The San Antonio Spurs is considered the most consistent basketball team over the past 2 decades and they look set for another deep playoff run as they aim for another championship.
The San Antonio Spurs have been a legitimate title contender for the past 20 years now but like every team, they have strengths to use extensively and weaknesses that others could exploit. So let’s take a look as to what it would take for the Spurs to win it all this season.
Weaknesses – LaMarcus Aldridge, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker
LaMarcus Aldridge has finally adjusted to the Spurs’ system but his offense has fallen off compared to his performance last year.
The Spurs have used him to pop up and shoot 3s this season and that could’ve affected how he operates offensively. He’s finally making deep shots at a competent 41% compared to last year’s blunder but that doesn’t mean that it has made him more effective. Why? Because Aldridge’s best qualities is his post-up game and his mid-range jumpers but those shots aren’t falling like they used to.
Manu Ginobili on the other hand is 3 months away from being 40 years old. Yes, you’ve heard that right. One of the cornerstones of the Spurs’ dynasty is close to retiring and it has translated on the court.
Ginobili has done a great job of being the efficient go to scorer that the Spurs need while being an all-around pest on the defensive end. While all of skills have mostly been the same especially for a 39 year old man, he’s not as efficient as he used to be at scoring buckets. This has been the first time in Ginobili’s career that he’s shot below 40% and it could mean that Father Time is ready to take another basketball legend off the hardwood.
Lastly, we have Tony Parker who has regressed defensively while losing his shooting touch from deep in the process. Parker’s defense is beginning to be a liability for the Spurs as he begins to slow down with age. So let’s chalk that up for another win in favor of Father Time. To add to that, he’s only shooting at around 33% from 3-point range compared to 41% last year.
Strengths – Coaching and Defense
Despite some noticeable weaknesses, the Spurs have always been in good hands because of Gregg Popovich. His uncanny ability to muster his resources to make a well-oiled team regardless of who’s on the roster has been unprecedented to say the least.
The All-Time Winningest Coach in the NBA is a wizard with the x’s and o’s. He’s been able to cover up each of his players’ weaknesses on the court with various adjustments. His most used line-up isn’t even close with the most used one in the league.
This just proves that he’s a master at balancing his players’ time on the hardwood while maintaining maximum efficiency to put them in the best position to succeed. But all of his basketball victories would be for naught had his team elected not to buy into his coaching philosophies.
The culture that the Spurs have is deeply ingrained within each individual in their organization and if there’s one thing that stood out, that would be their consistent defense. They lead the league by only allowing 104.25 points out of 100 possessions and they’ve been in the top 3 in defensive efficiency for 5 years now. Without each of his players’ willingness to provide help on defense or switch with their defensive assignments while being able to recover to the open man, the Spurs might not be as deadly as it is now. Their hustle and grit easily makes them one of the most feared teams in the NBA.
What would it take for the Spurs to win it all?
With Popovich on your coaching team, you will always have a shot at that elusive championship. But if the Spurs want to smell a locker room filled with champagne again, they simply can’t rely on Popovich’s genius alone.
First, Aldridge has to demand the ball in the post more. He’s got to execute better and find some easy shots for himself instead of relying on his teammates too much. If his 3-point shooting slacks off due to the imposing defense that each team brings in the playoffs, he’s got to get easy buckets near the basket to get himself going. If the Spurs are going to win a championship this year, they just can’t rely on Kawhi Leonard to be their only go to scorer.
Secondly, they’ve got to use Jonathon Simmons more instead of Ginobili. Simmons might not be better from 3-point range or more experienced than Ginobili but he can get to the basket better because of his athleticism. His youth is also going to give the Spurs a much needed boost in defense. In retrospect, the