ESPN Kevin Pelton utilized a real plus-minus projection for each NBA team for its win-lose record this coming season. His projections indicate the Spurs will just win 40 games and that the Spurs will miss the playoffs after a league record 22years consecutive playoffs appearance.
However, the Spurs will have its full roster of players especially Dejounte Murray and the addition of Carroll and Lyles to provide depth in the post. Dejounte Murray will boost the defense of the team at point guard position as he has been cleared to play full basketball.
Even though teams in the West have made huge improvements in free agency and trades, team chemistry and players’ health shall be vital to a successful playoff run.
For the Lakers, their key players need to be constantly healthy for the regular season and playoff grind. Lebron James and Anthony Davis have yet to play a full season without incurring injuries. DeMarcus Cousins recent ACL injury would devastating for their campaign even if they acquire Dwight Howard whose game has long gone downhill.
With the Clippers, on the other hand, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard also had a history of injury issues. Paul George will likely miss the opening week with a shoulder injury.
ESPN surprisingly even ranked the Mavericks higher than the Spurs. Their duo of Doncic and Porzingis hasn’t played a single game together. They are great players but chemistry will still be a factor and media hype has placed too much expectation from their team.
Meanwhile, the Spurs had remained mostly intact so team chemistry would most likely improve from last year. DeRozan will surely have adjusted to Coach Pop’s system amd will become a more steady player. Under coach Pop, we just hope he becomes more clutch and that he extends his offense beyond the arc. Aldridge will still be Spurs leader and main man who will demand attention on both ends of the court. Derrick White will just continue to improve after his amazing breakout season last year. Lonnie Walker IV is making a leap on his sophomore season and hopefully produce some impact and playing time..
With coach Popovich and his vaunted Spurs system leading the team to 22 consecutive years of playoffs appearance, we find no reason for them to miss the playoffs this coming season. Coach Pop will again surprise ESPN, other sports analysts and the NBA community when they reach the playoffs yet again. Who knows? They may even overachieve and reach the second round or even the conference finals. Anyway, Spurs always love to play the underdog tag.