Excerpt from: Sprinting to the finish line
The fan base with the league’s biggest persecution complex can relax: We all see your team, and it may well finish the season as the overall championship favorites. Part of the reason the Spurs haven’t received as much attention as usual is because they’ve barely been the Spurs. Almost every rotation player has missed significant time because of injury or “a variety of maladies”; the Spurs are one of just four teams without a lineup that has logged at least 200 minutes, and with three or fewer that have even cracked 100 minutes together, per NBA.com.
We just don’t know this iteration of the Spurs Borg, which makes it even more ridiculous they’re atop the West at 46-16. They’ve lost the tiebreaker already with Oklahoma City, they’ve split head-to-head with Miami, and they’re 0-1 against Indiana with one game remaining. Bottom line, the race for the league’s top overall seed is also going to be fun. San Antonio has struggled to score with the Tiago Splitter–Tim Duncan combination, a discouraging setback after Gregg Popovich spent years gradually building a functional offense around the team’s best defensive front-line duo — a process that finally came together last season.8
It can start the process of doing so again now that Splitter is healthy and looking spry. It would help if Duncan could rediscover some consistency in his jump shot, and if one of the deep reserve bigs could stand up and grab the fourth rotation spot behind Boris Diaw.
All the pieces are here. The Spurs might have the deepest wing rotation in the league with Marco Belinelli on board, the irresistible Patty Mills has solidified the backup point guard spot, and the team has plenty of time to coalesce now. Watch out.