2) San Antonio Spurs 58-24 in the 2012-2013 season. 2nd in the West. 1st in the Southwest.
The Spurs suffered a heart-breaking loss to the Heat last year in the NBA Finals. Game Six alone was one of the best games I have ever witnessed as a fan in my life. It was fantastic for everyone...well except the Spurs. After proving everyone wrong once again that they were too old to make the NBA Finals, they fell by the slimmest of margins. Now this year will be all about the bounce back. How the Spurs handle last year's defeat, especially when it comes playoff time? The questions will be brought up again when it comes to this team's age, yet they've proven time and time again they can compete with the best of them. This is a new year, and they are still the defending Western Conference champs. Yet there are going to be a lot of West teams gunning for them this year. Fireworks are in store.
Acquired: Marco Belinelli
Drafted: Livio Jean-Charles (#28)
Lost: Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair, Tracy McGrady
Starters: Tony Parker (PG), Danny Green (SG), Kawhi Leonard (SF), Tiago Splitter (PF), Tim Duncan (C)
Bench: Manu Ginobili (SG), Marco Belinelli (SG), Matt Bonner (C), Boris Diaw (PF), Cory Joseph (PG)
Up: Danny Green - Talk about catching fire at the right time. When the Spurs need a three-point shooter to come to the rescue, Danny Green caught the hot hand. His long range marksmanship really made it tough for Miami to focus on Tony Parker and Tim Duncan in the Finals. While he wasn't able to get the Spurs the title, he was able to give this team some excitement for the future he could have. He's a heck of a shooter, but also quite a solid defensive player. Another diamond in the rough dug up by the Spurs.
Down: Manu Ginobili - As a fan of the NBA, it was hard to watch Manu in last year's NBA Finals. While he had some games where he stepped up, he just seemed out of whack. It was an up-and-down roller coaster that I'm sure bothered Manu just as much as anyone else. This year he'll have to answer his critics who blamed his struggles for the Spurs falling to Miami. I wouldn't want to be playing against him this year with that pressure on his mind.
X-Factor: Tony Parker - When we talk about the elite NBA Point Guards, somehow Tony Parker seems to be too easily forgotten. He's one of the most consistent players, and is the key to running this team's offense, whether that be setting up Duncan in the post, or dishing it out to one of the team's shooters, or even scoring himself. Parker can do it all, and without the massive turnovers. If San Antonio wants a return to the Finals, Tony will have to be magnificent again.
Question to Ponder...What's the plan when Manu and Duncan retire?
People hate this question. Why can't we just enjoy this team without discussing their age and the upcoming retirements? Well, because San Antonio still wants to be competitive even after they leave, so this is necessary. Tim and Manu are a big part of this team's chemistry, yet when they leave there will be questions to answer, more so with Duncan. Danny Green is showing he can be a good fill in when Manu retires, yet the lack of depth inside on this team might be a worry when it's Duncan's time to hang up the jersey. The other bigs on this team are Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter and Matt Booner. Yeesh. So how does this team go about getting those players? They're the masters of the draft, but they could also trade other players to try and get a young and up-and-coming center. It's not an immediate question, but Spurs fans and management might want to keep it in the back of their mind.
Bold Prediction for the San Antonio Spurs: Only 1 Spur makes the All-Star team!
The West has a lot of talented players, and for the Spurs you have to consider the fact of fan voting. They're a smaller market team, and the game is meant for excitement and big plays, something the Spurs aren't exactly all about. So which one makes it? Obviously it's down to Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Parker will have to compete against a valley of guards such as Kobe, CP3, Harden, Steph Curry and Westbrook. Duncan will be competing against Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol and DeMarcus Cousins. Out of the two, I think Duncan will make the team, while Parker is shockingly left off the team. Yes there might be outrage, but I just don't think this team gets two representatives into the game this year.
Projected Record: 61-21 1st in the West, 1st in the Southwest.