USA Today Sports’ Sam Amick reflects on Tim Duncan’s career.
USA TODAY Sports
With the bulk of NBA free agency in the books, USA TODAY Sports explores how all the offseason moves will alter each team as we look ahead to the 2016-17 season.
What do you think the starting five of your favorite team should be? Head over to @usatodaynba on Twitter and tell us.
Projected starting five: San Antonio Spurs
(Statistics from 2015-16 season)
- Tony Parker – Points: 11.9, assists: 5.3, rebounds: 2.4, steals: 0.8, field goal percentage: 49.3%
- Danny Green – Points: 7.2, rebounds: 3.8, assists: 1.8, steals: 1.0, field goal percentage: 37.6%
- Kawhi Leonard – Points: 21.2, rebounds: 6.8, assists: 2.6, steals: 1.8, field goal percentage: 50.6%
- LaMarcus Aldridge – Points: 19.0, rebounds: 8.5, assists: 1.5, blocks: 1.1, field goal percentage: 51.3%
- Pau Gasol (with Chicago) – Points: 16.5, rebounds: 11.0, assists: 4.1, blocks: 2.0, field goal percentage: 46.9%
Added – Gasol, Ginobili (re-signed) David Lee, Dewayne Dedmon, Davis Bertrans, Dejounte Murray, Livio Jean-Charles, Ryan Arcidiacono
Lost – Tim Duncan (retired), Boris Diaw, David West, Boban Marjanovic, Matt Bonner (unsigned), Rasual Butler (unsigned), Kevin Martin (unsigned), Andre Miller (unsigned)
Biggest acquisition – Gasol
He won’t be expected to replace Duncan from a leadership standpoint or on the defensive end, but Gasol can still be a primary contributor with what he has left in his 36-year-old tank. Last season with the Chicago Bulls, he ranked fifth among centers in scoring, sixth in rebounding, first in assists and fourth in blocks, numbers that warranted the sixth All-Star selection of his career. With Gasol alongside Aldridge and Leonard, the Spurs should once again boast one of the NBA’s most dynamic frontcourts.
Biggest departure – Duncan
He was well beyond his heyday and Father Time was creeping close, but make no mistake — Duncan’s retirement marked the end of one of the most dominant eras in professional sports history, leaving a hole that was (and will continue to be) felt league-wide. That’s not to say the Spurs won’t remain one of the NBA’s best, but moving on without the guy who was the face of the franchise for the past two decades will be no picnic.
X factor – Leonard
With Duncan out the door, Leonard — the 25-year-old two-time Defensive Player of the Year who finished second in MVP voting last season — is next in line. Gregg Popovich is still the mastermind behind it all, and veterans Parker, Ginobili, Aldridge and Gasol will be valuable assets to help usher in the new era. But Leonard is the future. A tall order, for sure, but one that he’s is well-suited for.
Offseason grade – B
Check out our other offseason recaps: Atlanta • Boston • Brooklyn • Charlotte • Chicago • Cleveland • Dallas • Denver • Detroit • Golden State • Houston• Indiana • L.A. Clippers • L.A. Lakers • Memphis • Miami • Milwaukee • Minnesota • New Orleans • New York • Oklahoma City • Orlando • Philadelphia • Phoenix • Portland • Sacramento
Follow AJ Neuharth-Keusch on Twitter @tweetAJNK