The San Antonio Spurs had a busy summer resigning Matt Bonner and Richard Jefferson, drafting James Anderson and Ryan Richards and then adding Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal. However, while the Spurs' lineup has arguably improved, a lot of teams made their own player movement in the offseason and after some roster shakeups within the league, the order of power in the NBA may have changed.
Here's my take.
1. Orlando Magic -I know. I must be crazy to rank the Magic above the Miami Heat but hear me out. The Magic kept the core of Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis. They will not need time to develop chemistry on the court. Plus they added Quentin Richardson, Chris Duhon and rookie Daniel Orton. This team is solid and could really be the team to beat in the East.
2. Miami Heat- Dwayne Wade, Lebron James and Chris Bosh plus a solid supporting cast that includes Udonis Haslem, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers and James Jones could be scary good. They haven't proven anything yet, but with a team loaded with enormous talent they should be right up there. The team recently added 3-point specialist Eddie House. However, they will need time to develop the needed chemistry to make it work.
3. Boston Celtics - They breathe defense but many say this team is old. Still they were a win away from the NBA title last year. They added Jermaine O'Neal and rookie Avery Bradley and they might be a better team than a year ago if they can stay healthy. Losing Tony Allen will hurt their bench and perimeter defense.
Dark Horse: Chicago Bulls - One of the busiest teams this summer. The addition of Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver to a core of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng made them a well rounded team. Plus they may have the deepest bench in the league after adding Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson and Kurt Thomas to their solid roster.
1. Los Angeles Lakers - If it ain't broke why fix it? They are the defending champions. They still have Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Pau Gasol and significantly improved their roster by adding Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff.
2. Dallas Mavericks -I see some raised eyebrows. I know that the Spurs ousted them in the playoffs last season but the truth is this team is loaded with a lot offensive weapons, Dirk Nowitzki, Caron Butler, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion can all score at any given night. Getting Tyson Chandler adds athleticism, length and defense to their front court and rookie Dominique Jones could provide additional spark off the Mavericks' bench.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder - This team made the playoffs last year and gave the Lakers a run for their money. A year of experience in the postseason could make the difference and the ever improving core of young guns in Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook could be exciting to watch and tough to beat at the same time.
Dark Horse: San Antonio Spurs -Most Spurs fans feel with Tiago Splitter in tow the team is already a title contender. While there is some truth to that, like most power teams, the Spurs' offseason work is not yet done. Adding a tough perimeter defender should be a top priority and with the lack of quality free agents to fill that void, the Spurs must be creative to get a decent perimeter defender.
Take note that Malik Hairston is no longer with the team, leaving either Alonzo Gee or James Anderson as Jefferson's primary backup at the small forward position. That means perimeter help is badly needed. George Hill is capable but does lack the height to defend bigger perimeter players on other teams and quicker guards. Remember last years playoff match-up against Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash? Nash made Hill look silly.
Adding another big man could also help. I know that the team already have Tim Duncan, Splitter, Antonio McDyess, DeJuan Blair and Bonner up front but Blair and McDyess are both undersized and Bonner is a shooting big. Getting another big body with length is in order to match-up well with teams like the Lakers and Mavericks.
With that being said, there is no doubt that this Spurs team has improved compared to last season. In my mind the team is just one or two solid roster moves away from being a serious title contender this upcoming season.
There are available free agents the Spurs could reasonably acquire considering their financial situation. Former Spur and current Washington Wizard free-agent, Fabricio Oberto, is available to add another big man for insurance.
Still who can they get with not much money to offer?
Which player(s) should the Spurs pickup to complete their roster? Fire away at the comment section and give us your feed back.