With the San Antonio Spurs tipping off the 2012-13 season in just a few hours in New Orleans, I thought I’d poll our staff, fellow bloggers and Spurs media members to get their predictions on how this season will end up.
The Spurs may be another year older, but this is the same team that made it to the Western Conference Finals last season. With Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills enjoying a full training camp with the Spurs and with the rest of the squad together another year, I definitely think they’ll be able to keep up with the best of the best in the Western Conference. The big three all look to be in great shape, but they’ll likely drop a few games toward the end of the season to stay fresh for the playoffs. I’ve got the Spurs finishing with 52 wins and starting the playoffs with the third seed. A repeat visit to the Western Conference Finals isn’t out of the question. While I won’t be surprised to see the Spurs keep up offensively with the likes of the Lakers or Thunder in a seven-game series, defense will be the key in whether or not they’ll be able to make a fifth trip to the finals.
The San Antonio Spurs return pretty much with the same team from last season. Aside from adding Nando De Colo, the Spurs will try once again to capture title number five after coming so close last season before imploding in the Western Conference Finals after leading the series 2-0 over the Thunder.
With that being said, the team will have another great regular season, deep playoff push but the lack of size might be their undoing should they face the Lakers with Paul Gasol and Dwight Howard or the Thunder with Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. Even a Grizzlies team with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph might give them fits in the playoffs.
I will not be surprised if this team makes a deep playoff push but in an 82-game season will the legs of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili hold up after playing at the 2012 London games? Sure, Popovich will rest his key players throughout the season which may cost them a few wins.
In the end, the Spurs will finish second in the West with a 57-25 record.
After watching the Los Angeles Lakers struggle in their opening game on Tuesday night, I think the San Antonio Spurs will be the team competing with the Oklahoma City Thunder out West for the number one seed. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Spurs win 60 or more games, but a realistic pick as a season record could be 58-24. The Spurs have speed and depth that can allow the coaching staff to comfortably rest players while still maintaining a winning record, but though I project them to have another magnificent regular season, but their lack of size in the paint may continue to haunt them. I think this season there are four realistic title contenders: the Miami Heat, the Spurs, the Thunder, and possibly the Lakers. If the Spurs can show some growth from within (Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter), I wouldn't be surprised to see them as one of the only teams competing in June.
I think it's going to be another great regular season for the Spurs. They'll finish first in the Western Conference with a record of 59-23. Given the chemistry issues Oklahoma City will have to deal with due to the James Harden trade and the Lakers will have their own chemistry and bench issues that will prevent them from overtaking the Spurs in the regular season. It feels incredibly early to make a playoff prediction but given the expected development of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter, I think the Spurs will beat the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals before losing the Miami Heat in the Finals.
Regular season record: 55-27, 3rd in the West. Lose in the Conference semifinals.
While I don't think the Spurs belong in the category of championship contenders anymore, they're certainly not going to ride off into the sunset without a fight either. They're returning pretty much the same team that won the Western Conference two years in a row. The age may be a factor and that combined with the rising powerhouses in the conference will put them in third. I think they'll win their first round playoff series easily but lose to the 2-seed in the conference semifinals, whether that be the Lakers or the Thunder.
Chris Duel, Talk Now SA
55-27. If the Spurs can stay healthy come playoff time, I would be a fool to bet against Pop and the Big Three in a seven game series against anyone. Tim comes into this season in better shape than any 36-year-old in NBA history. Manu must find a way to avoid injury, especially as the playoffs draw nearer. Tiago Splitter needs to take his game to the next level. Young guns like Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal will be even better than last year. I expect the Spurs to finish third in the Western Conference in the regular season behind the Lakers and the Thunder. Then, in the playoffs, I believe that a healthy Spurs team can go the distance, avenging their collapse to the Thunder last year, then shocking the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. The NBA Finals will be the matchup the Spurs nearly enjoyed last June: Spurs vs Heat, with Spurs winning in six games.
Paul Castro, Spurs Spanish play-by-play announcer
As the spurs enter their 40th season, pretty much with the same team as last year. I expect the Spurs to still be top 3 in the west. The teams stars are older, but they are still a threat. The young guns, are stepping into their roles and the only new addition De Colo, could be another great foreign addition. X factor if you will. I see these Spurs as having the right mix of age, talent and experience. If health isn't a big issue this year I can see them wining 50+ games.
Eric Messersmith, ESPNSA.com
57-25. With a ton of experience and depth there's no reason to think the Spurs can't finish near the top of the Western Conference. The big concerns are age and injury, but the team is deep enough to survive stretches without key guys.
Rey Moralde, TheNoLookPass.com
The San Antonio Spurs are like the NBA's version of the New England Patriots. They have that fantastic franchise player/coach relationship (Duncan/Pop, Brady/Belichick) and they're an annual threat to the title, only to fall short. They always seem to get the right personnel for the job and they're constantly reloading.
And while the Spurs are very, very good, nothing suggests to me that they'll win the championship this season outside of disastrous injuries happening to the top teams in the league. The Lakers got better. I still think Oklahoma City is better even without James Harden. And unless Kawhi Leonard becomes this transcendent perimeter stopper, the defense is still going to be their weakness until further notice. The Spurs are a well-oiled offensive machine, which is a huge contrast to the defensive teams that won them titles. But that defense is exactly the formula they need and they don't have it. Unfortunately, they have to score with this personnel. While it's exciting, it's not what wins a title. Ask the Steve Nash-era Suns.
I see them in a close battle for the second seed in the West, only to fall short and getting the 3rd seed. I'll chock them down for 55-27. And then they'll fall to the Thunder once again in a second-round match-up.
Be sure to leave your predictions in the comments below, and for more on the Spurs as they get ready to open up the season tonight, make sure to listen to our Live Tipoff Special starting around 3:30 p.m. later this afternoon.