We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin! Today's team: The San Antonio Spurs
There is no finer organization in the NBA than the San Antonio Spurs, a franchise that seems to always be in the title-contending conversation regardless of who is – and who isn’t – on the roster.
For years, conventional wisdom was that the San Antonio dynasty would take a major step back once Tim Duncan FINALLY retired.
Instead of taking a step back, the Spurs continued to do what they did with Duncan – win a lot of games and scare the bejesus out of any and every team they saw in the playoffs.
To read A. Sherrod Blakely's 2017-18 team-by-team NBA previews, click here
One of the forgotten subplots in Golden State’s run towards a title last spring, was the ankle injury Kawhi Leonard suffered when he landed on the foot of Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia.
For those who don’t remember, the Spurs were beating the crap out of Golden State in Game 1 of their second-round series with Leonard getting anything and everything he wanted at both ends of the floor.
Prior to him landing on Pachulia’s foot (something that was debated for weeks as a dirty play), the Spurs were ahead 78-55.
After Leonard’s departure, Golden State went on an 18-0 run and eventually wound up edging the Spurs 113-111 before going on to sweep the series to become the first team in NBA history to open up the playoffs with 12 straight wins.
Well, Leonard’s back and will once again be on the short list of league MVP candidates due to his ability to dominate games at both ends of the floor.
For years his defense has been at an unmatched level. But it is the growth of his game offensively that has made him such a difficult and at times, dominant performer.
Leonard has finished in the top-3 of the league’s MVP voting the past two seasons.
Last season, he averaged a career-high 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game which was also a career high.
But the Spurs have proven through time to be more than just a one-man operation even when the face of the franchise (Tim Duncan) received a lot of credit for the franchise’s success.
San Antonio brings most of its core guys back, but recognized the need to add at least one more legitimate scorer to the mix.
In comes Rudy Gay, an 11-year veteran who has averaged 18.4 points per game throughout his career.
Golden State remains the team that everyone, including the Spurs, is chasing this season.
But the depth of San Antonio’s roster coupled with the addition of Gay, means the Spurs will once again be in the title-contending conversation.
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Rudy Gay (Sacramento); Joffrey Lauvergne (Chicago).
Key losses: Jonathan Simmons (Orlando); Dewayne Dedmon (Atlanta); David Lee (free agent); Joel Anthony (free agent).
Rookies of note: Derrick White.
Expectations: 56-36 (2nd in the Southwest Division, 3rd in the West).