The San Antonio Spurs are currently in sixth place in the Western Conference with 13-9 record.
Not bad, when you consider the fact that they are playing the most part of the season without Manu Ginobili and backup point guard T.J. Ford.
Let’s face it, the Spurs are not the only NBA team suffering from injuries, but Ginobili is big part of what they do on both ends on the floor and I’m inclined to believe that many naysayers have written off the Spurs early when Manu went down with an injury, perhaps expecting doom and gloom in San Antonio.
But guess what?
After 22 regular season games that Spurs are very much in the playoff hunt and are four games above .500 playing without one of their best players — credit should go to the Spurs reserves for that.
However, the Spurs are staring at a 3-game home stand against the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets and the Oklahoma City Thunder before playing nine games on the road (where they have a woeful 3-8 record) for the annual Rodeo Road Trip.
Nonetheless, should Tim Duncan and company manage to tread water without Ginobili then it wouldn’t be too surprising to see San Antonio going deep into this years playoffs.
Here’s what some ESPN bloggers/analyst think about the Spurs chances this season.
Royce Young, Daily Thunder: It kind of feels like the Spurs are intentionally hovering around .500. Like they’re just trying to do just enough to stay in the race while also conserving themselves for a big push in March. They’ve been without Manu Ginobili for most of the season and have gotten some inconsistent play from their role players, but the Spurs are coming. They’re like a racehorse waiting for the chance to get to the inside and make a move.
Jared Wade, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: The Spurs had the best record in the West last season and have managed to tread water despite losing Ginobili. That may be a blessing in disguise, however, as it is forcing the inexperienced players on the roster (Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard, Gary Neal) into larger roles. The big three can’t do it on their own anymore, so coach Gregg Popovich will need these guys come playoff time. And without any truly scary teams across the Mississippi aside from the Thunder, it would shock nobody if the Spurs crawled their way back to the conference finals.
Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN.com: If the playoffs were to start today, the Spurs would be facing a tee time. They are ranked 23rd defensively, have been without Manu Ginobili since Jan. 2 and still have their rodeo trip in front of them. But if they can tread water on the road until Manu gets back, the Spurs should experience a bounce. They’ve rationed starter minutes and have been developing their supporting cast. Does anyone really believe there are eight better teams in the West?
Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak: The San Antonio Spurs have played one of the toughest schedules in the league and sustained an injury to their best player. Assuming all those teams in the Southwest Division don’t beat each other up too much, the Spurs should be primed for a strong end of the season when Manu returns to one of the deepest San Antonio teams in recent memory.