predicts challenging future for Spurs

The state of Texas has accounted for seven NBA titles since 1994, with the Spurs claiming four, Houston two and Dallas notching the most recent championship. 

The “Texas Triangle” has traditional been a source of power teams. It might not be quite as rosy in the future.

Chris Palmer of has an interesting breakdown of all three teams in a recent Insider post. Of them, San Antonio might be facing the biggest test to return to elite status.

Here’s what Palmer had to say about the Spurs’ current outlook:

The Spurs’ 61-win regular season had head coach Gregg Popovich’s name in the Coach of the Year conversation all season long. As surprising as their Western Conference-best win total was, the manner in which they were bounced from the playoffs was even more stunning and exposed serious flaws in the Spurs’ game plan. They simply matched up poorly with an upstart Memphis Grizzlies team that became just the second No. 8 seed to topple a No. 1 seed since the NBA expanded the first round to best-of-seven. While age and injuries are probably their biggest concerns, Tim Duncan (34 years old), Manu Ginobili (33) and Tony Parker (28) missed only a combined 12 games last season. But there are a handful of other players on the roster over 30 who simply can’t match the speed or intensity of young teams such as the Grizzlies and Thunder. The Spurs were still highly effective on defense last season, but there’s no getting around the fact that this bunch is nearing the end of its run and is about to enter a major rebuilding phase.”

Here’s what Palmer had to say about the Spurs’ leadership with R.C. Buford and Popovich running the franchise.

“You don’t win four championships without an unseen mastermind behind the scenes. R.C. Buford, arguably the best GM in the NBA, has been the architect of the past three Spurs title runs and one of the most successful executives in American pro sports. The master of the Euro draft-and-stash, he convinced Popovich to go for Parker (three All-Star appearances, 2007 Finals MVP), had a hand in snagging Ginobili 57th overall in 1999 and has seen his gamble on DeJuan Blair pay off. ”He’s proved he can build and maintain a dynasty. Now he’s got to prove he can rebuild one. Buford won’t likely have the good fortune of rebuilding around an all-time great at his position as the Spurs did in 1997, when Duncan became the cornerstone of their brilliant 15-year run. Those rebuilding efforts also might include finding a new coach, as it’s hard to imagine Popovich, owner of four championship rings, slogging through the basement of the Southwest Division while Buford mines distant lands for the next Ginobili.

 ”But even dicier for Buford is what to do with soon-to-be free agent Duncan. Buford must balance the needs of the team with showing the utmost respect for a Spurs legend who made the success of the past 15 years possible.”

And here’s are Palmer’s comments on the team’s key needs heading into the upcoming season.

“Of all the Texas teams, the Spurs have the most work to do at the bargaining table since their key needs likely won’t come through the draft lottery. San Antonio needs an injection of youth, and needs it fast. The Spurs are in desperate need of athletes who can keep up with the speedy teams and sustain an up-tempo brand of basketball over long stretches of minutes. This could be the year the Spurs really start acting their age. During the playoffs, the Spurs simply couldn’t keep up with the spry legs and speed of the Grizzlies. Teams saw that and will surely try to exploit it. What was an ugly exit from the postseason could turn into an ugly demise of San Antonio’s “Big Three.”

It’s a dire prognosis for a team that has made the playoffs every year during Duncan’s tenure with the team and claimed  four NBA titles.

What about it Spurs Nation? Do you think the upcoming future appears to be as bleak as Palmer predicts?

And if not, why do you have faith the Spurs still have another title challenge left  in them?




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