As NBA teams move closer and closer to the February 23rd trade deadline, questions have been raised about the needs for each team. Some teams have already started making moves, while other teams have expressed interest in players and started planning which players they are willing to move. However, one player that isn’t worried his team’s potential needs is Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.
— NBA (@NBA) February 12, 2017
During Friday’s All-Star media day, Leonard stated that he does not believe that the Spurs need to make any major moves before the trade deadline on Thursday. In speaking to reporters, Leonard stated, “I think we’re doing good right now. It’s all about team chemistry. You’ve always got to figure out the best way for you and your team, but I think we’re doing a good job right now.”
With the Spurs currently holding the second best record in the NBA at 43-13, it would seem that his comments actually have some merit. The Spurs are widely regarded as a perennial playoff team, and under the coaching of Gregg Popovich, they are always considered legitimate championship contenders year-after-year. These positives do not inherently mean that the Spurs don’t necessarily mean the Spurs do not need to or shouldn’t make any moves currently.
Guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili remain two of the best players on the team, and their veteran presence has helped to keep the younger players on the team focused, even after their veteran leader Tim Duncan retired last season. However, Parker and Ginobili are 34 and 39 respectively, and they are still past their prime. The same goes for the team’s starting center Pau Gasol, who left the Chicago Bulls last summer to sign with the Spurs in free agency to help fill the void left by Duncan’s retirement.
Pau Gasol getting in some work. Won’t play tonight but is expected back after the All-Star Break. pic.twitter.com/V4sduQf526
— Jeff Platt (@jeffplatt) February 15, 2017
At 36 years old, Gasol is averaging a career-low 26.4 minutes this season, and he is currently averaging 11.7 points (career-low), 7.9 rebounds (third-lowest), 2.7 assists (tied for third-lowest), and 1.2 blocks (tied for second-lowest) per game. Gasol has been out with a fractured finger on his left hand since January 19th. Though he is expected to return to action after All-Star break, the Spurs will still have other needs which should be addressed if they want to make a deep playoff run again.
The Spurs aren’t exactly known for making blockbuster trades at the deadline. And indeed, most of their current issues may not necessarily be with the personnel that they either have or don’t have. Their biggest issues just seem to spawn out of inconsistency, as the Spurs have displayed difficulty putting together a full 48 minutes on numerous occasions this season. Seven of the Spurs’ 13 losses have come against teams with sub-.500 records (such as their recent February 12th loss to the New York Knicks). Consistency like that cannot be traded for at the deadline or bought at the post-deadline waiver wire, but rather, it has to come from within the team.
Even despite that, the Spurs still have a pretty solid core to build around, with their young All-Star forward Leonard as a leader to build around. Leonard and his frontcourt running mate LaMarcus Aldridge are the clear future of this team.
— NBAIndia (@NBAIndia) May 13, 2016
Kawhi Leonard may be correct about the San Antonio’s roster being fine as it is. The Spurs definitely have youth and talent in the younger players on the roster, who will be expected to lay the groundwork for the future of the Spurs. Even if the roster is okay as it is like Leonard says, coach Popovich may still have his work cut out for him with the existing team if the Spurs expect to contend with the likes of the Golden State Warriors for a title this season.