After Tim C.'s wise suggestion, I've made my lengthy comment on Artis Gilmore's recent fanpost into a more easily digested fanpost. Exact same dish, but with a bit nicer presentation.
Hmm, I don’t agree with a lot of what you (AG) said. You’re making a prediction for this season, but a lot of your arguments go beyond this season. You talk as if one of the big three (Timmy?) won’t even be here and that RJ will need to pick up that slack.
So, I think I’ll do something a little different and compare last year’s team to this year’s team player-by-player in terms of my expectations:
‘09-’10 – - – ‘10-’11
Duncan = Duncan
A year older, but I don’t really expect any drop in his production from last year. His offense will still be there. A defensive liability? Tim will never be that. That’s a label you give to someone like, oh, say Amar’e. I can’t imagine an old Amar’e’s D.
Ginobili = Ginobili
He started last season very tentative, but he will not have that issue after a healthy and rested offseason. He might produce less, he might produce more. Manu is always Manu, and I’ll never doubt the man.
Parker < Parker
His injuries greatly hampered his performance. now he has had rest and worked to improve athletically. No reason to believe otherwise. I can’t believe people (most non-Spurs fans) keep saying he’s old, has lost a step, etc. Completely ignorant statements.
Jefferson < Jefferson
We are already seeing the benefits of his 1 year in the system plus his offseason work.
McDyess = McDyess
He’s older now and will play less, but also has a year in the system. I think these cancel out.
Hill < Hill
I don’t expect a big leap in improvements, and he’s had a bit of a rough time so far, but I still expect some improvement, as he has worked on his 3 point range, and he’s still so young. It’s hard to argue against.
Blair < Blair
He’s no longer a rookie, and has made improvements in the offseason. Despite being short, he still has a strength advantage against a lot of bigs around the league. I’m not too worried about him.
Bonner < Bonner
He’s older, yes, but I think he has possibly expanded his offense slightly, plus his unlikely hand injury negatively effected his late season performance. That was his only injury in the last 2 seasons, so I don’t see how you can call him "injury prone."
Ratliff, Mahinmi < Splitter
No argument needed. We could even say he’s really replacing Dyess, and Dyess is replacing them, and we would still have a huge improvement in the making. I really dislike that you seem to write him off quite a bit for being a rookie. Don’t do that, you know better. You know he’s not your normal rookie stepping onto a professional court for the first time.
Mason < Neal
Neal has a better handle/court vision, but is an NBA rookie. Mason, as our designated sharpshooter, simply stunk it up last season, injuries or not. He Had 2 good-great shooting months, but that’s it. I doubt that if we threw Mason into the Italian league, he would lead in scoring. We won’t be relying on Neal like we did on Mason, but he will shoot better percentage-wise than Mason. Also, I think Neal will show to be more reliable defensively (not too difficult), and the effort is already there.
Bogans, Finley < Anderson
Bogans was never an offensive stud, while Anderson was one of the most efficient college scorers last year. Offensive improvement? Check. Defensively, Bogans gave it his all and had veteran experience, but he was a little old, a little small, and by no means athletic in NBA standards; he just wasn’t good enough. Anderson will give it his all as well, and he has much better tools than Bogans ever had. While a rookie, I think he can at least manage Bogans’ defensive output. Finley, meanwhile, had a disappointing season, as his unfortunate injury (and Hill’s play) put him out of commission and rotation. Anderson’s offense is more comparable to Finley’s than Bogans’. I’m now thinking of his O as somewhere between a young Finley and an old Finley, which is a very promising. Also, I don’t doubt that he is an improvement defensively over Finley.
Hairston, Haislip, etc. < Simmons, Temple, Gee
I could include Mahinmi & Ratliff here, but I decided to separate them since they’re bigs. Hairston was given a few minutes and performed admirably, but ultimately we decided on letting him go. We may even see him again in the future, but it’s hard/unnecessary to speculate. Simmons is the only veteran in the bunch, but still has as much to prove as the others. Temple is technically on both ends of this comparison, but I’ll only include him for this season. Due to his surprising play last season, we’ve had high hopes for him, but there really isn’t much time in our frontcourt for him. He might get Hairston-type minutes (<7 minutes per). Gee will likely get the Haislip treatment, but his season will end with him in Austin, and possibly back here, instead of Greece.
With these overall improvements, I can’t see us performing as badly as last season, especially if I leave out injuries like you pretty much did. I predict us going 55-27. It may be optimistic, but it’s closer than 40-42 for sure. A "Doomsday" season would have to include injuries galore (last season?), which you don’t even propose. I guess pessimism does have its place in an overall optimistic fansite (hopefully in a dark, dusty corner, or under the rug). Thanks for your opinion, AG.
Oh, and as always, GO SPURS GO!