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The core of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginóbili and Tony Parker—together for 10 seasons and counting—got some help last year from rookie forward Kawhi Leonard, a defensive stopper in the Bruce Bowen mold who connected on 39.7% of his threes after the All-Star break and 45.0% in the playoffs. Coach Gregg Popovich says Leonard will have an enhanced role this season, particularly in the pick-and-roll, San Antonio's bread-and-butter play.
That leaves the middle, where Pop will—for now, at least—use a committee approach. DeJuan Blair, last season's starter, came to camp significantly slimmed down, but Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner offer more offensive punch. Tiago Splitter more than doubled his scoring average in his second season while his free throw shooting jumped from 54.3% to an almost-respectable 69.1%. If one of those big bodies can own the position, the Spurs will once again be in the title mix in the West.
COACH: Gregg Popovich (17th season with Spurs)
2011--12 RECORD: 50--16 (1st in Southwest)
OFFENSE: 103.7 ppg (2nd)
DEFENSE: 96.5 ppg (16th)
PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE: 35.8 ppg (1st)
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
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