by Fox Doucette
Are the San Antonio Spurs any good? Of course they are. They’re the Spurs. Next question.
“OK, wiseguy,” you may say at this point, “are the Spurs good enough to hold their ground in an increasingly top-heavy Western Conference and make a run at the Finals?”
2016-17 Record: 61-21
2018 Over-Under: 54.5.
The Spurs You Know And Love
Tony Parker’s still rehabbing from offseason surgery but will be back around the All-Star Game if projections hold.
Kawhi Leonard is back, Danny Green is back, LaMarcus Aldridge is back, Pau Gasol and Patty Mills are back, Manu Ginobili is back. The team’s as deep as you remember.
Rudy Gay enters; Jonathon Simmons leaves, and Simmons is getting the Boban Bump salary-wise, as he goes from making $874,636 to making a three-year, $18 million declining base salary deal with the Orlando Magic.
DeWayne Dedmon got a similar jump in his compensation, as Atlanta will be paying him $6 million this year with a $6.3 million player option next year.
But the rest of the supporting cast? Kyle Anderson is the big name, but don’t be shocked if Dejounte Murray becomes this year’s answer to Simmons and Dedmon and comes out of nowhere as the seventh or eighth man to shock the world with his production and get a mid-seven-figure deal of his own next year with some other team.
With A Coach Who Conquers All
Why do we even bother giving Coach of the Year to people who aren’t Gregg Popovich? Yeah, Steve Kerr’s doing amazing things in Golden State, but he has an overpowered fantasy team at his disposal. Brad Stevens is performing minor miracles in Boston, but he’s no Coach Pop. And Erik Spoelstra came just one game short of turning the greatest midseason turnaround in NBA history into a playoff appearance, but horseshoes and hand grenades and all that.
Nobody juggles NBA egos better than Coach Pop. Nobody could be the guy to groom the first woman to coach an NBA champion (mark my words, Becky Hammon will do this when Pop retires) like Coach Pop. And nobody designs and executes a coaching plan like the NBA’s greatest scholar of the game.
And Team Chemistry to Match
Who, besides Golden State, has a more powerful bang-for-their-buck draw for players than the Spurs? Aldridge makes $21.3 million, and he’s the highest-paid player on the team. The rest of the roster has contracts structured in such a way that the Spurs will always be able to go seven or eight deep and have two or three of those be guys who could start on other teams. They are the New England Patriots of basketball in terms of getting guys who come in to buy into the team concept.
Rudy Gay’s always been a questionable teammate in Memphis and Sacramento, but does anyone seriously believe he’ll be that much of a head case in San Antonio? Pop’s going to get the most out of him, and if he doesn’t, the veteran leadership on the team (even the younger “veteran leadership” like Leonard) will.
Guys don’t fight over the ball or tolerate low-percentage gunners in Spurs Country. Rudy Gay will be what we always hoped he could, and you can book that.
Yes, this is a paean of great accolade. It’s the freakin’ Spurs. Are they any good? Confirmed, confirmed, emphatically Confirmed. That 54.5 over/under seems awfully low to me.