The San Antonio Spurs look poised to make another title run this year, but what does life look like for the Spurs after the 2015 season? The Spurs are set to lose two of their coveted Big Three after the 2015 season or potentially even sooner. Spurs fans should never fear though. The Spurs have proven they can survive without the Big Three and although San Antonio is set to replace two of the Big Three, there would appear to be star potential in the making already on the roster paired with potential key free agents in 2015.
It is true that last season, without all three members of the Big Three that the San Antonio Spurs went 1-2. However, one of those losses came late in the season against the champion Miami Heat and the other came against the Warriors as the Big Three plus Kawhi Leonard were resting. This season, however, is a different tale. The Spurs this season are 14-3 when missing one of their Big Three. Also, they are 3-0 when missing two of their Big Three. The Spurs, whether it is the system under “Pop” or not, simply just win.
As two of the Big Three begin to age and phase out, the Spurs have star potential waiting in the wings to replace them in 2015. To replace Manu Ginobili, the Spurs have groomed 22-year-old and former 15th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Kawhi Leonard. Leonard is a big and versatile guard that had improved every season under Popovich. Leonard can defend just about anyone in the league right now and is growing more and more into an offensive threat every year. As his three-point shot continues to improve, look to see the big shooting guard/small forward use the pump fake and drive in order to bang around inside and get to the free throw line, an art someone like Manu has perfected over the years. Danny Green is also a potential star in the making. As inconsistent as Green is at this moment, the talent is most definitely there. The 26-year-old Green has a career 44 field goal percentage and shoots 42 percent from beyond the arch… Some pretty stellar numbers there. Now whether or not Tiago Splitter can replace Duncan in the Spurs system- where most signs point to no- there is still brevity of options in the 2015 free agency pool.
Replacing Tim Duncan may be the hardest- and more impossible- of a task to accomplish. There are some key free-agent centers that could help fill the big shoes left in San Antonio. One such option could be Grizzlies center Marc Gasol. Gasol is the reigning defensive player of the year and on a team like the Spurs, he would fit in just fine in the “defense first” and team mentality that make the Spurs so successful. Another option could be Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks. A Paul Millsap next to a Tiago Splitter in the paint could be a strong duo somewhat resembling a lesser version of the previous “Twin Towers” in the Spurs system.
Regardless of what the San Antonio Spurs are actually planning on doing with replacing two of the Big Three, anyone can bet that Gregg Popovich and GM R. C. Buford indeed have a plan moving forward. The Spurs under Popovich are a team that will always be able to rebuild and rethink of a strategy moving forward. Replacing Duncan and Ginobili on paper is one thing, but replacing them in the hearts of Spurs fans everywhere is another thing. Duncan, Ginobili, Parker and Popovich have created a physical, as well as emotional, legacy- or dynasty- and although it is tough to keep a dynasty going as long as San Antonio has, never count the San Antonio Spurs out so long as “Pop” and GM Buford are at the helm.
Commentary by Ryne Vyles