In another of our NBA season previews, this time we look at the defending NBA champions San Antonio Spurs who are nicely primed and look ready to defend their well-deserved title.
2013-2014 record – 62-20
Key player – Kawhi Leonard
Off-season acquisitions – None
The San Antonio Spurs were a joy to watch for the basketball purists as they stormed to the NBA championship in a rout of the LeBron James led Miami Heat. Not only did they win the Finals but they also finished with the best regular-season record in the NBA. Gregg Popovich found a way to rotate his players and ensure everyone was fit and ready for the play-offs. A repeat dose would mean San Antonio would retain their crown as NBA champions for the first time in their history.
Despite not making any new signings in the off-season, the reigning champions look like the dominant team in the Western Conference for the second successive year. While Oklahoma City and the Clippers have made additions, the Spurs have stuck to the same core of Parker, Ginobili and Duncan that brought them their fifth championship.
Kawhi Leonard, the Finals MVP, is now the young hub of the roster and will be looked upon for leadership when Popovich opts to rest his more experienced and veteran stars. Leonard is seen as one of the new stars of the NBA and is already one of the top defenders in the league at the age of 23.
If Leonard can replicate his Finals performance in the regular season, San Antonio will comfortably reach the Western Conference Finals again where a tantalising showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder or Los Angeles Clippers could await. Lets just skip to May now.
2014/2015 prediction – A return to the NBA finals would be a fitting end to the career of Tim Duncan but a repeat Championship is not on the horizon.
Stephen Loftus, Pundit Arena.