Did anyone catch that adult joke in one of the commercials near the beginning of the game? "We also have a big caucus. A really, really big caucus! The biggest caucus in America! But not too big to handle."
SG: Manu Ginobili/James Anderson/Alonzo Gee/Garrett Temple
PG: Tony Parker/George Hill//Gary Neal
Head Coach: Gregg Popovich (15th season)
2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $71.4 million
Off-Season Grade: C+
I made the outrageous statement that if Richard Jefferson opted out of the final year of his contract that would have earned him $15 million this season that I would stop wearing flip flops. I love flip flops. Jefferson shockingly exercised his team option and became an unrestricted free agent. Even more surprising is that the Spurs signed Jefferson to a 4-year, $38.8 million extension when the market was not dictating him worthy of such a deal. It is a conspicuous move for a player who did make the impact that most expected him to in his first year in San Antonio.
San Antonio did not have to do much else in the offseason. They finally brought over big man Tiago Splitter who should be an impact rookie and re-signed Matthew Bonner to add even more depth up front. James Anderson was a good value with the 20th-overall pick and should be a valuable bench player. Still, I just do not get giving Jefferson that type of contract. And yes, I reneged on my statement and still rock the flops.
Another NBA season, another year in which I cannot help but think this might be the time that the Spurs start to fizzle a bit. San Antonio has posted 11 straight 50-plus win seasons, but hit 50 on the head last season which show signs of the franchise starting to slow down.
Tim Duncan is obviously the glue that holds this team together. He remains consistent having posted a double-double in every single season during his NBA career which is an amazing statistic. However, Duncan averaged a career low in minutes, points and rebounds in 2009-10 which could be an indication that all the mileage on his odometer is finally catching up to him.
San Antonio does have a good deal of depth up front which will likely keep Duncan's workload down as to keep him healthy for a playoff run. DeJuan Blair proved to be a second-round steal and fits right in with the Spurs' toughness on the boards. Splitter has battled a thigh injury this preseason but should be a major contributor once he gets healthy. Bonner and Antonio McDyess are veterans who will also chip in off the bench.
The point guard position is very solid with Tony Parker running the show and George Hill being more than a capable backup who can also play alongside Parker in the backcourt. Gregg Popovich has utilized Manu Ginobli in primarily a sixth-man role the past few seasons, but Ginobli should start at the two. Rookie James Anderson will see fair share of minutes off the bench as well in hopes of keeping Manu healthy for the postseason.
The goal for the Spurs is to get a top-four seed in the Western Conference. As long as they are in the playoffs and at 100 percent, they will have a chance because of their experience and ability to defend.
Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2011:
The Spurs have always rewarded their own players when the time comes. They inked Ginobli to an extension last season to avoid having him hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent, and they re-signed Jefferson when he chose to opt out of the final year of his deal. San Antonio just rewarded free agent-to-be Parker with a multi-year extension that will keep him around for a few more seasons. This means the Spurs will have all their key players under contract for next season which should translate to a quiet 2011 offseason.