There have been changes afoot in the Spurs organization. They seem to be looking for the answer to the conundrum that is the Golden State Warriors. Are the Spurs changing tactics by picking up players that are ‘not Spurs-type players’? One thing is certain, they are trying to replace their aging roster with very versatile wing players.
We see this in effect with the drafting of tall, rangy Guards like and , both over 6’5″. Plus, picking up guys on two-way contracts, like Darrun Hilliard, a 6’6″ swing player and Matt Costello, a 6’10 Forward. Not to mention the most non-spur-like pickup in Rudy Gay.
We all know that Gay came in at a steal of a deal, mostly because of the uncertainty of a full recovery on that late season Achilles bust. But that isn’t the part that is concerning to me. What concerns me is the Spurs have always been a team built off of work ethic and character. Coach Popovich values competitiveness and hard work over talent and I feel that Rudy Gay is pretty much the antithesis of the Pop mantra.
Rudy Gay is extremely talented and he will be a scoring depth chart, but he has a history of not showing up when needed. This goes all the way back to his days at Uconn. As the #2 Seed, the Gay-led Huskies got taken down by the #10 Seed. Then it gets even better … as the #1 seed Gay and Uconn got knocked out by the #11 seed, George Mason. Following this into his pro career, in his 11 seasons, Gay has had only one playoff series appearance … I hate to paraphrase Skip Bayless because I despise most of his opinions, but he said something along the lines of, ‘This is a guy who is one of only three players since 2006 to have 13-thousand points, 4-thousand assists and 1-thousand steals and yet he only makes one playoff series appearance and not a single all-star team. A lot of talent, not a lot of competitive drive.
All that said, it seems like the Spurs can incorporate and assimilate almost anyone into their system and it looks like and are going to stick around for another year, so maybe some of that phenomenal work-ethic will rub off in the locker room. Furthermore, The Spurs are known for their depth and Gay will help keep the Spurs deep with reliable scorers, but can he come up big when needed? That’s the question.
Vegas and offshore oddsmakers have set the Spurs at an OVER/UNDER line of 54.5 wins in the 2017/18 season — these lines can be found at a few top sportsbooks. . We watched San Antonio waltz into the playoffs at the top of the Southwest Division last year with 61 wins. This line is fairly close since a newly re-enforced Rockets team could take a couple of games of the Spurs in the upcoming season. I see a 57-or-so-win season coming and most likely another Division win.
Speaking of Divisions, The finally surpassed the Spurs on the Las Vegas odds boards to win the division. But the Spurs are not far back at just +120 (1.2 to 1) to win the southwest. It’s a two-horse race as the Pelicans are 14 to 1, the Grizzlies are 25 to 1, and the Mavericks are way back at 66 to 1.
The overall chances that Pop’s Men win the NBA Championship are 12 to 1. It funny because the oddsmakers have the Rockets ahead of the Spurs in the Division, but have them lined out even-steven at 12 to 1 as well for their odds on the Title. Who attends the Western Conference Finals will depend upon seeding arrangements. I do believe the Spurs will still beat the Rockets in a playoff series, but it would much better for San Antonio of that task was left up to the Golden State Warriors so that Harden and Chris Paul can take a little gas out of the Warriors’ proverbial tank.