This particular season has been one of the most underwhelming for the Spurs since before the Tim Duncan era, and while the team hasn’t gone out and said it publicly, it does appear that they’re rebuilding a bit.
Both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili could be playing in their final seasons in the league, and the Spurs have been giving younger guys minutes, in preparation for life after their potential retirement. Still, Ginobili appears to feel that the team can compete in the playoffs, and he recently stated that that’s where their focus lies now.
“Halfway through the season we were aiming for the third spot,” Ginobili said, via ESPN’s Michael Wright. “Now we are aiming for the playoffs.”
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich took a bit of a different stance.
“Quit your crying and just play,” Pop said. “That’s what we’ve done. Nobody’s crying, nobody’s making excuses. Everybody has problems they have to overcome with their teams. With us, it’s been the injuries. And [we’re] very disappointed because we wanted to pick up where we left off last year after 61 wins and going to the conference finals. For a large portion of the season we were first or second in defensive efficiency. Our last 10 games, we’ve been 22nd. That tells the whole tale right there.”
On paper, what Ginobili said does make sense. Getting young guys minutes and resting the veterans will ensure that the older players aren’t fatigued, and will also provide much-needed experience to the players that need it most. If that’s what the Spurs are doing, then we do see what Ginobili is saying.
Still, in looking at their roster, it’s clear that the Spurs are nowhere near the level that the Rockets and Warriors are at.