2008-2009 San Antonio Spurs Season Preview
2008 San Antonio Spurs preview from the Maddux Sports experts. In addition to the free team preview, you can evaluate NBA odds for upcoming pro basketball games.
The San Antonio Spurs (57-25), who won the NBA Championship in 2006- 2007, made it to the Western Conference Finals last year where they were eliminated by the Lakers. The team played well at the start of the season, but the club’s output dwindled as the year progressed. By midseason instead of getting stronger as they had in the past, they went 11 of 24, playing mediocre ball. The Spurs seemed to hobble along as they neared the end of the regular-season, giving up leads as they ran out of gas.
The club’s second half “O” went downhill monumentally as their efficiency dwindled from 105.9 to 102.6 (minus-8.3). Still, the team’s defense stood strong and managed to win a bunch of games. Overall, the Spurs defensive efficiency was third in the NBA; it was second after the All-Star break. The club’s rebounding was massive as San Antonio led the league by taking down 77.1% of opponents’ missed shots. In the playoffs, the team’s defense did not falter, but the offense bogged down when guard Manu Ginobili was injured and his points per game dipped to single digit totals.
The Spurs drafted combo-guard George Hill, hoping they’ve found an unexpected topnotch performer. Rookie swingman Malik Hairston joins the club in a rookie-for-rookie deal with Phoenix. Free agent guard Roger Mason and free agent forward/center Kurt Thomas join the club. Both add depth, and with Thomas, the Spurs get another veteran presence.
Forward/center Tim Duncan and his typical double-double performance anchors the frontcourt. Last season, his 11th, Duncan averaged 11.3 RPG and 19.3 PPG while hitting 50% of his shots. Although in his second decade, Duncan is still driven to win every game. The rest of the front is thin. Thomas, who is 36, is on one side while Fabricio Oberto stands on the other. Oberto has been known to get into foul trouble often. Forward Bruce Bowen will offer fine defense but not a lot of offense.
The backcourt is exceptional. Manu Ginobili is a fast, frenetic powerhouse. He led the team in scoring with 19.5 PPG. Ginobili can be anywhere at anytime. Last season he dished off an average of 4.5 APG and brought down 4.8 RPG. Tony Parker is the other dynamic force in the backcourt. Parker, who hit for 18.8 PPG while making 6.0 APG, can hit from the perimeter, drive and score and draw the foul, creating a possible three-point play. His shooting from downtown is the weakest part of his game. Free agent Roger Mason is on board for defense while combo-guard Hill could be one of the Spurs typical late-draft pick gems.
Head coach Gregg Popovich has a veteran core with which to work and some fine new talent to develop. The Spurs are always in the playoff mix. Once again the question is—how far can they go? Expect them to finish in third-place in the Southwest Division and fifth in the Western Conference. Another NBA Championship could be theirs but it’s unlikely.