Warriors

Know Your Foe: San Antonio Spurs

Know Your Foe: San Antonio Spurs

The Golden State Warriors begin the long road to defending their title Saturday at Oracle Arena. They’ll face one of the more storied franchises in professional sports when the San Antonio Spurs roll through town. 

After stringing together back-to-back 60-plus win seasons, the Spurs stumbled into the 2018 playoff picture, finishing the season with a record of 47-35. It was good enough to squeeze in as a seven seed, but a far cry from what NBA fans have become accustomed to from San Antonio over their 21-year stretch of brilliance.

The Starters

PG: Patty Mills
PG: DeJounte Murray
SF: Kyle Anderson
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Pau Gasol

Gregg Popovich has mixed and matched his lineups this season, but this is the group that has started the majority of the time. Danny Green might make an appearance with the lead group at some time during the first round, but expect Pop to use a dual point guard lineup against the Warriors early in games. Aldridge has anchored the Spurs offense all season and at 37-years-old, Gasol can still do damage.

The Bench

PG: Tony Parker
SG: Manu Ginobili
SG: Danny Green
SF/PF: Rudy Gay
PF: Davis Bertans

Parker and Ginobili have teamed up in the Spurs backcourt for the last 17 years. Parker played a career-low 19.9 minutes per game during the regular season and Ginobili only played 20 a game. They are fresh and ready for the playoff, but no one knows how much they have left in the tank. Gay was a very nice addition. He’s played both forward positions for San Antonio and when healthy, he’s put up solid numbers. Green and Bertans are two of the better 3-point shooters on the Spurs roster.

Offense

San Antonio ranked 27th in the league in points per game this season, averaging 102.7 per game. Their offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) of 107.9 ranked 17th in the league.

While most teams are emulating the style of Warriors and Houston Rockets, the Spurs have chosen a different path. San Antonio ranked 27th in the league in 3-point attempts and 26th in 3-point percentage. They attempted 61.2 shots per game inside the 3-point line, including a lot of mid-range jumpers. On the season, they attempted nearly 400 less shots from behind the arc than the Warriors. 

Despite the lack of long balls, the Spurs still run an efficient, although slow, offensive scheme. They rank 15th in the league in assists, fourth in turnovers committed and sixth in offensive rebounding. They are a methodical group of veterans that make very few mistakes and typically make the shot they intend to take. 

Defense

Throughout their two decades of excellence, the Spurs have shown a remarkable ability to change their style of play on the offensive end. On the defensive side of the ball, they play about as well as you can, even though they boasting six players over the age of 30 in their primary rotation.

San Antonio allowed just 99.8 points per game this season, good enough for first overall. Their defensive rating of 104.8 was third in the league. They slow it down on the offensive end, which helps these numbers, but they also dictate the pace of the game for their opponents.

The Spurs lack a defensive stopper in the middle, but they still finished fourth in the league in blocks. Aldridge led the team in rebounding at 8.5 boards per game and Gasol wasn’t far behind at 8.0 a night. They rebound as a team, finishing just outside the top 10 in total rebounds and 14th in the league on the defensive glass.

In addition to playing solid team defense, the Spurs committed the fewest fouls in the league at 17.2 per game. They give up a ton of 3-pointers (26.3 per game), but they defend the arc well, holding their opponents to just 34.8 percent from deep.

Intangibles

Like the Warriors, the Spurs have been here before. Popovich should already be in the Hall of Fame and half of his squad is heading in on their first year of eligibility. This is a team in the truest sense of the word. Veterans have taken a step back to allow young players to develop. They know each other well and they play to their strengths.

On the downside, the injury to Kawhi Leonard has robbed the Spurs of the best two-way player in the NBA and left the team in a strange place. If he was healthy, this is probably a 55-60 win team sitting much higher in the Western Conference playoffs. But he’s not healthy and questions surrounding his injury have left a dark cloud hanging over the franchise. 

Warriors' Draymond Green reveals desire to retire from NBA in 10 years

Warriors' Draymond Green reveals desire to retire from NBA in 10 years

For Warriors star Draymond Green, this offseason has been all about the Benjamins.

First, Green agreed to a four-year, $100 million contract extension with Golden State, keeping the three-time All-Star from potentially entering free agency in 2020.

Then last week, one of Green’s first investments -- Smile Direct Club -- went public on the stock market and went from a $150 million valuation to a $9 billion valuation. Draymond told Forbes that his investment is now worth 40 times what it was initially.

Green was recently asked about his future plans after basketball, and the 29-year-old has no desire to slow down his money-making moves.

“Ten years from now I'd like to be retired from the NBA, engaged in a number of business ventures,” Green told Inc.com. “And well on my way to my goal of becoming a billionaire.”

Even with seven NBA seasons under his belt, Green has played an average of almost 94 games a year, including both the regular-season and postseason play. At that rate, he would end up amassing 1,593 games played for his career if he played 10 more NBA seasons, placing him second on the NBA’s all-time games played list behind Robert Parish. 

However, Green lost over 20 pounds during the 2018-19 season and took his game to a new level in the postseason, and with today’s modern technology, players are staying fresh longer than ever before. 

I mean Vince Carter is still lacing up his sneakers next to players who weren’t even born when the 42-year-old made his NBA debut.

[RELATED: Watch Warriors star Steph Curry's dance moves at brother Seth's wedding]

We’ll see if Green can parlay his very successful offseason into his on the court play when the Warriors open up the preseason on Oct. 5 at Chase Center against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Until then, keep cashing those checks, Dray.

Watch Warriors star Steph Curry's dance moves at brother Seth's wedding

Watch Warriors star Steph Curry's dance moves at brother Seth's wedding

Every Warriors fan has seen a Steph Curry shimmy.

When the two-time NBA MVP hits a big shot, the shimmy comes out. It's a move Warriors fans love and other teams hate. 

There's no hating on Steph's latest dance moves, though. The Warriors' star point guard was on Cloud Nine and showing off his dance moves over the weekend while younger brother Seth got married in Malibu. 

The Curry brothers took center stage during the playoffs last season when the Warriors and Trail Blazers faced off in the Western Conference finals. Seth scored 6.3 points per game off the bench and then signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Mavericks this offseason.

[RELATED: Check out Steph's $31M three-level mansion in Atherton]

The younger Curry brother married Callie Rivers, the daughter of Clippers coach Doc Rivers. There could be some real competitive H-O-R-S-E games at holidays between these families in the future.

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