The San Antonio Spurs are currently ranked second in the league (59-17) – falling right under the Golden State Warriors (63-14). For the past few years, it’s been neck and neck with these two teams. Some would say it is too early to make playoff predictions, but the Eastern conference teams are falling far behind when we look at both wins and losses. The number one team in the Eastern conference is the Boston Celtics with 50 wins and 27 losses. While the Spurs’ statistics trump over each of the Eastern conference teams, it’s going to be a hard battle against the Warriors. In fact, it’d be no surprise if the Western Conference Finals will be a more intense game than the final championship game.
We can see how the Spurs have been doing this season and make some early predictions. Let’s look at some key players and find out what could set the Spurs back and what could help them.
There’s no doubt that Leonard dominates on the court. During this season’s Spurs opener against the Warriors, Leonard recorded a career-high with 35 points and 5 steals. Leonard is currently leading the team with 25.9 average points and 1.8 steals per game.
Downside? He’s also leading the team in most fouls per game. If he has to sit out during playoffs, it could really set the Spurs back. Another downside? Let’s take a look at some of his injuries this season: concussion, quad contusion, sore hand, and sickness. Around this time last year, he was out with a right quad contusion. Let’s hope nothing gets in Leonard’s way before playoffs. He also told the Spurs just yesterday that he is going to play in the final six games of the season and won’t sit out. However, it’s not his choice to decide.
Ginobili is one of the most beloved Spurs players because of his friendly personality with the fans and his energetic performance on the court. We can always count on Ginobili to make a strong comeback when the Spurs really need it. Although his points per game are the lowest they’ve been, so are his minutes played per game.
There’s one thing we can’t forget about – Ginobili is about to turn 40-years-old this year. He hasn’t been in the starting line-up for the past three seasons. From this season’s back spasms and ankle injuries, his injuries haven’t kept him from playing. However, he has had to sit out and rest through quite a few games. Although he’s been with the Spurs since 1999, even he sees retirement coming up fast for himself. Ginobili says his priority isn’t basketball anymore – it’s his family and children. Many people think this could be his last season wearing silver and black.
LaMarcus Aldridge has started each game he has played this season and has the second highest points per game with the Spurs. He is also shooting his best 3-point average throughout his entire career. Recently, Aldridge had the entire San Antonio community scared with his heart arrhythmia. Kawhi Leonard even said he expected to get a much heavier workload with Aldridge being out. However, Aldridge made a remarkable comeback. He averaged 19.6 points throughout the last 8 games he played following the irregular heartbeat. Now, Aldridge is sitting out because of a left thumb sprain. He is expected to make a quick recovery.
Tony Parker has been out this season due to back stiffness, sore knees, left foot pain, and sore thighs. Despite all these injuries, he is averaging the most assists with the Spurs this season with 4.9 assists. Parker is in his mid-30’s and joined the Spurs shortly after Ginobili. However, Parker is usually seen running all over the court and surprising spectators with what he can still do at his age. If he reinjures himself it could be bad news for the Spurs. However, if he continues to take care of himself, he could earn another championship ring.
Despite all of this, we know the Spurs play basketball like no other team in the league. They play like a team, and many people tend to overlook how they play the game. There’s no doubt the Spurs are dominating this season. Now we will have to wait and see which players pull through because of so many players resting.
There’s only a few home games left in the regular season. Don’t miss out on what could be your last chance to see Manu Ginobili play with the Spurs, and get your San Antonio Spurs tickets here.