With masterful Head Coach Gregg Popovich, the defending NBA champions San Antonio Spurs are the best team in the league at saving energy, scheming and knowing the NBA is all about the postseason. So, can some money be made on this aging team on some Futures Picks in the perceived Year of the Warriors?
The defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs (51-26, 102.9 PF-96. PA) and Head Coach Gregg Popovich have become masters of saving their energy and sitting players during the Regular Season, knowing that it only really matters how one plays in the NBA Playoffs (Saturday, April 18), and that a healthy roster full of players intent as playing as a unit and going one game at a time to try to get to their ultimate goal—another NBA Championship and Larry O’Brien Trophy this Spring—is the only path to real success, year-in and year-out in the National Basketball Association. Winners of 50+ games for an amazing 16 straight seasons now, the Spurs (+650 to win NBA Championship, Boylesports) and Popovich have gotten so good at budgeting Bodies and Time that he’s put this perennially aging team in position to have a shot at winning yet another title this season, and his Modus Operandi with his players and their Playing Time has become so effective (and wise) that other teams in the league have started to emulate it to some degree. But simply advancing from the rugged Western Conference will be no easy feat for whomever eventually gets it done, and the Spurs (+300 NBA odds to win Western Conference, Sky Bet) or the Golden State Warriors (63-14) will probably be so beat up after winning (or trying to win) three series in the Western Conference that it actually opens up an energy and schedule advantage for whomever comes out of the Eastern Conference, probably either LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers (50-27, +275 to win NBA Championship, bet365) or maybe the Chicago Bulls (46-31, +1800 Boylesports), who are awaiting the return of star SG Derrick Rose before the postseason tips off.
Tonight (Tuesday), the Spurs (39-36-2 ATS, 20-17-2 ATS Home, 19-19 ATS Away) are at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City to face the 8th-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder (42-35 SU) in a game which may have some position implications (TNT, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT; Odds: Spurs -6, Total: 214½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). San Antonio heads into the game on an 8-game winning streak which has seen the Spurs allow just 87.6 ppg (on 41.9% Shooting), and off the heels of a win over the Western Conference’s dominant team this season, the Warriors on Sunday. Right after the Ides of March, is always important to remember that Spurs Season soon will follow.
Possible Starting Five
C—Tiago Splitter (8.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
PF—Tim Duncan (13.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg)
SF—Kawhi Leonard (16.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg. 2.3 spg)
SG—Danny Green (12.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
PG—Tony Parker (14.5 ppg, 5.0 apg)
Bench, Roster Depth
C—Boris Diaw (8.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
PF—Matt Bonner (3.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
SF—Marco Belinelli (9.2.ppg, 2.6 rpg)
SG—Manu Ginobili (10.7 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.0 rpg)
PG—Patty Mills (6.8 ppg)
C—Aron Baynes (6.4 ppg, 4.4 apg)
PF—Jeff Ayres (2.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
SF—Kyle Anderson (2.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
SF—Reggie Williams (1.5 ppg)
PG—Cory Joseph (6.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Injuries, Coaching, Intangibles (Potential Playoff Paths)
Probably because of all of the aforementioned Resting and Body Management by Maestro Pop, the Spurs are really healthy for this stretch-run portion of the remainder of the Regular Season (5 games left for San Antonio, including tonight’s meeting with the Thunder), and only starting C Tiago Splitter (tightness in calf) is out and listed as Day-to-Day by NBA.com. Splitter will be ready. As far as coaching goes, and that element being like a Sixth Man, this is the only team in the NBA that actually can claim an advantage with its Head Coach. The Past don’t lie, cuz. The dude knows what he’s doing, quite obviously. Part John Wooden, part Phil Jackson. Heading into play this evening, the Spurs are the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, and would face the No. 3-seeded Memphis Grizzlies (52-25) in their Potential Playoffs matchup in Round 1—San Antonio is 2-2 vs. the Grizzlies—but there are still too many games to go, but the Spurs could finish as high as the No. 3 seed and would have to go 0-5 over their L5 and see the Mavericks go 5-0 for both to end at 51-31. Realistically, San Antonio will play either those aforementioned Grizzlies (current No. 3 seed), the 4th-seeded Portland Trail Blazers (50-27) or the 5th-seeded Los Angeles Clippers (52-26). Whichever team the Spurs end up getting, they won’t be scared, and against the Trail Blazers, San Antonio went 2-2 this Regular Season, while against Chris Paul and the the Clippers, the Spurs went 1-3. So, against potential Round 1 opponents, this team went a combined 5-8—San Antonio is 28-19 SU vs. the Western Conference so far this 2015 NBA Season—but for some reason, I don’t think Pops or the rest of the Spurs (#3 in NBA in really give that proverbial Rat’s Ass about numbers except the Final Score(s) of games that really matter in the long run) care. No sense stubbing your toe in November chasing butterflies, now is there?
The Negatives in the Spurs game may be that Age Factor, San Antonio has been mediocre on the Road this season (20-18) and this veteran team’s Potential Playoff Path which could be like Grizzlies—Clippers—Warriors—Cavaliers...so, not the end of the world, now is it? There seems to be Value in these Hills and the Positives for this team far outweigh the Negatives: Popovich, Duncan, Parker, Quiet Superman Leonard, Splitter and Baynes making nice contributions, the Experience and Confidence edges and probably the deepest intelligent roster in the NBA—including what seems like the best backup 5 in Diaw, Bonner, Belinelli, Ginobili and Mills. As far as the Name The Finalists matchups, and a nice payout for whoever can possibly pick San Antonio’s opponent in the NBA Finals—should the Spurs get there of course—here they are from Sky Bet in the United Kingdom: Spurs-Cavaliers (+550, SkyBet); Spurs-Hawks (+1400); Spurs-Bulls (+2200); Spurs-Raptors (+5000); Spurs-Wizards (+8000); Spurs-Nets (+6000); and, Spurs-Heat (+5000). For me, the opponent in the Western Conference finals will be the biggest hurdle for the Spurs this postseason, with either Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and Golden State providing that dream matchup, or maybe a date with a Lone Star State neighbor in the Houston Rockets (53-24) or Dallas Mavericks (46-31), or even possibly their opponents tonight, the Thunder and Russell Westbrook. We’ll see soon enough, but one thing’s for sure: This is a team to watch and make some money betting on with our NBA picks in the upcoming NBA Playoffs. This is when the Spurs always shine and people have been doubting their age since ole boy Columbus floated on over here to America from Spain on the Santa Maria back in 1492.
PREDICTED PLAYOFF DESTINY: Spurs to meet Cleveland Cavaliers in NBA Finals
RELATED PLAYOFF PICKS: Spurs to Win the Western Conference, +300 (Sky Bet)