Season preview: San Antonio Spurs

Season preview: San Antonio Spurs

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Season preview: San Antonio Spurs

STAYING: LaMarcus Aldridge, Davis Bertans, Bryn Forbes, Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay, Patrick Mills, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White.

ADDED: Marco Belinelli (Philadelphia), Dante Cunningham (Brooklyn), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Jakob Poeltl (Toronto), Quincy Pondexter and Lonnie Walker (University of Miami).

GONE: Kyle Anderson (Memphis), Matt Costello (Avellino), Manu Ginobili (retired), Danny Green (Toronto), Darrun Hilliard (Baskonia), Joffrey Lauvergne (Fenerbahce), Kawhi Leonard (Toronto), Tony Parker (Charlotte) and Brandon Paul.

STRENGTHS: Basketball IQ and execution should be more than OK with such a veteran team … They have a couple of very nice go-to scorers in LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan … Mid-range shooting is going to be quite good with those two … DeRozan comes off possibly his best season in the NBA and should be motivated to perform following his trade from Toronto … They landed an intriguing big in Jakob Poeltl, who could be primed for a breakout season with a bigger role in San Antonio … For six years in a row, San Antonio has been a Top 3 club in defensive rating … Expect them to remain strong in that department … The Kawhi situation is no more, so the Spurs may go back to their old zero-drama ways … Gregg Popovich … Enough said.

WEAKNESSES: For the first time in many years, they can’t be mentioned as a potential contender … Has to be deflating … They lost five rotation players this offseason, including the three most important this century outside of Tim Duncan … Most of their players are past their prime or a bit green … They are pretty weak at the point guard position in a conference featuring Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, etcetera … A backcourt of Dejounte Murray and DeRozan is not going to terrorize opponents with three-point shooting … Who’s going to be the vocal leader for this squad? … Winning 48-50 games may not guarantee a playoff spot in the West.

PREDICTION: 2nd in the Southwest Division, 8th in the Western Conference.

SALARIES:

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