The Spurs' young core is getting more visibility

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A few days ago, we looked at what writers are saying about some of the young, talented teams out west who could compete against the Spurs this season. The Spurs have quite the young core of their own with Tiago Splitter, Danny Green, and Kawhi Leonard, and the media is taking notice. See what NBA pundits around the league have to say about our young guns.

Danny Green has received his share of grief after he shot a combined 2/19 in Games 6 and 7 of the NBA Finals. But Ryan Heckman at Rant Sports has some thoughts about why Green is still a key piece in the Spurs' system:

A guy like Green needs to be used even more this next season, and I think the Spurs will continue to try and get him the ball in different ways. Green can flat out shoot the basketball. If he can continue to improve his game as a whole on offense, he could take the Spurs all the way to the Finals again - and this time, bring home the ring.

Green wasn't the only one who didn't step up his game at the end of the Finals. It seemed as if Tiago flitted in and out through the entire Miami series -- except for The Block and his 4th quarter contributions in Game 6. Ryan Grace at TrueHoop has an excellent piece about the Spurs' young talent that's worth checking it out. Here's an excerpt:

This postseason, Splitter held Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to a combined 31.3 percent shooting in eight games. Prior to facing Splitter, Randolph averaged a playoff-high 9.9 post-up points per game. In four games against the Spurs, he averaged 4.2 points per game in the post.

Aside from Green and Tiago, Leonard has also gotten a lot of flak for missing The Free Throw. A role player last season, Leonard was constantly brilliant throughout the Finals. Zach Lowe of Grantland wrote a fantastic commentary after Game 6 that is an absolute must-read for anyone still looking to rid themselves of some of the common misconceptions about of that game.

Leonard, alleged choke artist, scored four of San Antonio's five points in overtime. One Spur made baskets in overtime. His name is Kawhi Leonard. These are overtime baskets in the freaking NBA Finals - by definition some of the clutchiest baskets that could possibly exist in sports. Do people realize this happened? Did I hallucinate that Leonard was the only San Antonio player to score a basket in overtime? He also had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and has played sensational defense on both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for large portions of this series. Over the full six games, I'm not sure any Spur has been better overall. Cool as a cucumber, baby.

Having a solid young core, the Spurs are taking action to avoid the injuries Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan have had throughout their careers. Steve McPherson and Andrew Lynch combined for this piece on what the Spurs are doing to prevent missed games. Here's a quick bit from this must-read article:

How to extend an aging athlete's career is a vital question as teams work with players like Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant, but it can be just as important for younger players to start making the most of their bodies now. The directions players move have a surprising amount to do with injury prevention. McCoy refers to this as asymmetry, and it's something most basketball fans know: athletes often move better in one direction than the other. When someone says, "Force him left" or, "Don't let him catch it on the right block," this is what they're talking about.

What do you guys think? How much larger should Danny and Kawhi's offensive roles be next season? And is it time to bring high tech injury technology to NBA games and see what happens?

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