When the San Antonio Spurs fell in the second round to the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, everyone knew that changes would be coming to the organization. After all, most assumed that the Spurs would meet up with the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals all season long.
The Thunder were still a respected team, but the firepower that both the Spurs and Warriors possessed was thought to be too much for them to handle. In the end, the Thunder proved many people wrong, defeating the Spurs in six games, and nearly upsetting the Warriors before blowing a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals and allowing the Dubs to slip by them.
After two straight disappointing showings in the playoffs (including a first round exit to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015) the Spurs have gone through many changes this offseason.
Tim Duncan, arguably the best power forward ever and a top-10 all-time NBA player, announced his retirement. The club traded Boris Diaw away to the Utah Jazz in order to clear out enough financial space to sign 36-year-old Pau Gasol.
The Philadelphia 76ers entered into a bidding war for Manu Ginobili, forcing the Spurs to hike up their original offer by $11 million, which cost them the opportunity to re-sign fan favorite Boban Marjanovic, who accepted a three-year, $21 million deal with the Detroit Pistons.
David West continued his ring-chasing quest by signing with the Warriors, and the Spurs brought in an influx of youth by agreeing to terms with long-distance sniper Davis Bertans, athletic big man Dewayne Dedmon, first round pick Dejounte Murray, and signing undrafted rookie free agents Bryn Forbes and Ryan Arcidiacono to shore up their backcourt depth.
This has been the most tumultuous offseason in Spurs history, and things got even more interesting when Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors in shocking fashion, making them even more dangerous than they already were.
While so many analysts and fans have been quick to anoint the Warriors as NBA champions yet again after adding Durant, the Spurs still have a puncher’s chance of taking out the mighty Bay Area titans. This is not the first “super team” ever formed. We have seen this before when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010. They didn’t win a title until their second year together.
Everyone thought the Los Angeles Lakers would take the West in 2012 when they brought in Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to team up with Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace. In the end, they were swept in the first round by the Spurs that year and Howard left the following summer.
When James went back to the Cleveland Cavaliers to form a new dynasty in the making in 2014, it also took them two years to win it all. Point being, sometimes it takes time for these juggernauts to come together, leaving just a little daylight for teams like this upcoming Spurs team to shock the world and upend the loaded Warriors.
Here are the seven keys to the Spurs upsetting the Warriors this year.