NBA Team Preview: San Antonio Spurs

Justin Jalomo, Sports Reporter

The 2018 NBA season begins tonight with two games with the rest occurring tomorrow. Each of the 30 NBA teams have gone through roster changes throughout the offseason in hopes that they advance to and win the NBA Finals. Some teams had lots of changes while some had a few. One team that had major roster changes is the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs will be one of the new looking teams going into the season now that forward Kawhi Leonard is gone. At first, the team had an ongoing saga with him as to whether or not he should be traded. The saga finally ended during the summer when the Spurs decided to trade him and guard Danny Green to the Raptors in exchange for guard Demar Derozan and center Jakob Poeltl. Another player that’s gone is forward Kyle Anderson, who is now with the Memphis Grizzlies. Anderson was a bench player for the Spurs and when he played, he was a big contributor for them and managed to start in place of Kawhi Leonard for parts of the season. Although the Spurs lost some valuable players, the Spurs did bring in some players for depth purposes. Some of these players are forwards Dante Cunningham and Quincy Pondexter, who may not be all-stars but will provide depth and help for the Spurs throughout the season. Another player is guard/forward Marco Belinelli who will be a big contributor as he spent part of his career playing for the Spurs until he went to the Philadelphia 76ers before joining the Spurs again. Throughout his time with the 76ers, Belinelli was a bench player but was a key player for the team, especially throughout the postseason, as he was a trusted three point shooter. Other players are NBA Draft Picks Lonnie Walker IV and Chimezie Metu. Walker is one of the athletic players who should be an immediate help for the Spurs and will be a great asset to the Spurs. Metu is another player who will provide depth for the post players since the Spurs didn’t have many players at the post position.

In addition, the Spurs no longer have the Big 3; forward Tim Duncan and  guard Manu Ginobili both retired and guard Tony Parker is with the Charlotte Hornets. For quite some time, Ginobili has been the player to make clutch shots when needed, and since he’s retired, the team will no longer have him when they need clutch shots. Parker has seen a decrease in minutes since guard Dejounte Murray has been given the job as starting point guard but has been efficient when he’s on the court and has been a great and key player to the team, helping out the team when needed. Duncan is the best power forward to play the game and was a big contributor to the team’s success during his career. With him retiring, the Spurs have to find a way to maintain the success they had.

Not only were trades, releases and retirements a huge contributor to the roster changes but injuries played a huge part as well. Injuries hurt the team throughout last season and it’s doing the same thing again this season. The injuries have taken out three players for some, if not, all of the season. Those three players who are injured play the guard position and with the injuries, it’s thinned out the depth chart for the backcourt, or guard position for the first part of the season. The only healthy guards for the Spurs is Bryn Forbes, Patty Mills, Demar Derozan and Marco Belinelli, who also plays forward. The biggest blow happened to current point guard Dejounte Murray who tore his ACL in a game against the Houston Rockets. In the game, he was going for a layup and as he went up, his leg gave out and fell to the ground. With a torn ACL, Murray will miss the rest of the season and Bryn Forbes will replace Murray as the starting point guard. Another injury happened to Lonnie Walker IV, who suffered a right medial meniscus tear and will miss several weeks before returning to the lineup. The last injury happened to Derrick White, who suffered a left plantar fascia tear. Before the injury, White was supposed to be the starting point guard and will miss about a month before returning to the lineup.

The Spurs will look very different for this season. In my opinion, the Spurs should do fine, but their playoff streak is on the line as they’ve gone to the playoffs for 21 straight seasons. I’m excited for the new season to start and I’m excited to see how they do.