Pau Gasol may not be the best replacement for the retired Tim Duncan, cautions Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. In the site’s season preview of the Spurs, Blancarte notes that while Gasol remains an effective passer and all-around player, most of his scoring comes from the midrange area, where San Antonio already produces much of its offense. Gasol left the Bulls to sign a two-year, $30MM deal with the Spurs in July. Although Blancarte picks San Antonio to repeat as Southwest Division champions, he expresses concern about the age of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and states that Kyle Anderson and Jonathon Simmons will have to be ready to take on larger roles.
There’s more news out of San Antonio:
- The Spurs have 14 players with guaranteed contracts and a four-way battle is shaping up for the final roster spot, Eric Pincus writes in the same story. Patricio Garino, Ryan Arcidiacono, Bryn Forbes and Ryan Richards are expected to compete for the 15th position, with the D-League looming as a consolation prize.
- San Antonio has waived its rights to Marcus Denmon, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The Spurs made the former Missouri combo guard the 59th pick in the 2012 draft. He has spent his professional career overseas and played last season in the Turkish Basketball League.
- An Austin Spurs tryout Saturday attracted 110 players hoping to duplicate Simmons’ unlikely path to the NBA, writes Lorne Chen of NBA.com. Simmons was a semi-pro player who was thinking about giving up basketball when he came to the 2013 tryout. He impressed coaches enough to earn a contract with the D-League team, then graduated to the NBA two seasons later. “Jonathon came from this spot and has been a part of our group ever since,” said Austin GM Andy Birdsong. “And the thing is there are many stories like his coming out of the D-League. It’s a real story. It’s one that’s tangible. And it gives the guys here a lot of hope.”