The Raps return home following a disastrous road trip to face the perpetually strong Spurs. This team represents continuity to a degree unparalleled in the modern NBA. Their Coach, Gregg Popovich, has won 4 championships in his 16 years at the helm, piling up a winning percentage of .675. The General Manager, R.C. Buford, has held the job since 2002. Together, they have created a team always in contention, & viewed as the gold standard of how to play the game right. The Spurs choose players who understand the team-first concept; it’s no surprise that many of their strongest contributors were lightly regarded. Is Manu Ginobili the greatest 57th pick in NBA history? [Hint: Yes] Tony Parker was chosen as the 28th pick in 2001; the Raps took Michael Bradley with #16. Who was heading up our scouting at the time, & why hasn’t he been brought up on charges? Of course, whoever it was might have lots of company. Such luminaries as Jeryl Sasser, Joe Forte, & Kirk Haston were selected ahead of Parker, who’s one of the 2 or 3 best Point Guards of the last decade. We can’t complete this paean without mentioning Tim Duncan, widely considered the best Power Forward ever, who’s averaging a double-double in his 16th season as a Spur. San Antonio isn’t short of youthful talent; Kawhi Leonard & DeJuan Blair are consistent, low-maintenance contributors. There’s even a double Canadian connection. Matt Bonner, the Red Rocket, still wants to become a citizen & play for the national team. If that ever happens, he’ll join Cory Joseph, a skinny PG from Pickering, who looks like he’s being groomed as Parker’s successor.
The Spurs have piled up a 6-1 road record, in contrast to the Raps’ pitiful 1-7. While Stephen Jackson and Leonard are out with injuries, this team is more than strong enough to barely notice their absence. San Antonio outscores its opponents by more than 5 PPG, one of the healthiest marks in the league.
Optimism must on occasion be tempered with realism. The Raps are still casting about for a rotation they can rely upon, & until they do, pick the opponent. The Spurs are much too strong & will roll to a 103-92 victory.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.