All San Antonio Spurs fans collectively gasped at the sight of San Antonio Spurs' forward Tim Duncan's fall to the court in the game against the Golden State Warriors in January.
Fortunately for the Spurs Duncan was fine and fans breathed a sigh of relief. However, it made me think, can the Spurs survive without Duncan or Manu Ginobili for a while should either suffer an injury?
The Spurs are having one of their best seasons in recent memory. Fifty games into the season, the Spurs hold an NBA best 42-8 record.
Who would have thought they will be the league's best team at this point of the season? Not many people can claim they saw this coming and maybe no one can.
Hit the jump to see how the numbers stack up for the Spurs with Duncan and Ginobili on the court and more.
Despite being counted out by most NBA observers because of another disappointing playoff exit from last season and aging core, the Spurs somehow managed to stay afloat and are now considered serious title contenders once again. There are many reasons why the Spurs are having this kind of success this season and one of them is health.
With a healthy lineup and practically the same team from last season, the Spurs are one of the most balanced teams when it comes to offense and it could be argued that they might be a better offensive squad right now than most of their championship teams.
Now more than ever, Ginobili has made it clear he is the team's go-to-guy when it comes to crunch time and has become a more vocal leader of the team while Tim Duncan remains the team's foundation on the defensive end and continues to lead by example.
Ginobili has been more assertive and is currently leading the team with 18.5 points per ball game and his 1.8 steal average is a career high pace.
Tim Duncan's numbers on the other hand, have declined across the board, his 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 29.1 minutes per game are all career lows. But the main reason behind it could be the Spurs' offense have shifted more on the backcourt this season than in years past.
However, his average of 1.92 blocks per game is his highest since the 2007-08 season which is amazing when you consider that his minutes per game has dropped dramatically.
Here are some interesting numbers to ponder.
When Ginobili has:
• Seven or more assists, the Spurs are 11-0
• 18 or more points, the Spurs are 26-3
• One or more blocks, the Spurs are 17-2
• Two steals or more, the Spurs are 23-3.
• Played 35 minutes or more, the Spurs are 13-1
• Shot 38% or better from three point range, the Spurs are 20-2
• Shot 46% or better from the floor, the Spurs are 18-2
When Duncan has:
• Nine or more rebounds, the Spurs are 24-0
• Seven or more defensive rebounds, the Spurs are 23-0
• Three or more blocks, the Spurs are 18-0
• 19 or more points, the Spurs are 10-0
• Five assists or more, the Spurs are 9-0
• Two steals or more, the Spurs are 7-0
• Played 33 minutes or more, the Spurs are 16-1
• Shot 43% or better from the floor, the Spurs are 26-4
Obviously, the Spurs will not have such a great season without their two stars healthy.
However, their reason for success does not rely heavily on the shoulders of either Duncan and Ginobili. This year more than ever, the Spurs' supporting cast are lending a big hand. Tony Parker has been playing one of his best seasons, DeJuan Blair continues to thrive, learn and hold the middle down as the team's starting center. George Hill is a steady hand from the bench, Antonio McDyess is providing veteran smarts on and off the court, and rookie Gary Neal has made their bench more dangerous.
Having said that, it's obvious the Spurs are better with Duncan and Ginobili. No one will disagree with that statement.
But Duncan is no longer dominant in the paint as in seasons past and Ginobili does have a history of injuries but can the Spurs survive without one of them for a stretch of games?
I know most you could not even think about the Spurs without either of them but it's just a question that needed to be asked to Spurs fans.
Fire away at the comment section.
Come on, let's not sugarcoat anything here. If the Spurs lose either Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili, they're done.
Manu and Duncan are just two main reasons to love the Spurs. I can't imagine the team without either of them.
Both are great players and we don't losing any of them. I think they are equally important for the Spurs. I can't decide which player we can afford to miss for a stretch of games so I'm sticking without picking any. My head hurts. Go Spurs Go!
If it's just for a short stretch I'd probably go with most comments here. Duncan is hard to replace in the middle. Manu on the other hand is great but we have great depth at the guards so I think a lot of players can step up in his absence my 2 cents.
Thanks for the compliment @mdeleon and thanks for all the reads and intelligent comments from our beloved readers. We truly appreciate it.
Duncan is the foundation of the Spurs 4 Championship.. And Manu is becoming the heart and soul of the Spurs franchise. When Duncan plays like the 2003 finals and Manu plays like the MVP of the 2004 Basketball Olympics, no team in the NBA can beat the Spurs...
Tim Duncan might not be dominant as he once was but we all know what he is capable of on both ends of the floor. Without him the Spurs will have a huge hole in the middle and that will be hard to overcome.
The Spurs have a deeper backcourt, I tell you the Spurs will be lousy on interior defense if we lose Duncan for a few games. Blair and McDyess can't handle it because they are both undersized. Duncan's timing height and length makes the Spurs a better defensive team. Manu is great but with TP, Hill, RJ and Neal in the backcourt I think we are covered if it's just for a few games.
I agree that Parker is engine of the Spurs, but i was proven in the past the Spurs can survive well without for a short period of time. Last season, George Hill stepped up big time in his absence. I think right now Manu is the most important Spur because he plays with passion and always gives that spark and edge when he is on the court. That kind of attitude is irreplaceable. Go Spurs Go!
If manu and timmy are the heart and soul then tony is the engine. I think the bigger question is can we survive w/out parker? If you look at the games the spurs lost most of them parker was off and not aggressive--he is the key and I don't think his importance is recognized sufficiently.
Thanks for the comments guys! I expected that most of you will say we can't missed either of them, but @Mark_M did a good argument for Timmy D right? and that sentiment was some what echoed by @LFJeremy can somebody standup for Manu? Btw thanks for the video link @mtkoaktown I hope to see you here more often.
The Spurs are the best team right now and it's because of Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. I think the Spurs will have a hard team winning ball games without one of them.
For a short stretch of games I think the Spurs can do better without Ginobili (as long as it's not to injury, just give him rest) with our deep bench I'm sure guys like Parker, Hill, Gary Neal and Matt Bonner will step up. It's harder to miss Duncan because he anchors the defense and we don't have much in the frontline except for Tiago when he's out.
I love both players but if it's just for let say 3-5 games (Again no injuries please!) I think the Spurs can better survive without Manu.
The numbers alone explained it, the Spurs can't afford to loose either Duncan and Ginobili. They are the heart and soul of the team.
Duncan might not be dominant as before but the numbers showed that he had still great impact on why the Spurs wins and Ginobili is Ginobili we can't afford to loose some one like him. Nice article except for the fact that you actually asked about missing either Manu or Tim. Don't ask the same question again!
Losing either Duncan or Manu is scary. When I saw Duncan on the floor against Golden State I'm immediately on the state of denial. Good thing he made it through and is healthy this season. The Spurs needs both of them to survive.
I don't think the Spurs will survive without either of them. Both are so important in the Spurs scheme of things.
I was at the game and had a GREAT (read: horrific) angle of the scariest moment of the year ...
check out my view of the injury at the 4:41 mark. and enjoy the rest.
Radmanovic trips him inadvertently. my heart was pounding as I tried to stay still
to document it. yikes. it was so relieving to see him walk back out for the second half.