1. San Antonio Spurs – 50-16 (2011-2012)
As mentioned, even though Tim Duncan remains the ‘rock’ of the franchise, Tony Parker’s MVP-like season last year made it officially his team. Parker ascended into the elite point guard discussion for large portions of 2012. Much like I questioned Mike Conley, I wonder if Parker has what it takes to maintain that level of effectiveness from here on out? Parker is far from alone, as Manu Ginobili is still an above average SG and secondary playmaker.
Kawhi Leonard continues to develop, and Boris Diaw now looks like a professional athlete again. I found it interesting when Popovich decided to use Leonard in a point-forward capacity, but not surprising. Popovich is a master at doing more with less, and you can never have enough versatile multifaceted forwards. The Spurs were sure to re-sign Stephen Jackson to round out their front court.
De Colo, a rookie guard out of France, has drawn more comparisons to a young Ginobili than his own countryman, Parker. Whether being mentioned in the same breath as Ginobili is truly warranted, the Spurs seem very excited to see where this young man’s game can go.
The Spurs are likely to do what they normally do, which is methodically work throughout the regular season. Winning three of four games per week has become the normal occurrence in San Antonio. You’re excused if you’re one of the many NBA fans that figured the Spurs were beyond their proverbial “championship window”, as I was one of those individuals as well. Trouble is (for the rest of the league), they don’t seem to age. General manager R.C. Buford has been providing the perfect players for the Spurs system for years, and Popovich continues to maintain a contender. Other teams may have made the splashy moves in the off-season, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Spurs right there competing for a top three seed in the talented and stacked Western Conference.
Key Additions: Nano de Colo, Josh Powell
Key Departure: Eddy Curry (Kind of…)
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