It's hard to believe, but the NBA regular season begins tomorrow. The new-look Spurs get immediately thrown into the fire with a season-opener at Golden State, but until then here is a quick look at what some other sites think of the 2016-17 San Antonio Spurs:
ESPN provides a couple of previews (both of which require Insider to view). First is a scouting report and analysis of each player on the Spurs roster. Here is a little tidbit of what the have to say about Kawhi Leonard:
Last season saw Leonard fully realized. (We think. He didn't turn 25 until after the season.) Healthy from day one, Leonard picked up defensively where he left off in winning his first Defensive Player of the Year award in 2014-15 while taking a major step forward as a go-to scorer. The result was Leonard doing the previously unthinkable: beating out a healthy Kevin Durant for a spot on the All-NBA First Team at forward next to LeBron James.
The second is ESPN's traditional 5-on-5, where five journalists are asked five questions and give their answers. Topics discussed include reviewing the Spurs off-season, the biggest issue they face heading into the season, their biggest source of hope, likely trade scenarios (not as many LaMarcus Aldridge suggestions as you might expect), and finally, if they are true contenders.
Next is Sports Illustrated's season preview of the Spurs (all 30 teams are clumped together on one page; the Spurs are down towards the bottom).
There’s no replacing Tim Duncan, but Gregg Popovich has had years to prep for a transition. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge are strong pillars, and Pau Gasol’s passing makes him a natural fit for the Spurs’ beautiful game.
Fox Sports goes over the off-season changes for the Spurs and how roles will change with the team's new additions. One thing is for sure, though: Kawhi knows what his job is now that Duncan is no longer there:
"It starts with me and L.A. first," Leonard said. "If we win a championship, it's going to be up to us to lead the group."
Yahoo's Ball Don't Lie takes a very in-depth look at how last season came and went, the results and off-season changes that came with it, and the best and worst case scenarios. Interestingly (but perhaps not surprisingly), there's some serious potential for Kyle Anderson to breakout into the next Boris Diaw:
...his ability to pass, crash the defensive boards ...use his length to carve things out defensively will be exactly what the Spurs need in 2016-17.
CBS Sports takes a look at three issues the Spurs face going into the season, including how Pau Gasol replaces Duncan, if age will once again be a problem for the Spurs, and if Kawhi can take another step forward.
Finally, over at the SB Nation mothership, Tom Ziller and Paul Flannery discuss the loss of Tim Duncan and what damage this team can still do in the West, and Mike Prada interviews PtR's very own Michael Erler for the Spurs preview on "Limited Upside" NBA Podcast.
The Spurs are entering new territory this season, and while it might be a little scary moving on without The Big Fundamental, so many unknowns also makes this the most intriguing regular season in quite a while. One more day!