Does LaMarcus Aldridge immediately make the Spurs the favorites again in the Western Conference


LaMarcus Aldridge signed a 4-year, $80 million contract with the option after the 3rd year, with the Spurs. Aldridge had been the main man in Portland, and was one of the most important building blocks for the reshaping of the Blazers. He also became Portland’s 2nd all-time leading scorer, trailing only their legendary G Clyde Drexler.

Then the Spurs went out and made this great pick up. Adding him to a team that was already a consistent winner, taking him from out of Portland. The way it looked, winning it all, just wasn’t going to happen up in Portland. That’s the brutal truth.

He has averaged over 20ppg in each of the last 5 seasons. This last season finishing with a career best 23ppg also adding 10rpg in 71 starts. The thought of a player like Lamarcus trying to get a championship for himself by winning it in Portland, would’ve been great. He was the obvious first true star, they had in many years. But, after 9 years in the league, Aldridge, never got a chance to get passed the 2nd round of playoffs. I always felt he was always underappreciated in Portland because of upstart G Damian Lillard.

Aldridge, is a big man in the game who can score very well. In the playoffs, he always showed up but couldn’t get them moving. LaMarcus is straight money, especially when he gets himself on the low block, he absolutely demands a double team or it’s lights out. With career averages of 19ppg and 8rpg. Those are numbers that are a huge reason why numerous teams coveted him, and wanted to bring him aboard. The Lakers, Heat, Phoenix, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and the Rockets all had interest in him.

But the San Antonio Spurs landed him. They were already a 55 win team without Aldridge, they are a team that has their share of established stars, but age is creeping up on them. Obviously we know a team has to have others around as well, no one has ever won a championship on their own, without a proper supporting cast.

The 4 time All Star could make the Spurs championship favorites. At least 2nd only in respect to the defending champs. Having him teamed up with the ageless wonder, Tim Duncan, they could have arguably one of the most formidable frontlines in the NBA. Granted they still have to go through the tough West. Stacked up against teams like Golden State, obviously. Oklahoma City should be ready to come back around. And even the Dallas Mavericks with their changes, Deron Williams and Dirk Nowitzki will want to show they disagree.

Of course, the defending champs the Warriors will be, and should be the favorites. And the Clippers resigned their rebounding machine, in DeAndre Jordan, they will still be a top ended team. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are a deadly combo, then with Paul Pierce, that’s still a tough team to hang with.

Keep in mind, the Spurs won the series matchup against the Warriors last year, 2-1. Outscoring them by 17 overall. And now they just went and added more offensive firepower and a rim protector, Aldridge can handle those duties for the Spurs. They have a very serious possibility of handling the champs. With that team they almost created the perfect enemy for Golden State, take a good look at the team’s that gave the Warriors problems. The Spurs lashed them pretty well the last time they played, 107-92. That wasn’t pretty, Kawhi Leonard handled Stephen Curry, pretty well. I think if the Warriors had run into the Spurs in last years playoffs, the Spurs might have beaten them. They gave the Warriors the most problems over the last several years.

Duncan is going to play less minutes during the season to make sure he’s ready for the playoffs. This is now Aldridge’s, and Leonard’s team. Tony Parker will still have his number of games where he will get his. But overall, this team just got that much better, in a hiccup. Tony Parker is getting old as well, and is becoming more and more injury prone, and the bench isn’t strong as it had been in the past. So this adds tremendous upside.

Duncan, we know, is an old, aging player who only averaged only 14ppg this last season. Leonard is not a top end scorer yet. he’s average, at best, but he needs to be put in the position as the 2nd option. The Spurs are an older team, that needs to make a power move like this. This move is something that suddenly can rejuvenate this team. Fans who think this team is too old and done, are going to be frustrated again. They just continue to build championship teams, each and every year.

With a lineup with Aldridge, Duncan, Parker, Green, and Leonard, they are going to give teams a lot of problems. This was a great move for the Spurs. The Texas road trips going through Dallas, San Antonio & Houston will be brutally hard. There will likely be at least 4 teams in the West, that could be better than the top team in the East. This off season could not have possibly gone any better for the franchise. Aldridge and Leonard will keep the Spurs among the NBA’s best for years to come. More importantly, for the past 5 years there’s been this sense of impending doom and uncertainty waiting for the Spurs heading into the post Duncan era. That has been lifted with the solid core of Kawhi, Aldridge, and Danny Green to build around now.

Spurs are a very good organization and it’d be pretty special to see the “Big Fundamental” get another ring on his way out. The Spurs are an institution of what I love about basketball, they are complete. They are a team, first and foremost, always. San Antonio, grabbed a great player to carry on the winning tradition after Duncan retires.

As long as he plays with their style of play, he will fit in perfectly. The Spurs are going to be scary good this season, Tim Duncan will likely move over to center, so Aldridge to play at the PF, where he is made to play. This could also even mean that Duncan would be willing to re-sign for a couple more years, who knows? Timmy now has that chance to go out with yet one more championship. The NBA should be concerned.

Written by TonyK of

2014 NBA Finals


by Jim Feist of

 Say, what happened to “Youth Must Be Served?” Last year a pair of veteran teams met in the NBA Finals, with Miami winning its second straight title in seven games against the aging Spurs. Lo and behold, the same team teams made it to the Conference Finals again, with the young Pacers and Thunder trying to break through. Two years ago it was supposed to be the time the kids stepped up in Oklahoma City stepped up. OKC came close, winning Game 1 of the Finals before Miami won four in a row. The previous year a younger Miami team came close, carving out a 2-1 series lead before collapsing, as it was those old fogies in Dallas who came away with the title – another veteran team winning the whole thing. You get the sense the NBA is suddenly an old man’s game. In fact veteran NBA teams have been on a roll, with the Celtics winning it all in 2008, the Lakers in 2009-10, the Mavericks in 2012 out of nowhere, and the Heat the last two years. This year young teams from Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, Memphis and Golden State made the playoffs but are gone.

In 2012 the thirty-something Mavericks won it all as a No. 3 seed. Despite then 26-year old Jose Barea running all over the place, it was a veteran Dallas team behind then 33-year old Dirk Nowitzki, 34-year old Shawn Marion, Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic (both 34) and 39-year old Jason Kidd. This year the NBA’s Final Four has a pair of young teams (Pacers and Thunder) against the old men of San Antonio and Miami. While the NBA is more of an athletic game, primed for young legs, the experience of the Mavericks certainly helped them two years ago and helped the Spurs plow their way to the No. 1 seed for the second season in a row. But at some point age can work against a team, breaking down from injuries. There really haven’t been many youthful teams winning the NBA title lately. The Celtics and Lakers were veteran teams that clashed in the Finals in 2008 and 2010. The experienced Lakers topped the young Orlando Magic in 2009, blowing out the kids in Game 1, 100-75. Prior to that veteran teams like the Spurs, Pistons and 2006 Miami Heat won titles. Ahh, the Miami Heat. They really aren’t that youthful, with LeBron James the only kid at age 29, and even he’s been in the league ten years. He’s also been in the NBA Finals in 2007 with Cleveland. Dwyane Wade (age 32) already has a ring with the 2006 Heat, a veteran team that also had Shaq, Antoine Walker and Gary Payton. One thing that stands out with the NBA’s Final Four of 2014 is defense.

The Thunder, Pacers, Spurs and Heat all finished in the Top 10 in the NBA during the regular season in either points allowed for field goal shooting defense. Oklahoma City was tops in the West in FG shooting defense, while the Pacers were best in the NBA. This shouldn’t surprise. Two years ago Miami was sixth in points allowed during the regular season, Dallas was 10th; Miami was second in field goal defense (.434%), while Dallas was 8th (.450%). The Western Conference Finals was a terrific clash of Youth vs. Experience. Oklahoma City has 25-year old 6-10 Kevin Durant and 25-year old Russell Westbrook (23.7 ppg), while the Spurs are filthy with age and talent. The Spurs have 38-year old Tim Duncan, 36-year old Manu Ginobili and 31-year old Tony Parker, though the Spurs rely heavily on their bench, which leads the league in scoring for the fifth straight season. So how did defending champion Miami do against the Best of the West? They got crushed by the Thunder (112-95) at home, won at OKC (103-81), got blown out at San Antonio (111-87) and won at home over the Spurs (113-101). Which shows how little stock you should put in regular season meetings, as situational factors and injuries come into play. Are the kids ready to take over? Or will we see another bunch of old men hoist the trophy?

Just how real of a threat are the San Antonio Spurs for the NBA title?


In last years NBA Finals, it took 7 hard fought games for the Miami Heat to eek one out to win the back to back title they sought out for. The Spurs were 1 flip up game clock running down, 37 year old clutch shooter, Ray “buckets” Allen to bury the Spurs hopes. They played a great series, going further again than the majority of folks would have thought they were going to go, as usual. But is it possible that last year was their last hurrah? Was that their best chance at the 5th title? Especially because at one point they had their 5th ring won, until Ray drilled that shot from the corner.

This year, the Spurs seem again on another mission. Obviously with their game play as always, scoring 106 a game, up from last year, their defense has been awesome giving up only 97 a night, allowing opponents to shoot only 44% against them. They have had some amazing winning streaks, which we are all well aware of. They have been great at home, and just as great on the road, which is a very essential factor to make a real move come playoff time, you absolutely must win on the road.

One thing that does concern me for the Spurs is this, they are 4-10 vs the top 4 teams in the West. Which is apparently where they have to get out of 1st before they can even begin to think about getting to the finals again. In the East, they have been 2-2 going up vs the only teams worth mentioning, the Heat and the Pacers. Some could argue and say that until the Spurs are knocked out, they are still the Western Conference champs, so they get to hold that crown until someone rips it from them, and that is true. But they are better then last year. They’re also a very deep team who has gotten much better with their bench in particular. Adding knock down shooter, Marco Belinelli was, to me a great grab. he can score from anywhere on the court, and he can do things that other guys they had last year couldn’t.

Teams with speed have decidedly shown they can run the Spurs off the court, especially OKC. Also a healthy Clippers team is really good, and I still think will be the team heading to represent the West this year. I do worry about San Antonio’s health of the team, can they stay upright with the age factor? Also I felt that Kawhi Leonards game would have elevated a bit more since last year, when I felt he was seriously going to be a big time star in the league. After last year I thought this was going to be the year, in fact he’s playing less time than he did last year. He needs to be a guy who can bring it every game and that’s where he needs to step in and deliver. I think he has potential to be a 17-9 guy if given the opportunity.

I think the Spurs are a very good team, yet all the time, seemingly every year, no one truly takes the Spurs as a legit threat for the title, especially since they have the “old crew” of players, they have no blow your mind players who have been outstanding this season. Only 1 “All-star” on the team, and no one who is scoring 18 or more a night. Coach Gregg Popovich is doing what he does every year in the league, win 55+ games a season, and make people shake their heads in confusion and admiration. They will go down as one of the best franchises in NBA history, without a doubt. As they stay the team that plays great during the season, and no one pays attention to them, they will not surprise come playoff time, the faster, younger teams will take notice and not fall for the “old team” trick.

Written by TonyK of