750
The Southwest Division kind of sucks. The Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans had a combined winning percentage of 47.3% last season. The Spurs have not finished with less than a .610 winning percentage in the past 19 seasons.
Zero value, but almost guaranteed that the Spurs win the Southwest.
OVER/UNDER Win Total 58.5
San Antonio has the second-highest win total in the NBA, only behind the absurdly stacked Warriors. It is hard to argue, as the Coach Pop-led Spurs are one of the greatest regular season teams in NBA history. San Antonio has averaged 55.7 wins in the 18 full-length seasons with Popovich at the helm – this excludes the shortened 1998-99 and 2011-12 seasons.
However, the Spurs have only eclipsed 58.5 wins in two of their past five seasons and have not done so in back-to-back campaigns since 2006. Everyone knows that there are several key players that will need to rest during the season – especially leading into the playoffs. And with a complete lack of depth, you can easily see San Antonio losing a few extra games that they could probably win if they wanted to.
Odds as of October 20 at Sportsbook