Writer: Jameson White
The San Antonio Spurs in 2018 seem, as a team, off. They have not shown any consistency throughout the entire season thus far. They have won 50 or more games in 18 consecutive seasons, an NBA record. This year, they are in the third seed in the Western Conference, and they are hanging on to that spot for dear life, with the Minnesota Timberwolves only a half-game behind. San Antonio is also ten games outside of first or second place in the conference, meaning that they will only be able to finish third in the West, at the highest.
San Antonio has played well at times this season, beating quality teams in the association, such as Minnesota, Boston, Oklahoma City, and Cleveland. However, they have also lost games to some less than stellar teams in Orlando, Dallas, and Los Angeles. The machine that is San Antonio has shown signs of breakage that have not been apparent in more than two decades. Yet, this is what makes the Spurs so intriguing.
The Durango Herald
For all but eleven games this season, San Antonio has been without perennial Defensive Player of the Year and MVP candidate in Kawhi Leonard; a difficult situation with his quadriceps that has kept the team’s doctors and even head coach Gregg Popovich stumped. Rudy Gay, the biggest offseason addition for the team, has not played since January because of a heel injury. Gay’s injury has been troubling as well, as it was originally reported that he would be out for two weeks, whereas he has been kept out of action for well over six weeks. LaMarcus Aldridge, the power forward who has carried the Spurs for much of the season, has had a flare-up with his chronic knee pains this past week, forcing him to sit out the last two games. Although not considered to be serious, Spurs legend Manu Ginobili suffered a foot injury in Tuesday night’s game against Denver. An abundance of role players have also missed multiple games due to injury, such as Danny Green (groin), Tony Parker (quadriceps/back), Dejounte Murray (ankle), Joffrey Lauvergne (ankle), and Kyle Anderson (knee).
Two of the team’s expected top three players, Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gay, who were supposed to be what kept San Antonio elite, have missed significant time. It would be difficult for any team to overcome the overwhelming amount of injuries that the Spurs have had, yet San Antonio is looking to gear up for another playoff run.
The team is on pace for 48 wins this season, a number that would effectively end their record breaking 50-win-per-season streak. However, if San Antonio can get healthy before the postseason begins, they could once again be seen as contenders. Nobody is saying they would easily take down a team like Golden State, but with a healthy Leonard, Aldridge, and Gay, who knows how high San Antonio’s ceiling is. They are a team that, for now, is shrouded in mystery. But for the last twenty years, San Antonio has found a way to constantly surprise people; it would be unwise to think the same couldn’t happen this year.