The Western Conference

 

Alpha Dogs-San Antonio Spurs:
 
Yeah,Yeah,Yeah I know the Spurs are old,Tim Duncan is seventy five years old and Manu Ginobilli needs training wheels.  But, overlook them at your own peril.  Remember, this is the same team that swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the conference finals and lost to the champion Heat in seven games.
So before the write off campaign begins we should consider
 
Management:
Starting with head coach Greg Popovich the Spurs front office is the envy of the league and with apologies to the St Louis Cardinals,  possibly all of sports.  Few teams have managed to surround their star player with a steady stream of players that blend perfectly into the organizations culture.  The Spurs, who have made selecting second round draft picks into high art have managed to surround their core players( Tim Duncan,Tony Parker and Manu Ginobilli) with young, talented and hungry players with the most notable being small forward Kawhi Leonard.  As we speak I hear one of the Spurs parking lot attendants has a head coaching interview.  This franchise starting with the owner is relevant and will remain so long after Tim Duncan has retired.
 
Players:
On teams like this the veterans school the new players with what it takes to be a winner.  Make no mistake the core is aging as Tim Duncan is 37, Manu Ginobilli 36 and Tony Parker 31.  However, the Spurs have ample support from budding star Kawhi Leonard, guard Danny Green and center Tiago Splitter.  Look for steady improvement from all three.  As a testament to his greatness Tim Duncan now thinks the game through conserving energy and utilizing angles and leverage to his advantage. After the way last season’s finals ended, look for another stellar season from Tim.
 
Prospects:
Losing game six of the finals after being up five points with 28 seconds to go could crush most teams but I suspect it will motivate the Spurs to no end.  There are a handful of teams (actually three) with the kind of chemistry the Spurs possess.  Among those looking to make amends for last years finals are Manu Ginobilli and “gasp,coach Popovich  who will serve to galvanize this team for one last big charge up the hill.

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