Areas Of Strength
The Spurs' organizational fiber carries them through times that would normally tear apart most franchises. The way they weathered the injury and drama surrounding Kawhi Leonard’s season provides the strongest evidence that the Spurs’ Way works on and off the court. Dealing with the passing of Gregg Popovich’s wife was another blow to the entire franchise during the postseason and yet they managed to battle the Warriors in a first-round playoff series without their leader present. The Spurs will need every bit of that organizational fortitude during what could be a wild and crazy summer, based on what goes on with Leonard and also Tony Parker (an unrestricted free agent) and Manu Ginobili (who has not announced whether he’ll return for his one more season under contract).
The Spurs are straddling eras right now with the roster, trying to split the difference between aging veterans who have done nothing but win during their tenures and youngster who need more and more responsibility to feed their growing ambition. Parker’s grip on the starting point guard job was loosened by the growth of second-year point guard Dejounte Murray. Change is inevitable, even for the Spurs. But that doesn’t mean the transition will go off without a few hiccups, not even in San Antonio.
Two Stats That Matter
3.9 percent -- The Spurs saw the biggest drop in 3-point percentage, from 39.1 percent (first in the league) in 2016-17 to 35.2 percent (26th) in '17-18. The Spurs were the only team that ranked in the bottom five in both 3-point percentage and the percentage of shots that came from 3-point range.
22 -- The Spurs have had a top-five defense in 22 of the last 29 seasons, including each of the last six.
-- John Schuhmann
The Way To Go
As the Spurs continue replenishing the ranks with talented young players, the 18th pick in the draft provides a prime opportunity to find someone capable of making it into the rotation immediately. Bouncy big man Robert Williams would be ideal, as would sweet-shooting wing Gary Trent Jr., who bloodlines and Duke pedigree give him a keen understanding of what would be asked of him by a coach like Pop.
2017-18 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 105.5 (17th)
Defensive: 102.4 (4th)
G: Patty Mills
G: Dejounte Murray
G: Brandon Paul
G: Derrick White
G: Manu Ginobili
F: Kawhi Leonard
F: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Pau Gasol
G: Tony Parker (unrestricted)
G: Darrun Hilliard (restricted)
G: Bryn Forbes (restricted)
G/F: Danny Green (player option)
F: Rudy Gay (player option)
F: Joffrey Lauvergne (player option)
F: Kyle Anderson (restricted)
F/C: Matt Costello (restricted)
C/F: Davis Bertans (unrestricted)
Recent Draft History
2017: Derrick White (29), Jaron Blossomgame (59)
2016: Dejounte Murray (29)
2015: Nikola Milutinov (26); Cady Lalanne (55)
2014: Kyle Anderson (30); Jordan McRae (58) traded to Philadelphia, Cory Jefferson (60) traded to Brooklyn
2013: Livio Jean-Charles (28); Deshaun Thomas (58)
2012: Marcus Denmon (59)
-- Sekou Smith