Back in the day, it was one of the two most eagerly anticipated sports journalism moments at my house each week.
In that halycon area before 24-hour sports networks and message boards, a young reader was happy to get any kind of information apart from the daily sports page. In those days, we got one college football game on television each Saturday, two NFL games on Sunday and no televised NBA games at all until Christmas Day.
So it was always a big event each Friday when the Sports Illustrated arrived with the glossy pictures and flowery writing. On Saturday, the notes and boxscores that arrived each week with the Sporting News were just as keenly awaited.
But both publications still have a special meaning for me and I typically drop what I am doing to at least glance through each publication upon arrival these days. Old habits die hard for me, even after more than 40 years.
So it was understandable Wednesday that when the Sports Illustrated arrived with its NBA previews, it would be appointment reading.
I was amazed they were able to , which leads me to believe they were ready for a long time and just awaiting the end of the lockout for release.
But whatever. It was still interesting to read what old buddy Sam Amick had to say about the Spurs heading into the season.
Here is the Sports Illustrated preview:
SAN ANTONIO SPURS:
What they’ve got: San Antonio is hoping to get one more ring out of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. While they looked like eventual world champs during a 57-13 start last season, their six-game upset at the hands of the Grizzlies in the first round might have marked the end of an era.
What they need: The Spurs need to figure out the fate of small forward Richard Jefferson and power forward Antonio McDyess. Even if they don’t use the amnesty provision on Jefferson (three years and $30.5 million remaining), the clause makes it easier to move him; his contract would be seen as an expiring one. McDyess hinted at retirement at the end of last season, but has not said definitely what he will do. Rookie forward Kawhi Leonard, out of San Diego State, will help but not enough to offset the loss of guard George Hill, who was traded to the Pacers in June.
Bottom line: The Spurs will win on most nights, but they won’t win it all.
Amick’s observations are cogent and his bottom line is kind of a barometer about what the national media is thinking about the Spurs.
Namely, expect a strong winning season, but don’t be surprised if we see the same kind of ending for the Spurs in the playoffs that has resulted in first-round ousters in two of the last three seasons.