Monday, April 16th, 2012

The San Antonio Spurs will go deep in the playoffs

Published on April 1, 2012 by Anthony Carriuolo   ·   No Comments

A lot of contending teams built around a conglomerate of superstars such as the Miami Heat are entirely reliant upon a supporting cast of aging veterans to provide the hustle they have left and the experience of winning championships. Having multiple stars requires a cut in salary for role players, with the main stars garnering most of the cash and attention. The average age of course is far higher, making this season especially a distinct challenge. Triple sets of games exhaust players and leave vets in disarray at the tail end of their stretch.

The San Antonio Spurs are a unique case. The bulk and most important portion of their talent lie in their veterans. Arguably the greatest power forward of all time in Tim Duncan is reaching the twilight of his career, while SG Manu Ginobili is enduring injury issues all season. The infusion of youth however, along with incredible coaching is what keeps this team in contention.

This could all be a mirage, after the Spurs claimed the top seed and fizzled out early last post-season. However the young core of C’s Thiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair along with rookie F Kawhi Leonard have infused the team with youth. The top three of Duncan, Ginobili and PG Tony Parker who is playing at elite form have insured the future of the Spurs for the time being. There might not be much to look forward to once the retirement of these three commences, but right now with the additional rest the Spurs can contend.

Coach Gregg Popovich has done a masterful job throughout his career. He has never employed a clubhouse cancer and has even neutralized a jerk like SG Stephen Jackson. It’s interesting how Jackson can go from a violent psychopath with Indiana to a team oriented player whose performance is reflective of Popovich’s nature as a coach.

Popovich has a means of managing personalities in a discreet and tactful way that keeps his team consistently in the race despite an older lineup and a void of top shelf talent. Right now, Duncan is not Kevin Love or even Chris Bosh, but Popovich has made it clear throughout his career accomplishments that talent is important in equal parts with chemistry.

The additional rest will have the vets relaxed and ready to lead. The experience will have the youth excited and yearning to succeed. Right now the West runs through Oklahoma City, but never count out the Spurs, as their hard-nosed bruising style of basketball can take a bunch of OKC hotshots and silence them ’til winter.


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