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San Antonio Spurs: 2019-20 NBA season preview

San Antonio Spurs

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs will have their sights set on returning into the upper echelon of the Western Conference in 2019-20. From top-to-bottom, does their roster have what it takes?

A smile crept across the face of former San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginobili when asked about what he expected from his former team during 2019-20. The 4-time NBA champion was brutally candid: he doesn’t see the Spurs cracking the top-four or even the top-six for that matter.

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But, the postseason is something he sees as more than feasible.

Surprising as it may be, that prediction has been as optimistic as they’ve come this offseason for the Spurs.

It’s easy to forget that this Spurs team took a 54-win Denver Nuggets team — the same team experts suggest will be the best in the West in 2019-20 — to an all-you-can-handle Game 7 a season ago, despite major roster turmoil and a season-ending injury to its starting point guard.

To an extent, the tempered expectations are understandable. The Spurs aren’t necessarily top-heavy; they don’t have a clear-cut superstar type player that levels the playing field in their favor when things the pressure amplifies.

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One reason for the lack of faith in the San Antonio Spurs has been their insistence to go against math and analytics.

In today’s NBA, it’s almost a legality to prioritize the three-point shot over any other zone on the court. Like a stubborn child, the Spurs have stuck to what works — long-twos, and if that doesn’t work, more long-twos — and why not?

Despite taking fewer 3-pointers as a team than any other team in the NBA, the Spurs still ranked fifth in offensive efficiency a season ago.

But, if simple math serves correct, the roster they’ll be entering the season with certainly has the look of one that can compete for a 50-win season.

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Teams having two perennial All-NBA level players is rare. The Spurs employ two in LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, who ranked No. 16 and No. 31 on Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 respectively.

The season and what is ahead has been mentioned again and again, but its potential deserves to be restated: where it lacks in star power, San Antonio’s backcourt is about as well-rounded as one can get.

Last spring’s postseason served as somewhat of a potential harbinger for what we could expect from Derrick White, and with Gregg Popovich having to the freedom to experiment among the likes of Patty Mills, Bryn Forbes and Lonnie Walker IV, to name a few, there’s plenty to like about what’s out on the perimeter for the 2019-20 Spurs.

Excluding Murray, the Spurs had favorable luck among the basketball gods a season ago. Any rotation player that played in at least 12 minutes per game played in at least 60 or more games.

Should that be the case again, there’s simply too much talent for this team to not be playing meaningful games deep into the NBA calendar.

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That’s not to say it’s time to mapping out a parade down Riverwalk; it’d likely take a few career seasons from many key Spurs in today’s rough-and-tumble West. But, there’s plenty to like about this version of the Spurs, and with that, we focus in on the upcoming season.

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