The 2013-2014 NBA season is almost here, which means training camps, final roster decisions, and the quelling fermata of last year's Game 6 lamentations. It's time for new beginnings as we approach the NBA's version of New Year's Eve. Prepare for irrationally high spirits, unlikely hookups and more than a few drunken resolutions.
Before the season tips off against the Grizzlies on October 30th (plug: sweet deal for opening night tickets over here on the right!), the Spurs will host members of the media on Monday at their practice facility. After that, the team heads off for training camp which, this year, will be held in Colorado Springs at Coach Pop's alma mater, the Air Force Academy.
Most teams tend to host their training camp close to home, but every year there are some notable exception. In San Antonio's case, it's a way for Pop to give something back to old acquaintances, which is pretty cool. Here are some other the other out-of-town training camps this year:
• Toronto Raptors - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Memphis Grizzlies - Nashville, TN
It's a priority for both teams to extend their respective fan bases beyond their cities and into the rest of the region, which is likely why these teams are taking their show to nearby markets.
• Houston Rockets - McAllen, TX
It shouldn't be too big a surprise that the Rockets -- who bring in the man who had been the league's biggest walking distraction of the past two years -- are taking their training camp to a low-key city in the valley. McAllen is a getaway that should allow the Rockets to integrate their new pieces without many distractions. The city is also home to Houston's D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
• Brooklyn Nets - Duke University, Durham, NC
Because half of Duke's student body is usually from New Jersey anyway, the Nets shouldn't feel too far from home. (That joke would kill at North Carolina's Student Union.)
For Spurs fans, training camp and media day offer the earliest glimpses of the story lines and questions that'll shape the 2013-2014 season: How will Pop manage the minutes of his aging core -- especially for Eurobasket-weary players like Tony Parker and Marco Belinelli? Who will step up as backup PG? How much will Kawhi Leonard's role grow? Who, besides the recently signed Sam Young and Corey Maggette, will get a training camp invite?
The answers to these questions ought to serve as a much-needed remedy to last year's lingering hangover, and we'll get to see them realized in the months ahead.
Thanks to the team's longtime success (and especially now in the twilight years of the Duncan era), the regular season may seem like little more than a formality - a zero-sum process of DNPs, minute-rationing, and Pop interview sound bytes.
Does this make things boring? For auld lang syne, no.
It's Pop's masterful navigation of the 82-game gauntlet that makes the Spurs season way more than a collection of highlights. It's a series of tactical, individual decisions made to get the team back to the party next year.
Because they're not too old to party just yet.
Are you excited for the season to get underway? What questions are on your mind as training camp approaches?