Hope everyone is enjoying Thanksgiving weekend! There's been a lot of talk about the Spurs being a regular season team and not having what it takes to win a championship. I've been thinking about it too, and I keep thinking of characteristics of past championship teams.
Obviously this season is still very young and with Kawhi/Capt Jack out it and the flu going around its hard to judge this team. So far I like how we've progressed since the Memphis disaster. We picked up kawhi/green/capt jack who are three"nasty" and versatile players and got rid of RJ. We got Diaw, who might be soft but one of the smartest passers (to the point of frustration). The best part about this season is that these players are going to have a full season to work together (we already see improvements in the tiago/tim pairing) and let Pop experiment. While were probably still going to win 60 games, there are improvements this team needs to make to elevate them selves from contender to favorite.
TREND: There are a lot of stats to measure defense, but I feel opposing FG % is a pretty good way to get a feel for it. In the past 6 years no one has allowed opponents to shoot better than 45% from the FG (most were < 44.5%) and no one has ranked outside the top 7. Unfortunately the Spurs of the past 3 years have failed to hold opponents to less than 45% (they've been somewhere btwn 45.2 and 45.7 which is usually top 15)
CURRENTLY: Allowing 44.7% !!! Which is the lowest since the 2007-8 season. GOOD SIGN. I'm not going too deep into which opponents we've played and what they average, but this will be an important stat to keep in mind as the season progresses. Also, as a side note, the Spurs always are in the bottom 3 of committing fouls so they're not giving away easy points. Speaking of easy points...
2) EASY POINTS
I remember a quote from Charles Barkley when the Spurs were playing the Suns. He said during halftime if the Spurs come out and get a few easy buckets from Duncan, theyre going to win the game. What do you know... Duncan comes out and gets a few nice post moves on Amare and the Spurs go on to win the game and series.
TREND: i have no stats to show for this, but lets use the eye test. Since the Jordan Bulls (earliest team I personally can remember), championship teams have been able to get points when they really need to. Jordan, Hakeem, Duncan, Shaq, Wade (didn't realize you could hire personal escorts to the FT line), Kobe, Dirk, Lebron. These guys could get you two points when you most need them and could also get to the FT line if their game was off. In the playoffs its impossible to shoot a high FG % every single game, so it is essential to get easy points. Basically you need a scorer than can put up 30 any given night and play from start to finish.
CURRENTLY: We don't have a scorer like any of those mentioned above. Someone we can just rely on getting two points or someone who can take over the game. This is why I want Tony to get to the line more often. I guarantee you he's not going to post up a 15/21 stat line against the heat/thunder/lakers in the playoffs. There's too much contact, too much physicality and not enough space. Tony hardly gets to the line for how often he's flying in the paint, but he's going to need to in the playoffs when he's bound to have an off night.
3) ITS A STAR'S LEAGUE
You need a star that can play for 40+ minutes. Durant and Lebron are freaks. Duncan is a freak. Jordan was a freak. We need a freak or the 04 pistons defense. I hope Tony can be our freak. He needs to be able to play for 40+ minutes because believe me, patty mills is effective against 2nd units but not against the miami heat starting 5.
I'll finish up my fanpost with a couple notes
-our offense didn't score a ton of points in our championship years but it still shot at a top 3 FG% and top 3 3 PT %, which means we had a great offense, we just didn't run as much
-lets remember OUR championship teams, we didn't have a DEEP bench, we had important ROLE players, but nothing more. not guys that we relied on to play well every game to have a shot of winning (didn't matter if a danny green type coudn't hit 3s or someone got winter shoes)
In conclusion, I think our team is rounding up nicely with guys that can make this team a top 5 defensive unit. We need to be able to lean on parker and the big 3 during clutch time like we did against the pacers today. Thank you for reading! Feel free to prove me wrong as much as possible!