The talk of the offseason was the fact Kawhi Leonard wanted out of San Antonio. He got his wish when the San Antonio Spurs traded him and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors. In came DeMar DeRozan and the look of the Spurs was changed. There were questions that his game would conflict with star big man LaMarcus Aldridge. Both players love to shoot mid-range jumpers so people thought that there would be no room on the court. Those questions have been thrown out of the window and the San Antonio Spurs are right now in the seventh spot, six games above .500 and still are a relevant team even without Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. The new-look Spurs are still successful and only seem to be improving.
New-Look San Antonio Spurs Still Finding Ways To Succeed
New Look Team
The Spurs drafted Duncan first overall in the 1997 draft and it was the start of what would be a match made in heaven. Just two years later the Spurs won the 1999 NBA championship. Picked that year in the draft was Ginobili in the second round at 57th overall. He wouldn’t play until the 2002-03 season. Parker was drafted in 2001 in the first round at 28th overall. The Spurs would go on to win the championship in 2003 with all three on the team.
After the championship in 2003, the Spurs won the title two more times in 2005 and 2007. The Spurs were a dynasty after winning four championships in nine seasons. They represented the class of the NBA. Then the Spurs drafted Leonard in 2011 in the first round at 15th overall. They went on to win another championship in 2014.
All four of those players are gone for the Spurs and the team is led by DeRozan and Aldridge. Even though the look of the team is new the Spurs are still the same. Head coach Gregg Popovich has been able to beat time again and again. There are five players averaging double digits in points for the Spurs this season: DeRozan (22.1), Aldridge (20.6), Bryn Forbes (12.4), Rudy Gay (13.6) and Marco Belinelli (10.5). Popovich, who is third all-time in wins by a coach with 1,222, has been able to get the best out of his players even though the complete look of his team has been different. A great and experienced coach like Popovich should be able to get his team to win even though he lost a lot of great players.
The Spurs are first in three-point percentage at 40.3 percent. They are second in free throw percentage at 82.0 percent. In offensive rating, they are fifth with 112.3. A team that can hit their threes efficiently and shoots free throws well will always be one of the best offensive teams in the league. the Spurs are fourth in the league in two-point field goals made per game with 32.3. They consistently get easy buckets.
The three-pointer is one of the biggest weapons of NBA teams today. The Spurs have shown they can beat you with the three or mid-range. They are one of the best offensive teams and they lead the league in percentage of points in the mid-range area with 18.5 percent. This offense is different than the norm but it is still one of the best in the league. DeRozan and Aldridge (who is coming off of a career-high 56 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder) are the main reasons why there are so many points coming from the mid-range. They are one and two in points per game for the Spurs.
The Spurs are the best team in the league in turnovers per game. They average 12.5 per game. That can be attributed to the point guard who is Forbes. He is having the best season of his career and has stepped in nicely for the injured Dejounte Murray,who is out for the season with a torn ACL. When your team is that efficient with the ball, that can be attributed to coaching also.
If the Spurs are going to do any damage for the rest of the season they are going to have to keep shooting efficiently and DeRozan and Aldridge will have to keep playing well.
The Spurs lost players that contributed to their dynasty but they still have kept plugging along. That has to do with their legendary coach who has the team shooting efficiently and keeping them mistake free. With Popovich at the helm, the Spurs should always be a contender.