I Got Starstruck and Spurs Season Starts

The Spurs New Look Roster
Photo courtesy of spursdynasty.com
Over the weekend, I met Boris Diaw, and it reminded me that the NBA regular season starts this week. The San Antonio Spurs will look a bit different: Tiago Splitter, Aaron Baynes, Cory Joseph, Austin Daye, and Marco Belinelli are gone. LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, Boban Marjanovic (not to be confused with Bogan Bogdanovic), and Ray McCallum. Jimmer Fredette was, unfortunately, cut after a brief preseason stint with the Spurs in which he failed to adjust to the system.

Me and Boris acting like best buds ever
Photo courtesy of Editor-in-chief Atzimba (Zumba) Morales

The new look Spurs will take the floor this Wednesday in Oklahoma City as they try to win their 6th NBA championship with Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich. But what do we have to look forward to?

As I mentioned before, the Spurs have a fresh, new look, while still retaining their core pieces. Over the offseason, there was much turmoil in determining where free agent LaMarcus Aldridge would ultimately end up. It was a late-game maneuver by assistant coach Ime Udoka that sealed the deal with the now-former Blazer. David West soon followed suit by opting out of a $12.6 million contract to take the veteran minimum of $1.5 million and a chance to pursue a championship. It was the commitment to contending rather than to one's wallet that made myself (and most likely other fans) believe West has the mentality of a Spur, if only for this moment.

The regular season didn't pan out the way the Spurs had hoped with Patty Mills and Kawhi Leonard missing early on, Tiago unable to remain healthy, and Manu and Tony in and out of the lineup with their various injuries. At the conclusion of the All-Star break, the Spurs gained some momentum, but with a chance to earn the 2nd seed in the West, lost the last regular season game to the Pelicans and wound up the 6th seed. The Spurs would be unable to overcome the energy and emotion of the Clippers although they did drag them to a decisive Game 7.

The 2014 Spurs Championship team
Photo courtesy of Huffington Post
After the Spurs' last first round exit, they wound up earning 3 consecutive trips to the Western Conference Finals with 2 of those resulting in Finals appearances (and the 1 championship). Now, 2 years removed from their redemption story, the Spurs must find a way to keep the fire lit. The new additions to the Spurs roster have a combined 0 championship rings in the NBA. David West has the most playoff experience of the bunch. Veteran role players are a hallmark of any competitive roster, especially when those veterans haven't been able to fulfill their childhood goals of winning a national championship at the professional level.

Only a few days ago, Gregg Popovich was named the new Team USA Basketball head coach - a duty he has likely hoped for as an Air Force Academy graduate and US Air Force veteran. The position will be effective after the 2016 Olympics have concluded. Popovich will replace Coach Mike Krzyzewski who has coached the team since 2005.

As the season tips off, we'll all be watching on baited breath as the Spurs continue their hack-a-(insert notoriously bad free throw shooter's name here) method that Adam Silver has said he won't change. According to every expert, the Spurs won the offseason by signing LaMarcus, getting David West at a bargain, unloading nerve-damaged Splitter, and convincing Manu and Tim to give it a last shot, but winning in July and winning in June are two totally different things. We can only watch now as they take the court, and it might be slow goings at first, but this team will show us sooner or later the talent they possess, and let's hope they can show us a lot of it.