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NBA Market Watch: Preview-San Antonio Spurs
by: Eric Weiss - Sports Aptitude
October 4, 2007
Off Season Overview:

San Antonio could be excused somewhat for keeping the status quo during this past off season. The team is coming off another NBA championship and has managed their finances well. Going into next season, the club will have some wiggle room to add some younger veteran talent to support their triple threat of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili.

This past off seasonís biggest move was probably the acquisition of Tiago Splitter via the draft. Splitter fell to the low end of his draft range due to buyout complications that will keep him overseas for another year. But Splitter is a talented frontcourt role player who should transition into the Spurs rotation seamlessly when he does arrive.

The addition of Splitter makes the loss of Luis Scola more palatable. Scola has been a highly productive European star and was traded to division rival Houston. Splitter has better prototypical size and should be a better defender on the NBA level.

Ime Udoka could pay dividends as the heir-apparent to the aging Bruce Bowen. Udoka got some respect for his work as a defensive presence at the wing for Portland and San Antonio moved quickly to secure his services, at a bargain price at that. He should give the Spurs reliable perimeter shooting and intelligent team defense.

Marcus Williams was another pick who could pay dividends down the road for the Spurs, but heíll have to work hard to stick around. Williams has a lot of talent but hasnít realized his full potential and was considered a disappointment at Arizona. If he keeps his head down and puts in the time he may find himself a niche eventually. The Spurs preferred he go overseas after a disappointing summer league campaign, but Williams forced the issue and now finds himself on the teamís training camp roster.

Depth Chart:



Strengths:

Continuity is the key word for this club. They may be getting long in the tooth in terms of their supporting cast, but the chemistry and familiarity these players have with each other allows the Spurs to operate with clockwork precision.

There were times last season where the team lagged a bit in terms of depth of talent, but the Spurs simply win by limiting mistakes and executing their system to perfection. Their balance on offense and defense and the ability to dictate the pace of the game, no matter whom the opponent, is their greatest strength.

Fabricio Oberto significantly increased his productivity in his second year with the club. The combination of Oberto and Elson gave San Antonio some frontcourt stability beyond Duncan for the first time since David Robinson retired.

Michael Finley saw a drop in his productivity for a third straight year, but his move into the starting lineup allowed Manu Ginobili to increase his effectiveness. Finley is still a productive offensive player, and functions well as a 4th option in his limited touches.

Brent Barry was also a solid contributor off the bench, seeing a spike in production from his past couple of seasons. Barry is one of the most offensively efficient players in the league, highly effective in executing his role.


Weaknesses:

Youth is the operative word here. The Spurs veteran experience makes them lethally efficient, but the component parts of that efficiency will need replacing soon enough.

Robery Horry and Bruce Bowen are the two most prominent examples of father time catching up with the Spurs. Both players have been integral parts of the teamís rotation, but both have lost effectiveness over the past couple of seasons. Both players are capable of vintage moments, but the volume of those performances has dropped below a certain threshold and each will need replacing soon.

The Spurs also have little depth at the point guard position. Jacque Vaughn and Beno Udrih could be considered sub-standard backups on a title contending team, and the team should be looking for a quality guard in the free agent market.

Outlook:

The Spurs are still one of the top teams in the league, but it wouldnít be surprising if age caught up with them this season. Some may argue that if it wasnít for the postseason shenanigans against the Suns, the Spurs may not have won last season.

Regardless of circumstance, the Spurs will be in a position to play the free agent market and re-tool their ensemble cast next off season. As long as their main three weapons are playing effectively, the Spurs will remain in the title hunt. Tim Duncan is still in his prime and that always makes San Antonio a factor.

The addition of Splitter next year, coupled with a shrewd off season should help the Spurs replenish themselves for the back nine of Duncanís championship contending prime.
 
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Feedback for this article may be sent to eric.weiss@gmail.com .

 

Tiago Splitter
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 0"
Weight: 233 lbs.
Birthday: 01/01/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Vitoria , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #28 in 2007 Draft
by the Spurs
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
8.2 Pts, 6.2 Rebs, 1.5 Asts


Luis Scola
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 245 lbs.
Birthday: 04/30/1980
34 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Vitoria , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #27 in 2002 Draft
by the Spurs
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
7.6 Pts, 4.8 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


Ime Udoka
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 215 lbs.
Birthday: 08/09/1977
36 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Jefferson
Previous Team: Portland State , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
2.5 Pts, 2.5 Rebs, 0.5 Asts


Bruce Bowen
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Birthday: 06/14/1971
43 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Edison
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: F,
NBA: SF,
Possible: F
Quick Stats:
2.7 Pts, 1.8 Rebs, 0.5 Asts


Marcus Williams
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 205 lbs.
Birthday: 11/18/1986
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Roosevelt
Previous Team: Shanxi , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #3 in 2007 Draft
by the Spurs
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
28.9 Pts, 5.3 Rebs, 3.7 Asts


Fabricio Oberto
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 245 lbs.
Birthday: 03/21/1975
39 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: PF/C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
1.9 Pts, 3.4 Rebs, 0.6 Asts


David Robinson
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 1"
Weight: 235 lbs.
Birthday: 08/06/1965
48 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Osbourn Park
Previous Team: Navy , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #1 in 1987 Draft
by the Spurs
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
8.5 Pts, 7.9 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


Michael Finley
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 204 lbs.
Birthday: 03/06/1973
41 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Proviso East
Previous Team: Wisconsin , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #21 in 1995 Draft
by the Suns
Positions:
Current: F,
NBA: SG/SF,
Possible: F
Quick Stats:
9.2 Pts, 2.6 Rebs, 0.0 Asts


Brent Barry
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 183 lbs.
Birthday: 12/31/1971
42 Years Old
Teams:
High School: De La Salle Catholic
Previous Team: Oregon State , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #15 in 1995 Draft
by the Nuggets
Positions:
Current: G,
NBA: G,
Possible: G
Quick Stats:
Pts, Rebs, Asts


Jacque Vaughn
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 193 lbs.
Birthday: 02/11/1975
39 Years Old
Teams:
High School: John Muir
Previous Team: Kansas , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #27 in 1997 Draft
by the Jazz
Positions:
Current: G,
NBA: G,
Possible: G
Quick Stats:
2.2 Pts, 0.7 Rebs, 1.8 Asts


Beno Udrih
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 199 lbs.
Birthday: 07/05/1982
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #28 in 2004 Draft
by the Spurs
Positions:
Current: PG/SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
2.7 Pts, 0.2 Rebs, 0.6 Asts


Tim Duncan
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 0"
Weight: 249 lbs.
Birthday: 04/25/1976
38 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Dunstan Episcopal
Previous Team: Wake Forest , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #1 in 1997 Draft
by the Spurs
Positions:
Current: F,
NBA: PF/C,
Possible: F
Quick Stats:
15.1 Pts, 9.8 Rebs, 3.0 Asts


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