Where To Go Next: The Spurs Without Tim Duncan

This has been the most active San Antonio off-season in recent memory. With the announcement of Tim Duncan’s retirement, Boris Diaw getting trade to the Jazz, and multiple new signings, some will assume that the Spurs are scheming for another decade of dominance while others believe this is a weak off-season for the Silver and Black. Some are unsure of what the Spurs will be capable of next season without Duncan, or what they will look like as a team, but based on the signings that have occurred thus far (July 12th, 2016), this is what the roster will probably look like in the upcoming season:

Player Name Position Age Height (ft)
Tony Parker Point Guard 34 6'3
Patrick Mills Point Guard 27 6'0
Dejounte Murray Point Guard 19 6'5
Danny Green Shooting Guard 29 6'6
Manu Ginobili Shooting Guard 38 6'6
Jonathon Simmons Shooting Guard 26 6'6
Kawhi Leonard Small Forward 25 6'7
Kyle Anderson Small Forward 22 6'9
LaMarcus Aldridge Power Forward 30 6'11
Davis Bertans Power Forward 23 6'10
Livio Jean-Charles Power Forward 22 6'9
Pau Gasol Center 36 7'0
Dewayne Dedmon Center 26 7'0

There are several new young faces to the team, and it has been quite some time since the Spurs have experienced a significant surge of youth in their roster. The first most notable young acquisition is Dejounte Murray. Murray, a 6’5 19-year-old rookie, selected 29th overall dropped 21 points in his Summer League debut showing some incredible athleticism and finishing ability at the rim. He is most likely the Tony Parker replacement in the near future. Many were in awe that the Spurs were able to draft him so late, and he will be incredibly difficult to guard once he develops a reliable jump shot when Spurs shooting coach Chip Engelland is done with him.



 

The next addition is Davis Bertans who was a 2011 2nd round pick for the Indiana Pacers. Bertans is a 6’10 PF who can shoot the ball despite missing a finger on his shooting hand. He is going to provide some spacing for the Spurs in the upcoming season as he is one of the best shooters in Europe as he shot 42% from beyond the arc. With a two-year deal, the only thing to consider with his game is if it can translate well into the elite level of the NBA. Can he deal with the athleticism of starting players? Can he keep up on defense? It seems to be in the realm of possibility as he is only 23 years old, and Manu Ginobili was able to become a great NBA player with many years of experience overseas prior.



 

Livio-Jean Charles is another young player who is getting the chance to play next season. Jean-Charles was drafted by the Spurs in 2013 with the 28th pick who was stashed away to develop his game and has spent a majority of his basketball career with ASVEL in France. At 6’9, he provides some length with a 7’2 wingspan. He is a good rim protector, and can pass effectively as well. Although minimal footage has been seen of Jean-Charles this year, he appeared to be an effective force last year when the Spurs won the NBA Summer League. He seems to lack a consistent jump shot, and he is going to need one in order to provide spacing on the Spurs roster, but he holds the physical tools in order to provide great energy off of the bench in his debut.



 

Next up on the list is Dewayne Dedmon who is the athletic replacement for Boban Marjonovic. He is able to fly, grab boards, and can sometimes shoot outside of the painted area. In his limited 12 minutes per game, he averaged 4.4 PPG and 4 RPG. He had his moments last year  when he grabbed 13 boards and 18 points against Chicago as a starter in 22 minutes on 64 FG%. He outplayed the likes of Gasol and Gibson that game which definitely peaked Buford’s and Popovich’s interest, and should be a very intriguing addition to the Spurs future if he is able to stay effective.

 

 

 

With those additions, the Spurs are attempting to go much younger and athletic for the upcoming future with the inevitable departures of Ginobili and Parker. The average age of Murray/Bertans/Jean-Charles/Dedmon is 22.5 which gives plenty of time to develop them alongside the likes of Leonard and Aldridge. Kyle Anderson is also looking promising as he is developing a Boris Diaw-like game in Summer League this year utilizing jump hooks, post ups, and great passing. Kyle is only 22 years old, and the Spurs also have 26-year old Jonathon Simmons who is a super-athletic talent who may become the successor to Ginobili very soon.


Despite the youth movement, the Spurs cannot be the Spurs without some elderly presence on the court. Tony Parker is still going to be around, and he has been doing well this summer playing for the French national team. Ginobili decided to return for another year, and he had a solid season dropping 9.6 PPG in 19 MPG. The latest veteran addition to the Spurs is Pau Gasol. The Spaniard finally came to his senses and signed with San Antonio after a stint in the Windy City, but it may be too late. With the departure of Duncan, and Gasol reaching the twilight years of his career, it is hard to say if it is a good move overall. Gasol is nowhere near the defensive presence that Duncan was, as Duncan lead defensive box plus/minus in his last year in the league. Maybe Duncan can remain in the shadows and mentor Gasol's defense, but such a scenario is unlikely. The most likely scenario is Popovich benching Gasol until he realizes he needs to put his hands up and get in the way of the ball-handler. Even if Gasol may lack a defensive presence, he can add to an already elite offensive game that can compliment Aldridge and Leonard during the season which can be effective against most teams in the league.

 

 

At this point in time, this is what the Spurs will look like next year. It is hard to say if the Spurs can contend in the West next year against the Warriors which is the team to beat with all of these new additions. The roster is still missing a couple of players and there is still plenty of time for Buford and Pop to pick up the remaining pieces to maintain the Spurs tradition of winning 50 games and succeeding in the playoffs. Some would say the Spurs didn’t have a successful off-season, but it is incredibly hard to discredit off-season moves for one of the most successful organizations in sports history. We cannot forget that they drafted Tony Parker 29th overall, gave Leonard a sweet jumper and turned Danny Green into a premier defender. The Spurs are retooling around Aldridge and Leonard, and it will be exciting to see to see this new roster play once it is complete. There are a few more moves to make, and a few more agonizing months before we can see beautiful Spurs Basketball again. 


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