Looking back at the San Antonio Spurs 2012-13 season, Spurs fans left contemplating a few of the same questions that they were pondering at the end of last season. This season provided us with another winning regular season and a deep run in the playoffs.
The campaign was a tale of two seasons.
The regular season showed us what we have been accustomed to seeing, a complete team lead by the 'Big 3,” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, where no one is bigger than the team. Along with the commitment shown by the "Big 3”, there was also the same commitment by the supporting players to be ready to pick up the slack when the "Big 3” missed time with various injuries or needed to get the rest for the playoffs, as was evident during the “Rest-gate” game. The bench showed that they were more that capable of competing with the defending NBA Champions.
This season also brought the emergence/taking the next step in their game by Gary Neal, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter gave Spurs’ fans glimpses of who could be stepping in the "Big 3” shoes of Duncan and Ginobili. Throughout the season, each of the three stepped up to the plate and carried the offensive load when the situation arose.
Cory Joseph appeared to take control of the backup point guard role in critical situations when Parker was resting on the bench.
As the playoffs approached, the Spurs ended Stephen Jackson’s second tour with the Spurs. While the release was not a surprise, the timing was. No attempt was made to get something of value in return before the trade deadline.
Going in to the playoffs the team was prepared, as the number two seed, to take the next step and finish off the job that was left incomplete during the Western Conference Finals last season versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The 2013 NBA Playoffs started off in a similar manner as the 2012 Playoffs. The Spurs swept through the first round versus the Kobe-less Los Angeles Lakers.
Next were the Golden State Warriors with “the best shooting backcourt in history” (according to Mark Jackson). They showed how the Spurs were susceptible to the great to perimeter shooting team. The Spurs, with their vast playoff experience, were able to corral the streak shooting enough to gain a 4-2 series victory.
In a return trip to the Western Conference finals, the Spurs, with their playoff experience, ran through the Memphis Grizzlies on a way to a 4-0 series sweep and a week-long rest before facing the Eastern Conference Championship.
This leads us to the NBA Finals match up versus the Miami Heat.
For the Spurs, this playoff run ended in a similar manner as last year’s. The "Big 3” fought hard to carry the team and keep the Spurs in the series with help from role players (Leonard, Neal, and Green) in the first 5 game of the Finals. They hit their open looks, made the critical stops on the defensive end and allowed “the Big 3” to save their energy for the fourth quarter. During Games 6 and 7, the only role player that came to play was Kawhi Leonard, possibly cementing his role in the "Big 3” version 2.0 alongside Tony Parker. Similar to last year’s Western Conference, the rest of the team stopped hitting shots that they were knocking down throughout the regular season and the playoff run. The lack of production caused Coach Popovich to shorten his rotation and rely more heavily on his core players. This absence left a large portion offensive burden on the shoulders of the "Big 3” and Leonard.
Looking back at the playoffs, the Westbrook injury may have hurt the Spurs as much as it did the Thunder. With a rematch versus the Thunder could have resulted in more competitive games, where the role players saw more crunch time minutes and built their confidence for the NBA Finals. They need to find a way to maintain their confidence during the most critical series. They showed in the regular season they could hang with the Heat without the "Big 3”.
So Spurs’ fans do you view the 2012-2013 season as a step forward or as an example of not learning from lessons from last season for the role players?
I live in massachusets but I am a great, great spurs fan. For me most of players are not following coach directors in finals moments of the games with great tension. We have seen it many times through the series, not even in game 6. Spurs have a great barrier; they collapse MENTALITY. How many times we have seen that a great lead of 15 or 20 points, built with genuine effort of play and coaching for 11 minutes, melted for 2 minutes when players and coaches looked panicked and fools in court. That is a mentality problem. Whe 1 or 2 turnovers happenend, I know that a lot are folloving. The ability to correct a play in crucial moment when needed is "0" for spurs. That is not good for a very experience team. Many of my friends ( mostly celtic's fans ) had called me, several times through the year, to congradulate before the game ends in last 2 minutes, and I said, WAIT, I do not trust them. We need to have a lead of 10 points in last 30 seconds to secure the win. I am in a big dilema; Pop is a great strategist and manager, but is not a great coach and counselor. Or players do not follow his directions, when needed, or he gave wrong directions.????
The only thing that happened to the spurs is the best power forward to play the game wasn't on the floor when the game was in the balance . If Tim Duncan was a race horse this organization would have run him to death . Never have they got him any help . Every spurs fan knows this .They talk about him every year , to old , all he does is prove the experts wrong . The only team that upstages the Spurs in the draft is Charlotte . When Steven Jackson went out the door there went the help they needed in game 5 .As bad as he was playing at times he still could have shot better than 1 for 12 . The spurs have players nobody in their right mind will trade for . Blair , Bonner , why would you want them what can they really do for you . I thought Tracy McGrady would help but he only played when the game was over . I read all the blogs and every year we need a Big and we go out and get more of the same under sized guards . I still pull for the spurs but it hurts when you know they need a score and you don't know who will provide it . If you have a big three one of them doesn't need to be on the bench . All the other teams start theirs . I could see how Manu could be upset. Two years we start him in the playoffs because we have some starter who is making a pro basketball salary and can't score a point in a basketball game, how can the front office even act as if they are making rational decisions . Sorry Boris is not the answer either . WHER ARE ALL THE BIGS WE HAVE RUN OFF . One got a ring with Dallas and others were in the playoffs this year for other teams. All of them can play better than Splitter . Sometimes teams excel in spite of the management . I hope and pray we get some help for Tim he deserves another ring for what he has done for this organization . For one rebound or one free throw he would have it . Having him on the floor would have helped also . There is old saying in sports more games are lost than are won . Game 5 was a prime example of this.
Going to be the same story if the sign Manu before a big free agent
Looks like they drafted players that are future option to keep cap space clear, we need to bring in 2 decent free agents and with Howard waiting till 10th to give his destination will give us the advantage. The teams with a lot of cap room are all hoping to sign Howard, gives us a head start
Role players who can atleast hold a lead or not allow the opponent to make their own big run are needed. Even when other teams went "small", we were still smaller. Blair (I know he's leaving) just too small, Splitter's euro style of offense and complete lack of defense, I believe, hurt us. McGrady didn't even get a shot. Bonner showed a little improvement on defense and in rebounding,but got limited minutes. Neal is a streaky shooter but plays no defense. Mills injury kept him out in the latter games. Green and Manu had a tendency to try to help on defense and left their man too often.
For my money (which doesn't mean anything), we could use Neal and Bonner in a trade scenario. If the plan is to make Joseph the backup PG then maybe Mills could go in a trade also. Baynes shows a lot in summer league play (like Leonard did) or perhaps he goes too.
Rebuilding is going to happen sooner or later...why not do it with TD and TP still around. Manu retires as a Spur...plays limited minutes...but serves as a mentor for whoever we pick up. Not looking for a "superstar"...just some decent all around talent that is not completely "one dimensionsal".
I know I'm dreaming and I know a lot of folks will disagree...keep in mine - these are my opinions only and I don't expect the front office to call me anytime soon!
same old story for me. same bad luck that has troubled the spurs since our last title. only this year our bad luck caught up with us in the finals instead of the WCF. for some reason spurs cant get over that hump and its frustrating as hell.