We’re inaugurating our NBA player projection system, CARMELO, with 2015-16 season previews for every team in the league. Check out the teams we’ve already previewed here. Learn more about CARMELO here.
The San Antonio Spurs, hoping to make another title run, loaded up on talent in the offseason. They landed coveted free agent LaMarcus Aldridge along with David West. They brought back Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, and signed Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to new deals. The new players are expected to assimilate quickly with the Spurs veterans, but that’s not guaranteed, which is why coach Gregg Popovich admits that developing team chemistry is his most pressing concern. “It’s always going to be talked about throughout the league by everyone because that’s probably the biggest key of winning,” Green said. “You can have all the right pieces. But if you don’t have chemistry, you’re probably not going to be successful. So regardless of what your roster is, chemistry is the most important thing in this league, in this game. You hear it all the time. We may get tired of it. But it’s really important. We know how important it is.”
FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection system expects the Spurs to go 56-26 in 2015-16:
And here’s what CARMELO thinks of San Antonio’s key players:
Tony Parker changed up his fitness routine in an attempt to stay healthy, but Parker hasn’t played in more than 70 games in any of the last three seasons. In other words, the 33-year-old’s health may be an issue, and CARMELO clearly thinks Parker is in the twilight of his career. He needs to shoot much better than 32.3 percent from the field, which is what he produced over the summer in the EuroBasket tournament, for the Spurs to have a legitimate chance.
Tim Duncan is 39, but Old Man Riverwalk will benefit tremendously from the addition of Aldridge. Duncan remains a factor on the pick-and-roll, and despite losing some athleticism, he anticipates well enough on defense to almost always be in position to help. (Also, if you were judging Duncan only by the company he keeps, check out his top four comps!)
Danny Green, a premier 3-and-D wing, seems to be in the perfect situation for his game to flourish. Just don’t let him put the ball on the floor.
Long jumpers and turnarounds in the post diminish LaMarcus Aldridge’s true shooting percentage, and he’ll need to make quicker decisions with the ball in San Antonio than he did in Portland.
Last season seemed like Kawhi Leonard’s coming-out party, but with Aldridge now in the mix, Leonard could see fewer double teams, which in turn could lead to even better production than CARMELO expects.
His skills are declining, but Manu Ginobili remains important to the Spurs because of his ability to run the second group on offense, which, according to some players, has shown better chemistry thus far in camp than the starters.
David West is one of the NBA’s most accurate mid-range shooters, but his presence in San Antonio’s locker room will be just as important as his contributions on the court.