The Spurs are done
Don’t let last night fool you….in fact, last night is your real evidence. The Spurs needed miracle shots from Ginobli and Gary Neal to win at home in overtime against an eighth seeded Memphis team playing without its best scorer Rudy Gay. Ginobli played 42 minutes, which is about 10 more than usual, and scored 33 points, and the Spurs needed every one of them. For the series, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol have severely outplayed the Spurs big men while the guards have held their own against Parker and Ginobli throughout.
It’s pretty obvious at this point that Tim Duncan is done; he may have a few more years left as a rebounder/defender, but he can no longer score at a high enough level to carry the team. The other Spurs, even Ginobli and Tony Parker, relied on Duncan’s production in the post in order to maximize their scoring opportunities. Duncan no longer requires a double team because he can’t elevate enough to get his shot up over defenders well in the post. His points largely come on open jumpers and putbacks. Consequently, the Spurs need bigger scoring nights from Parker and Ginobli than the 15 to 20 apiece they could settle for a few years ago.
This is not how things were supposed to play out. Richard Jefferson was supposed to provide some scoring from the small forward position to make up for Duncan’s declining point totals, while Tiago Splitter was supposed to provide some significant post production so that Duncan could be saved up for crunch time situations and big games. Neither has taken place, and the results are that the Spurs are a lot like the Denver Nuggets: a collection of good players with no franchise player. Teams like that can pile up wins in the regular season, but tend to falter in the playoffs. And the future looks just as bleak as the present. If they can’t land someone to do for Duncan what he once did for David Robinson, then Spurs fans can forget getting another ring in the near future.