STAYING: LaMarcus Aldridge, Kyle Anderson, Davis Bertans, Bryn Forbes, Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Mills, Dejounte Murray and Tony Parker.
ADDED: Matt Costello (Iowa Energy), Rudy Gay (Sacramento), Joffrey Lauvergne (Chicago), Brandon Paul (Anadolu Efes), London Perrantes (Virginia) and Derrick White (Colorado).
GONE: Joel Anthony, Dewayne Dedmon (Atlanta), David Lee and Jonathon Simmons (Orlando).
STRENGTHS: Winning culture … They are about team first … For the umpteenth year in a row, the Spurs have the most unassuming star in the NBA … Now it’s Kawhi Leonard, who will be a clear MVP candidate once again … He’s probably the lone player who’s Top 5 on both ends of the court right now … Potent frontcourt next to LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol … Scoring will not be a problem for them … Great spacing and lots of threats from beyond the arc … San Antonio was the No. 1 team in three-point shooting last year with 39.1 percent … Based on the fact they’ve led the league in Defensive Rating the past two seasons, we’ll make a wild guess and say they will be an elite defensive team … In-house improvement is one of the team’s traits … Fringe NBA players typically become valuable contributors in San Antonio … Gregg Popovich will do a masterful job of keeping his players fresh for the postseason … No drama here.
WEAKNESSES: Point guard play … That was true even with a healthy Tony Parker … When super sub Patrick Mills is your starting PG and sophomore Dejounte Murray is your likely backup, that’s a bigger problem … As per usual, they are a far from elite team in terms of athleticism … When dealing with high-paced teams like Golden State, Gasol is not very useful … That became painfully obvious in the playoffs … Don’t expect a lot of fast-break points … Rudy Gay is not much of a passer … Spurs’ fluid ball movement may not be as fluid this year.
PREDICTION: 2nd in the Southwest Division, 3rd in the Western Conference.