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Are the Spurs too Old to Compete in the West?

by Glenn Kaplan
by Glenn Kaplan

The San Antonio Spurs have been a franchise that models success over the past 20 years. Gregg Popovich has been coaching this basketball franchise ever since the 1996-1997 season. The Spurs were bad that season and because of it, they were able to draft Tim Duncan.

Duncan might be the greatest player in San Antonio history. He and Popovich won five championships together and it should have been six. The San Antonio Spurs won championships in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014. They should have won in 2013.

Tim Duncan retired after the 2016 season. San Antonio won 61 games the following season and they made it to the Western Conference Finals as the number two seed. Last season, they won 47 games and they were the seventh seed. The Spurs lost both of those series to the Golden State Warriors.

This season, their record is 15-15 and they are currently in 10th place in the west. San Antonio is 1.5 games back of the Portland Trail Blazers for the eighth spot in the west. The Sacramento Kings have the same record as Portland and they are the seventh seed and the Memphis Grizzles have the same record as both of those teams and they are the sixth seed in the west.

The San Antonio Spurs are also 2.5 games back of the Los Angeles Clippers for the number five seed. With they way the Spurs are this season, is it possible they will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 1996-1997 season and are they too old to compete?

It is 30 games into the NBA season and the west is tough. Every game is going to matter. Greg Popovich runs an excellent system for this team, but it is a very old roster.

They decided to trade away Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in the offseason to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl.

Some of the older players they have in San Antonio is Pau Gasol (38 years old), Rudy Gay (32 years old), LaMarcus Aldridge (33 years old), and Marco Belinelli (32 years old). The Spurs play a half court game and they don't use speed enough.

In today's NBA, you have to have speed on your roster or it catches up to you. A couple of key players that are fast on their roster is rookie shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV, but he is currently rehabbing in the G-League and point guard Dejounte Murray, but he is out for the season with a Torn ACL.

In the near future, Walker IV and Murray will be a solid back court for this franchise over the next decade.

LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 18.8 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 1.2 BPG so far this season. DeMar Derozan is averaging 23.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.1 APG, 0.5 BPG, and 0.9 SPG so far this season. Rudy Gay is averaging 14 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 2.2 APG so far this season.

Patty Mills is averaging 9.5 PPG and 2.8 APG so far this season. Bryan Forbes is averaging 11.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.2 APG, and 0.6 SPG so far this season.

Some other key role players on this team are Marco Belinelli, Dante Cunningham, David Bertans, and Pau Gasol.

The San Antonio Spurs are ranked 15th in the NBA in averaging 110.2 points per game so far this season. San Antonio is ranked 16th in the NBA in points given up per game at 111. They have a minus in the plus/minus differential and that is not a good thing. It isn't a formula of going deep into the playoffs or let alone making it to the playoffs.

The Spurs record against teams that are ahead of them in the standings so far this season is 7-5. That isn't terrible and they also went 3-1 against the Los Angeles Lakers and they also beat the Golden State Warriors once.

I thought it would be possible for them to make it to the playoffs this season but as a lower seed. The San Antonio Spurs might be too old to compete for an NBA title, but they are capable enough to make it to the playoffs and maybe win a playoff series if they get the right match up.

This article was originally published on @gk18