One year removed from the Spurs' most active summer in recent history, the team once again finds itself at the start of training camp, filled with uncertainties, as well as anticipation. This time, however, the number of new faces entering camp is much lower. It is likely that Spurs fans have learned to hold back on lofty expectations, at least until the season starts, but how do we compare last season's team to the one heading into camp this year?
Ever since May 10th, after the painful defeat at the hands of the Suns, every Spurs fan has been anxiously awaiting this day to see the team that has been constructed to take into the next season. Moving into training camp, we have a decent idea of what the team will look like (not talking about the new uniforms) next season and how we differ from last year's squad.
Roger Mason - Mason was a key contributer in the 2008-2009 season but, unfortunately, it seems like he lefthis game there. Injured for most of the season, he was never close to the effectiveness he showed in 2009.
Keith Bogans - Bogans started the season playing well but then rapidly began to get worse as the season went on. By the time the playoffs began he was completely out of the rotation.
Malik Hairston - Malik didn't get much playing time until late in the season. He showed some signs of good play and many felt like he should have gotten more time on the court. However the coaching staff felt otherwise.
As we can see, all the players lost were players who had very little impact on the team's success this past season. One would imagine that this amount of production could easily be reproduced, but did the Spurs add the players necessary to do so?
Gary Neal - Neal is a gunner. Plain and simple. He is on the court for one reason: to put the ball in the net. His stellar play during the summer league gave us a glimpse at what he has to offer. Neal figures to be a solid rotation player, or at the very least, a gunner off the bench to help end scoring droughts.
James Anderson - With the 20th pick in the 2010 NBA draft, our highest pick in years, the Spurs selected James Anderson. The Big 12 player of the year is likely to crack the regular rotation, although his role is slightly uncertain as of now.
Tiago Splitter - The most anticipated Spur since Tim Duncan came to town. He has been on the minds of every Spurs fan since 2007. The Spanish league MVP and finals MVP is expected to be a producer right from the start on a team that could badly use his services.
Looking at the the off season it's clear that the changes made were, essentially, at the same positions. If we believe this to be true then it is not unreasonable to say that the players lost were "replaced" by those gained. Therefore, it can be said that:
Roger Mason <---------------------------was replaced by-----> Gary Neal
Keith Bogans/ Malik Hairston <----was replaced by------> James Anderson
Ian Mahinmi <-----------------------------was replaced by-----> Tiago Splitter
In addition to the new additions, most of the Spurs improvement will come internally. Each player still on the roster from last season is "expected" (there's that word again) to make improvements.
- George Hill, Dejuan Blair and Matt Bonner are "expected" to continue to improve as they develop their games.
- Richard Jefferson and Antonio Mcdyess are "expected" to improve as they continue to grow in the system.
- Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are "expected" to be better as they have spent all summer resting and strengthening their bodies
All that and we haven't even mentioned the young guys (Garrett Temple and Alonzo Gee) or any surprise signing we get out of training camp. Considering all these things, how would compare this year's team to the team that we ended last season with?