Free NBA Picks: San Antonio Spurs Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 10/16/2013
It’s a series that no member of the San Antonio Spurs will ever forget. Are there any words to describe the feeling of the Spurs after their loss to Miami in last year’s NBA Finals? “Gut-wrenching” may come the closest, but even that doesn’t seem to do it any justice. San Antonio had Game 6 and the series in their pockets, but they let it slip away. The team’s stars, as well as their head coach, have talked about that how tough that one was to swallow.
The Spurs missed a couple free throws to keep the Heat alive, and the ball bounced Miami’s way a couple of times. Then Ray Allen buried the dagger from the corner that Spurs fans will be having nightmares about for years to come. Last year didn’t end the way the Spurs wanted it to, but they once again proved they could defy the odds and continue to be an elite team despite their stars getting old. Should we write the Spurs off this year, or can they do it again?
San Antonio didn’t make many moves in the offseason. While some may think that the Spurs didn’t do enough, it’s important to keep in mind that this team was seconds away from beating the Miami Heat in Game 6 at Miami. There’s no reason to blow up something that is working so well. Gary Neal was the biggest contributor who left in the offseason. Neal was a good long-range shooter, but the Spurs still have plenty of guys capable of filling in for him. DeJuan Blair is also gone.
The Spurs picked up Jeff Pendergraph to replace Blair on the inside. Pendergraph has the potential to be a much better fit because of his athleticism and ability to run the floor. Marco Bellinelli was great for the Bulls in the playoffs last year, and the Spurs signed him to have another outside shooter who can also create off the dribble.
Can Ginobili Bounce Back?
I’ve always liked the way Manu Ginobili plays the game, but there’s no doubt that he killed his team’s chances down the stretch last year. Ginobili was a turnover machine in the NBA Finals, and the Spurs would likely be the defending champions right now if he had just played decent basketball in Game 6 or Game 7. Ginobili is at his best when he is playmaking and being a facilitator for this offense. It wasn’t so much that he looked old in the NBA Finals last year; he just made poor decisions with the basketball. It seemed as if mentally Ginobili didn’t have the same confidence. He understands he blew it late in that series, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him bounce back, but he is now 36 years old. One thing is for sure, if the Spurs are going to get back to the NBA Finals, Ginobili has to be a key part of their success.
Leonard Stepping Up
Kawhi Leonard was solid for the Spurs in his rookie season. He was the team’s best defender and a huge contributor on offense in his second season. Now, the team is looking to Leonard to be a major spark in his third year in the NBA. Many times we see the third season be a breakout year for NBA stars, and Spurs fans are hoping for the same out of Leonard. He’s already the team’s best defensive player, but Leonard could become a perennial all-star if he gets more consistent on the offensive end.
NBA Picks: San Antonio Spurs Futures Odds
The San Antonio Spurs are listed at 12/1 to win the NBA Championship in 2014, according to current odds from Bovada. Four teams are listed with shorter odds than the Spurs. BetOnline lists the Spurs at +450 to win the Western Conference. Oklahoma City is listed as the favorite at +250.
The oddsmakers might be underrating the Spurs a little bit once again. The Spurs have one of the best coaches in the league, and this team has chemistry like almost no other team in the NBA. The way last year ended hurt this team a ton, but I don’t think it will break this franchise. Many like to focus on the age of the Spurs superstars, but San Antonio’s team depth is truly amazing.
Tim Duncan will lose a step this year, but he’ll still be one of the best big men in the NBA. Tony Parker needs to stay healthy for this team to reach its full potential. The Spurs haven’t forgotten how to win, and there is no dominant team in the Western Conference. At +450, I consider the Spurs a good value play to win the West.
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