The 2014 NBA Finals were a clear illustration that the San Antonio Spurs were the best team in basketball. The Spurs ousted the Miami Heat in a quick five-game series, leaving the NBA with no doubt how the Spurs felt about avenging their 2013 loss. Although the Spurs won in such dominating fashion, San Antonio is not the favorite to win the 2015 NBA Finals. The Spurs, who rank behind the Heat in 2015 Finals odds, are being completely disrespected considering the predicted similarity this year’s roster will have with next year’s team.
The Spurs will likely be bringing back much of the same group that won the this year’s NBA Finals. The Spurs will have nearly $10 million in cap space (presuming Tim Duncan returns to play), as Patty Mills and Boris Diaw will be coming off of the books. The Spurs hope to retain both players, but other teams may snatch Mills with a chance to start him. If this happens, the Spurs can replace him with Cory Joseph, a capable reserve point guard. The Spurs will make re-signing Diaw a priority, as his versatility and playmaking were a main reason the Spurs were able to dismantle the Heat.
Furthermore, Kawhi Leonard will return with a chance to prove his Finals performance was not an aberration. Leonard will be the team’s No. 1 or No. 2 offensive option, and his fearless approach to the game makes it possible for him to lead the Spurs next season on offense. Leonard’s development in only three years has been almost inconceivable. The way the veterans speak of Leonard, they are certain he will soon break out, and this upcoming year could be the season fans around the NBA begin to take notice.
The final, and most obvious reason why San Antonio will be right back in this position next year is Gregg Popovich. Popovich sounds like he will return for next season to coach the Spurs, and now San Antonio hopes they can hear the same news from Duncan. With Popovich at the helm, the Spurs cannot be doubted, even if they will be another year older.