Gregg Popovich became the Spurs coach in the 19th game of the 1996 season. The team finished with a 20-62 record. Since then, the Spurs have not had a losing record. What’s crazy is that they have won 50 or more games in 19 of 20 seasons, with six of those being 60+ win seasons. What’s insane is that it should have been 20 out of 20 seasons, as the 1998 season was started late due to the lockout. What’s mind blowing is that the Spurs won the NBA Championship that season!
They’ve never missed the playoffs and are 5-1 in title games. Before I continue, I need some feedback on a very important question. Is it “chip” or “ship” when talking about a championship? Please comment below. Anyways, this is what the 2017 Spurs will be all about:
2016 record: 61-21
- Rudy Gay via free agency
- Joffrey Lauvergne via free agency
- Jonathon Simmons via free agency
- David Lee via free agency
- Dewayne Dedmon via free agency
- Joel Anthony via free agency
The uncertain status of Kawhi Leonard puts a damper on things for San Antonio. With that said, did you read the intro? READ IT AGAIN! As long as Gregg Popovich is coaching and the team has players that can breath, the Spurs will be contenders.
PG – Tony Parker is out until at least December following quad surgery in the offseason. Dejounte Murray will likely start with Patty Mills backing up. They will both get plenty of minutes, though, which crimps the fantasy value of both. Murray is tall at 6′ 5″, can shoot the three well, board, and drop dimes. Due to his length, he could rack up plenty of defensive stats. Mills will also get his pilfer on and drop some dimes, but he’s more known for his sharp shooting (41% from three-land last season).
SG – Danny Green will start with Manu Ginobili backing him up. Green doesn’t shoot particularly well from the field (39% last season), but does shoot the three-ball well (38%). He’ll grab a few boards and steal/block close to one a game, but he’s very inconsistent. Enjoy the ride. Ginobili is 40 years old and still balling. I’ve always hated him (Lakers fan), but had the utmost respect for him. Have always loved his game and mentality. He will be missed when he’s gone. As for fantasy, he’s only going to play around 18 minutes per game. He still shoots well (39% from three-land and 80% from the charity stripe), but won’t provide the volume to accumulate stats. Bryn Forbes is a second-year player that may be a three-point specialist. He won’t get many minutes, but he could see time when the Spurs rest players.
SF – Kawhi Leonard is the starter. As mentioned above, he’s still dealing with a quad issue. It’s kind of scary that there is no timetable yet. You know that Pop manages minutes, so Leonard was expected to miss time and sit in blowouts. Now, this has to knock Kawhi down a bit, as the team will probably be more conservative than normal. Kawhi has increased his ppg in every season. So, it makes sense that his field goal attempts and usage have correspondingly increased as well. The usage rate topped 30% for the first time last season. Kawhi was already a superstar, but it looked like he was ready to take the next step to megastar status. Now…..I’m sad. Anyways, when healthy, Kawhi does it all. Blah blah blah. You don’t need me to tell you that. The Rudy Gay signing makes a lot more sense now, as he will back up Kawhi. Gay is 30 years old and is coming off Achilles surgery, so you know the Spurs will manage his minutes. With that said, he’s always been a talented player and could thrive in this system. Gay shoots the three-ball well (career 35%), boards, dishes dimes, and will get his pilfer and block on. At 6′ 8″, he could also play some power forward and even center, if Pop wants to get funky. Kyle Anderson is third on the depth chart and could share minutes with Gay until Kawhi returns. At 6′ 9″, Kyle is super long, but moves well for a man his size. He shoots the three-ball well (37% last season) and will also contribute across the board. It’s a minutes thing for him.
PF – LaMarcus Aldridge is the starter. With Kawhi down, LMA should have much of the offense run through him. He’s always had a nice mid-range J and turn around in the post, but he’s a finesse big man. And it sounds like it’s both physically and mentally. Anyways, the boards have decreased three straight years, from 10.2 to 8.5 to 7.3. He will block around one per game, though. At 6′ 11″, I’d hope so. I loved Portland LMA, but this Spurs version so far is booty. On the positive, he does shoot a high percentage, from both the field and charity stripe, and should get usage. Davis Bertans is backing up LMA, at least on the depth chart. I’d expect Gay and Gasol to fill in there as well. Bertans is a stretch 4, as he shot 40% from three-land last season.
C – Pau Gasol is the starter with Joffrey Lauvergne the backup. Gasol is 36 years old, so will be given days off and won’t log heavy minutes each game. Maybe around 25. He still shoots a high percentage from the field. 54% from three-land last season? On only 1.6 attempts, so don’t get too excited. He’s not a great free-throw shooter (70%), but he won’t kill you there. Gasol will board, dish a few dimes, and get around a block per game. Lauvergne has a nice beard. Ok, he will board and is a capable passer. Pop seems to love him and, with Gasol likely to play limited minutes, could see some run. Not enough to be fantasy relevant though.