After another disappointing early first-round playoff exit in three years, one has to wonder – What’s next for the San Antonio Spurs?
The Spurs had some success in past, winning four NBA titles in the Tim Duncan era. That should be considered a great accomplishment in the NBA especially for a small market team like San Antonio.
However, their last title came in 2007 and since then, they have not won anything. Despite some lineup overhauls, and going over the luxury tax last season, the Spurs failed to advance deep into the playoffs for 4 straight years and still has two glaring needs to address.
A legitimate post threat besides Duncan and a capable wing defender and scorer. During Duncan’s prime, the Spurs was able to live with Bruce Bowen as their starting small forward.
Now with the LeBron’s and the Durant’s of the world the Spurs found out that formula won’t work anymore. So they gambled on Richard Jefferson to fill the gap on their small forward position and used the free agency and the draft to give Duncan some help.
Antonio McDyess was a good pickup to pair with Duncan, he can defend but isn’t a legitimate low post threat. Besides he is too undersized to consistently man the paint.
Along the way, the Spurs nabbed solid role players from the draft to shore up their front court with DeJuan Blair and lately convinced Tiago Splitter to come over in San Antonio.
Some think Splitter could be the answer this season, but the Brazilian rookie had an injury laden season and did not crack the team’s regular rotation for the most part that hampered his development.
The same thing happened to James Anderson, both players were expected to contribute right away for the Spurs but the injury bug bit them and that eventually haunted the Spurs.
But there are good news too.
The Spurs found a gem in rookie Gary Neal. The 26-year-old rookie was an instant boost from the bench and proved that he can hit the big shots, George Hill also had been productive in the playoffs and Matt Bonner did a better job than his previous trips to the post season.
Splitter also provided some glimpse on what was possible. He played solid basketball in three playoff outings, averaging 6.7 points and 4.7 rebounds on 62.5 percent shooting from the floor in just a little over 16 minutes per ball game.
More importantly, they still have the core of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker intact.
However, like any other NBA teams, the Spurs will go through some changes over the summer and some personnel movements are expected.
McDyess might retire and after another sub par playoff performance who knows what happens to Jefferson? What about Daniel Green, Steve Novak and Chris Quinn?
For now, the Spurs can rest and not think about basketball for a moment. But in time, coach Gregg Popovich and his crew will have to face the reality that some roster shakeup is in order for them to get better.
They will start working towards that goal again as early as next month, when the 2011 NBA draft arrives.
What are your thoughts? Which Spur should stay and who do you think should be traded?