The first month of the 2008-2009 NBA season is in the books and one fact is apparent, the winner of the Championship next June will come down to the survival of the fittest. Western contenders like the Jazz and Spurs are beset by the injury bug early on but both clubs find themselves above 500. The Spurs lost the first game of the season in which Duncan, Ginobili and Parker were in the starting lineup this past Monday. Can they rebound on the road against a red hot Nuggets team? Are there any potential trades on the horizon that might bring frontcourt help for Duncan to the Spurs? One thing is for certain, Coach Popovich is making the best of a difficult start and he is known for putting together a quality team by seasons end. Despite the Spurs 9 - 8 start, don't expect this season to be any different.
Earlier in the year I drew comparisons to several of the Spurs loses and victories by focusing on their opponent's field goal percentage. When it exceed 50% the opponents won. Just like clock work the Spurs have used their Rodeo trip to fine tune their playoff engines. Since that trip we have seen marked improvement in there offense and defense but most importantly their defense. Over the last 10 games the Spurs defense has held opponents offense to 41% and the results are a 9-1 record during this time. What happens next? With the acquisition of Kurt Thomas, the Spurs appear primed to improve on their defense, a defense that has earned them 4 championships. Could a 5th championship be on the way? Time will tell.
The trade deadline is less than 3 weeks away. The Lakers acquisition of Pau Gasol probably have alot of GMs thinking trade, trade trade! The Spurs have acquired point guard, Damon Stoudamire (former teammate of Gasol) but could the Spurs make another unexpected trade before the deadline? Sure, why not. Of all the possible players/teams in the trade market, my bet would be a trade between the Spurs and Kings. If the Kings are looking for cap flexibility similiar to want prompted Memphis to trade their only all-star, then the Spurs have the perfect deal for them. Kings receive shooting big man (Matt Bonner) to compliment Brad Miller and Brent Barry's expiring contact. The Spurs acquire Ron Artest! Perhaps this trade is onesided, (I am a Spurs fan, of course it would be onesided) but if it works for the Lakers why not the Spurs.
Happy New! Have you taken notice? Are you paying attention to what the defending champs are doing? While all the media attention has been focused the red hot Celtics and steady Pistons, the Champs have quietly amassed a tidey 21-8 mark at this point. More importantly, they have infused their roster with youth and athleticism. The Spurs roster currently stand at 15 players, of the 15 players, only 6 have more than 6 years of nba experience. The Spurs also infused the team with athleticism at the wing position by adding Langford (6.4') and Demarr Johnson (6.9'). Both players are great on ball defenders and with Demarr's size and quickness, the opposing teams shooting guard or small forward will have a match-up nightmare. Look for the Spurs to continue in their 'throttle down' mode until their annual rodeo road trip next month while slowly intergrating the new players into their system. The youth movement has begun in San Antonio.