NBA San Antonio Spurs

5 Keys To San Antonio Spurs’ 2014 NBA Title Hopes

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5 Keys For Spurs' Title Hopes

Soobum Im – USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs are a legitimate title contender this season as they currently have one of the best rosters in a tough Western Conference, but they aren’t the dominant team they used to be in recent years.

Struggles against the best teams in the NBA and health issues have hampered the Spurs’ performance this year, but the squad managed by Gregg Popovich has found a way to be a top-four team in the West this year. They appear to be a lock to make the playoffs once the regular season is over, but there’s no secret that there are several things they need to improve in order to take home a championship that hasn’t arrived in Texas since the 2007-08 season.

The lack of cohesion in the rotation and injuries are genuine causes for concern, but there are other things that are easier solved and that Popovich can actually control in the near future.

The Spurs have issues to fix on both sides of the ball, they need to improve their attack against tougher defensive units, and they appear to be taking a step back in comparison to last year when they lost to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. In order to repeat that appearance, however, the Spurs need to solve some things rather sooner than later.

These are the five most urgent things that need to be resolved if the Spurs want to make a deep title run this year.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a sports writer for Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google

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5. Health

Derick E. Hingle – USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs have had several health issues this season. Danny Green, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard are only some of the players that have been sidelined for extended periods of time, and nearly the entire roster has suffered some kind of injury this year. Given its aging roster, the one thing the Spurs need to contend is to have all their players in their best physical form.

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4. Big Three's Contributions

Sam Sharpe – USA TODAY Sports

Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are still the key players of the team, and the Spurs still go as far as their Big Three can take them. Their playoff performance will be key and if they’re dominant, the Spurs should be able to make another NBA Finals appearance.

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3. Defensive Performances

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The Spurs have been a well-organized team in recent years, but they have been quite lackluster on defense this season. They need to solve that if they want to make a deep playoff run as they don’t have enough offensive power to be involved in shootouts with the likes of the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors or Oklahoma City Thunder.

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2. Rotation Adjustments

Kyle Terada – USA TODAY Sports

Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli should have more minutes, while the likes of Nando de Colo and Aaron Baynes should see less time on the floor. Popovich usually adjusts the rotation come playoff time and the injuries have definitely played a part this year, but the Spurs need to adjust the minutes of their key players once the postseason arrives if they really want to have a chance.

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1. Performance against Top Teams

Mark D. Smith – USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs have lost several games against the top teams in the league, and that’s a trend that is really worrisome. San Antonio has had several troubles with the top teams of both conferences and unless they find a way to solve those issues, they could be doomed for an early playoff exit.