2008 NBA Preview: #4 San Antonio Spurs

Offseason Movement: The Spurs were pretty quiet this offseason, apparently content with their roster. They re-signed Michael Finley and Kurt Thomas, and drafted George Hill, a combo guard that could really score in college.
Keep Your Eye On: Manu Ginobili’s ankle
Manu Ginobili will be out of action until mid-December after undergoing left ankle surgery. The Spurs won the title in 2003, 2005 and 2007, and I would pick them this year if not for the uncertainty surrounding Ginobili’s health. If he comes back at 100%, the Spurs have a great shot at a fourth title in seven years. Ginobili’s ankle is especially worrisome considering his style of play. He’s most effective when he’s able to drive to the hole, and a shaky ankle may limit his ability to get to the rim.
The Big Question: Do the Spurs have another title run in them?
Ginobili (31 years old), Tim Duncan (32), Michael Finley (35), Bruce Bowen (37) and Kurt Thomas (36) are all pretty long in the tooth and they’ll all be playing a major role in the Spurs’ rotation this season. Obviously, Ginobili and Duncan are the keys – if they are healthy and can play at a high level, the Spurs are going to be a very tough out, especially considering that the 26 year-old Tony Parker is just hitting his prime.
Outlook: Same ol’ same ol’. The Spurs recipe for success is pretty simple. They’ve signed their stars to reasonable contracts and with regard to the supporting cast, chemistry outweighs ability or upside. Duncan is signed for four more seasons, which would make him 36 in the final year of his contract. Realistically, the team has a 2-3 year window in which to win another title. Duncan is still playing at a high level, but there’s no guarantee that at 34 or 35, he’ll still be able to post franchise-cornerstone numbers. There is no doubt that the clock is ticking. This season probably represents the Spurs’ best chance for another title.

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