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San Antonio Spurs Betting Outlook
Western Conference Odds: +6500
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +9000
The Spurs did not make many changes in the offseason, so there isn’t much thought the team will improve.The hope is that improved health for LaMarcus Aldridge — who didn’t play in the Orlando restart to the 2019-20 season — will help the team improve and allow younger players to develop.
San Antonio has found a way for over two decades to put things together and make the playoffs, except for last season. The team is aging and needs more, so some trades may need to be made during the season if the Spurs don’t get off to a good start.
San Antonio Spurs 2021 Predictions
Regular-Season Record: 24-48
Conference Standing: 12th
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DeMar DeRozan has been excellent since coming over from Toronto in a trade prior to the 2018-19 season. The shooting guard has averaged more than 20 points a game in his first two seasons and continues to be aggressive going to the hoop, setting the tone for the team. Though 31, DeRozan doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, and he’ll need to continue his All-Star form if the Spurs are going to return to the postseason.
Another veteran, Akdridge, is the anchor down low for San Antonio. Last season, he averaged 18.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks before being sidelined with a shoulder injury for the Orlando restart. Aldridge is also a solid passer and can hit his jump shot as well as play with his back to the basket. San Antonio will likely lean heavily on Aldridge to produce good numbers again this season.
San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs Team History
The San Antonio Spurs franchise has been around since its formation in 1967 as the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association. The team didn’t have a lot of success on the court, though it made the playoffs nearly every season, or with the fans, and it was sold to a group of San Antonio businessmen who moved it to San Antonio and changed the mascot to the Spurs for the 1973-74 season.
During that season, the team acquired George Gervin from the Virginia Squires for cash, and Gervin would be the star of the team for the rest of the 1970s. He was joined by veteran James Silas and big man Swen Nater, who also came from Virginia in a trade.
The Spurs made the ABA playoffs in each of their first three seasons in San Antonio, then the league folded, with four teams, including the Spurs, joining the NBA’s Eastern Conference. The change in leagues didn’t faze the high-scoring Gervin, who was an immediate hit against the established NBA teams.
In 1977-78, Gervin was in a battle for the league scoring title with another ABA transplant, Denver’s David Thompson. On the final day of the season, Thompson scored 73 points in an afternoon game, but Gervin — knowing how many points he needed for the title — went for 63 at night to win the scoring crown and lead the Spurs to a division title.
San Antonio made the playoffs in its first seven seasons in the NBA, including a trip to the Eastern Conference finals in the 1979 playoffs. The team switched to the Western Conference prior to the 1980-81 season, then made the Western Conference finals in both the 1982 and 1983 playoffs, falling to the Los Angeles Lakers each time.
After the team missed the playoffs in 1983-84 and finished just .500 in 1984-85, San Antonio traded its long-time star, Gervin, to Chicago. For four straight seasons following the trade, the Spurs finished under .500, but they did get some good news with the No. 1 pick in the 1987 draft, which they used to select Navy center David Robinson.
Robinson had to serve a two-year commitment in the Navy, so he couldn’t come to the team until the 1989-90 season. When he did arrive, the team had Larry Brown as head coach. Brown joined the Spurs the season after he won an NCAA title with Kansas.
With Brown coaching and Robinson, veteran power forward Terry Cummings and another rookie, Sean Elliott, the Spurs immediately became a formidable team, jumping up 35 wins from the season before and advancing to the Western Conference semifinals. Robinson was named the Rookie of the Year and became a perennial All-Star as the Spurs made the postseason seven straight seasons.
The 1996-97 season was a disaster, though, as Robinson played just six games due to back and foot injuries, Elliott and forward Chuck Person also missed large chunks of the season with injuries, and the team sank in the standings. Head coach Bob Hill only lasted 18 games before being fired and replaced by the team’s general manager, Gregg Popovich.
The best thing that came out of the 1996-97 season was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 draft, which the Spurs used on Wake Forest big man Tim Duncan. Like Robinson before him, Duncan made an immediate impact, as San Antonio jumped from 20 wins to 56 wins, making the playoffs and advancing to the Western Conference semifinals.
The 1998-99 season was shortened by a lockout, but the Spurs were ready when the games began, going 37-13 in the regular season and 11-1 in the Western Conference playoffs to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time. San Antonio faced the New York Knicks for the title and won the franchise’s first league championship, taking the series in five games.
The Spurs continued to be title contenders the next three seasons but couldn’t get past the Los Angeles Lakers for a title. In 2002-03, though, with a team that now included players like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs broke through for their second NBA title, defeating the New Jersey Nets in six games in the NBA Finals.
Robinson’s role had diminished by then, so after the season, at age 37, he decided to retire. The team continued to be successful with Duncan as the main low-post scorer and Parker and Ginobili expanding their roles. The 2003-04 season ended with a playoff loss to the Lakers in the conference semifinals.
The Spurs won their third NBA title in 2004-05, defeating the Detroit Pistons in the Finals, with Duncan earning his third Finals MVP award as well. San Antonio advanced to the Finals again in 2006-07 and got past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a four-game sweep, with Parker earning Finals MVP honors for the first time.
The Spurs continued to make the playoffs each season over the next four years, but they were getting farther and farther from title contention. In 2011, the team switched from surrounding the big three of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili with veterans to trying to develop some young talent around the trio.
That led to a draft-day trade that saw the Spurs send guard George Hill to the Indiana Pacers for the rights to the No. 15 picks in the 2011 draft, San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard. Despite a strike-shortened season, the Spurs still won 50 of 62 games to extend their streak of 50-win seasons to 13, setting an NBA record.
San Antonio won 20 straight games from the last 10 games of the regular season to the first two games of the Western Conference finals, but they wouldn’t win another, as Oklahoma City took four straight to eliminate the Spurs and advance to the NBA Finals.
In 2012-13, San Antonio returned to the NBA Finals, where it faced the Miami Heat. Up 3-2 in the series, the Spurs blew a five-point lead in the final minute of Game 6, falling in overtime, then lost Game 7 and the title.
The teams met in the NBA Finals again the next season, and this time, the Spurs were determined not to lose. Leonard had a fantastic series on both ends of the floor and was the Finals MVP as San Antonio won in five games.
Age started to show on the Spurs, as they made the playoffs the next season but were eliminated in the first round. The team acquired forward Aldridge to try to get younger, but the next season brought a second-round playoff exit.
In the 2016 offseason, Duncan announced his retirement. He finished as the second player to record over 26,000 points, 15,000 rebounds and 3,000 blocks in his career. He also was the first NBA player to reach 1,000 wins with a single team.
Without Duncan, the Spurs were a title contender, advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2017. But in the series opener, Leonard landed on the foot of Zaza Pachulia and aggravated an ankle injury that kept him out of the rest of the series, which San Antonio lost in four straight.
Leonard sat out much of the next season with different ailments and made it known that he wanted to be traded.The team made the playoffs without him but lost in the first round, and the Spurs had a major roster overhaul in the offseason. Parker signed to play with the Charlotte Hornets, ending his 17-year career with the Spurs, Ginobili retired, and Leonard and Danny Green were dealt to the Toronto Raptors for a package highlighted by All-Star DeMar DeRozan.
Despite dealing with injuries, the Spurs made the postseason again in 2018-19, extending their NBA record playoff streak to 22 seasons. San Antonio was eliminated in seven games in the first round.
Gervin, Robinson and Duncan highlight nine players who have played for San Antonio that are in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Spurs struggled through the first part of their 2019-20 schedule, losing eight straight to fall to 5-11 near the end of November. Things improved a bit, but the closest the team got to the .500 mark was a 20-23 record in late January.
San Antonio was sitting at 27-36 when the NBA had to suspend the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Spurs were one of the teams invited to play in the Orlando bubble, but their luck didn’t change there, as a 5-3 mark left them short of the playoffs for the first time in 23 seasons.
It was the first time since the 1996-97 season — the year before drafting Duncan — that San Antonio finished under .500.
Gregg Popovich has coached one team over the past 23 seasons, winning five NBA titles and reaching the playoffs 22 consecutive years before coming up short in 2019-20. Popovich has the most combined wins (regular season and playoffs) in NBA history with 1,447.
Popovich served five years in the Air Force before becoming an assistant coach at the Air Force Academy in 1973. He spent six years at that job before taking the head coaching gig at Division III Pomona-Pitzer, where he was the coach for 12 seasons.
Popovich did take a year off in 1985-86 to spend a season as a volunteer assistant coach to Brown at Kansas. That later led to Popovich joining Brown’s staff with the San Antonio Spurs in 1988, where he spent four years as an assistant before moving on to Golden State as an assistant coach for two seasons.
Popovich returned to San Antonio and became the team’s general manager and vice president of basketball operations in 1994, before moving to the head coaching slot early in the 1996-97 campaign.
Popovich has won the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award three times (2003, 2012, 2014) and has served as an assistant coach and head coach for the USA Basketball team on multiple occasions.
Keita Bates-Diop, forward, Denver Nuggets
Bryn Forbes, guard, Milwaukee Bucks
Marco Belinelli, guard
Devin Vassell, guard, Florida State
Tre Jones, guard, Duke
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