Have you ever heard that old adage, no rest for the weary? Well this describes the San Antonio Spurs perfectly. Last June the Spurs captured their 3rd NBA title since 1999, and their first without David Robinson. But after winning the title you would think any team would be happy with their roster; Not the Spurs. They have added 3 major new additions to their roster, while only losing one key contributor from a year ago.
Last season the Spurs finished second in the Western conference; three games behind the Phoenix Suns. The Spurs would go on to clobber every western opponent they met, ending the Nuggets in 5 games, beating the Sonics in 6, and taking care of the Suns in 5. They didnít encounter a stiff competition until the NBA finals when they faced off with the defending champion Detroit Pistons. But the Spurs got a few lucky breaks, most notably Robert Horry ending up with the ball near the end of game 5.
So why have the Spurs added so much talent? Well it could be because the Miami Heat have bolstered their roster adding Antoine Walker from Boston, and Jason Williams from Memphis; but most likely its because the opportunities have presented themselves. The Spurs took project Ian Mahinmi in the 2005 draft, Mahinmi doesnít look to be coming to America anytime soon, so the Spurs would sign Fabricio Oberto; a former teammate of Manu Giniobili. This move isnít a big one, itís just replacing a player who didnít do much last season, Most likely Mike Wilkes. After this move the Spurs where relatively quite for a few weeks, than they signed point guard Nick Van Exel. Van Exel a former all-star had previously been released by the Trailblazers, and wanted to play for a winner. The Spurs didnít need another point guard and were not looking for one; just when the opportunity to add Nick Van Exel presented itself the Spurs took it.
The NBA amnesty clause looked to help a lot of teams, especially the Spurs. Though the Spurs didnít waive anyone under the clause they won the ďMichael Finley SweepstakesĒ. Adding Finley to an already extremely deep back court has made the Spurs into a favorite to win the title once again. Adding Finley means the team will lose guard Devin Brown; who signed an offer sheet with the Jazz which the Spurs are unlikely to match. The loss of Brown looks to be the only major loss the Spurs will incur this off-season.
But even with the additions of Oberto, Finley, and Van Exel many NBA writers and fans have written the Spurs off. Some say they have ďPortland Trailblazer SyndromĒ; the NBA mystical dieses of having too many good players on one team that causes Chemistry issues. This isnít the case, Finley has a good reputation of being a decent teammate and not causing too many problems. Van Exel on the other hand doesnít, but his deal is small enough that if he causes problems later in the season the Spurs can move him without incurring to many penalties. Oberto has played with teams like this all his life, his Argentine team won the gold metal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. He has also been long-time teammates with Ginobili and Spurs second round pick Luis Scola; who has yet ventured to the NBA.
With this states how can anyone not honestly think the Spurs donít have a shot at winning the title again this year? This isnít like the Blazers of the early decade when they forced trades to get stars who werenít willing to become role players. The Spurs sat back and waited for the stars to come to them and be willing to accept a role on a team. In the end this will work out for the Spurs, and more than likely they will end up repeating as NBA champions.
Bran C. Faurschou