- Can the Tim Duncan-less San Antonio Spurs win the NBA title next season?
Can the Tim Duncan-less San Antonio Spurs win the NBA title next season?
It is official: Tim
Duncan has hung up his sneakers after an illustrious 19-year career
with the San Antonio Spurs. Realistically, it will take several years
for the Western Conference Southwest Division champions to adjust to
life without their star man but if anybody can defy the odds and lead
San Antonio to victory, it is Gregg Popovich.
The veteran head coach has been there and done it all – and Popovich
will have been preparing for Duncan’s departure well in advance. That's
how good he is when it comes down to planning; the 67-year-old Spurs
legend is always one step ahead.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Duncan’s announcement shocked the entire
San Antonio community. Many believed that the 40-year-old power forward
would put his retirement back another year but he revealed in July that
his mind was made up. However, plenty of punters will believe that
Popovich can lead the Spurs to glory despite Duncan’s departure.
Tony Parker isn’t getting any younger but he still
has a key role to play for San Antonio; particularly now that Duncan
has left the franchise. Parker is now their most experienced player and
the Spurs will reap rewards from his exceptional skillset in the next
few years. At 34 years old, his best years have probably been and gone
but he should still be able to lead the Spurs to the postseason. From
there, Parker and 39-year-old Manu Ginobili can team up with Popovich
to inspire their younger stars to raise their game during the playoffs.
If truth be told, the Golden State Warriors and
defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers may be ahead of the Spurs on
current standing. The Warriors, led by unanimous regular season MVP
Stephen Curry, broke the Chicago Bulls’ long-standing record of 72 victories
in a single campaign last season but fell short in the postseason.
LeBron James saved his best form for the NBA Finals series and he was
able to mastermind Cleveland’s first ever NBA championship success.
Both teams will fancy their chances of going all the way next year...
However, the Spurs have something that these teams don’t have:
Popovich. In a way, Popovich is the Bill Belichick of the National
Basketball Association. He is a dominant figure across the league and
commands respect and attention from his peers; which can often give San
Antonio a slight edge in their fixtures. Popovich is arguably one of
the best head coaches in NBA history
and the 67-year-old cuts an intimidating figure on the side-lines
and the Spurs will reap rewards from his experience and nous in tough
situations, particularly during the postseason. If nothing else,
Popovich’s stature and influence across the league could give San
Antonio a competitive lift throughout the campaign.
Popovich isn’t afraid to tell it how it is; even to
his own players. His intimidating tactics and ability to not only scare
but motivate his troops to improve and perform better is one of his
greatest traits – and that is what makes him an expert coach. Without a
doubt, San Antonio will miss Tim Duncan. That much is obvious. But with
Popovich, Parker and a couple of other key players performing at their
very best, the Spurs can hold their own at the top of the NBA...