Mar 24, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) talks trash after hitting a shot against the Houston Rockets during the second half at the Toyota Center. The Rockets won 96-95. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Debate: Can the Spurs Contend This Year?

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I think that the Spurs are an amazing team, but are lacking in certain aspects of the game. Tiago Splitter isn’t a great center yet, and their big three are getting old, which actually cancels out all that experience they have. The Spurs, on the other hand, have a great coach, good veteran experience, and Kawhi Leonard, a future star.

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker would like to grab one of more NBA title, but unless they have more hype than they have right now, they won’t be able to do that. In the past couple of years, the Spurs haven’t done so well, being the 1st seed in the playoffs.

1. Age:

While some chose to look at this as a positive things in terms of being a veteran, I chose to look at it as negative in this case. The playoffs are closing in, which means these guys will have to play more than 82 games. We’re talking about Tim Duncan, a guy who didn’t even leave Texas for a full month one time this season. If the Spurs have to deal with the Lakers, that will add to the fatigue that they already have. Just like it has in the past couple of years, the fatigue will set in.

2. Team:

Don’t get me wrong, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are, without a doubt, hall-of-famers, and have earned all-star positions this season. Manu Ginobli at 35, however, is getting poorer in his shot selection. He still uses his veteran moves, but sometimes, he just shoots the ball too much. Leonard, the Spurs’ small forward has a very bright future,  but he isn’t enough.

They don’t have great guards to back up Parker, and they never play Patrick Mills, even though he is fairly clever with the ball. Matt Bonner isn’t a true center, so it’s hard for Splitter to get a breather every now and then.

3. Fans:

When I say fans, I’m not saying that the Spurs have a small fan base, because that just wouldn’t be accurate. Fans in San Antonio are quiet and reserved, but the Spurs don’t lose much in the AT&T Center. In the playoffs, however, fans need to be more active and excited. I never see the Spurs fans doing that, and that could come back to bite them in the playoffs, where a team really does need their home crowd to get involved if they want to win the game.

Then again…

1. The Spurs are the Spurs:

Forget about playoff meltdowns for the moment. This is a team that is very experienced, knows when to strike, and will take advantage of any inexperienced team. They look likely to play the Lakers in the first round, and that’s not going to be very easy for them. They do, however, play very well at home, and have the veterans required to win it all.

2. Kawhi Leonard:

Leonard is a dynamic guard/forward, who is able to knock down threes and drive to the basket. He is the young life of the Spurs. When Parker or Duncan are feeling fatigued, and they will, Leonard is going to take over the game, but he cannot do simply what he is doing now. Come playoff time, Leonard really needs to step up his game to provide more scoring.

3. Greg Popovich:

We’re talking one of the best coaches of all-time here. Popovich is great with strategy and will help his guys in their times of need. When Duncan and Parker need breathers, they will be able to sit out, and Popovich will manage to find a way. Why they couldn’t do this last year in the playoff is beyond me, but if they want to contend this year, they need to utilize some young talent and go with the combination of veteran experience.

Verdict: The Spurs won’t contend, just because of the result of last year. They need to attack opponents with everything they’ve got, and Kawhi Leonard needs to pick up some slack.

 

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Tags: Playoffs San Antonio Spurs

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