Despite a relatively underwhelming offseason, the San Antonio Spurs are still very much poised to be one of the biggest threats to Golden State’s stranglehold over the rest of the NBA. While other teams like the Rockets and Thunder have reloaded their rosters to try and compete with the monolithic Warriors, the Spurs will rely heavily on savvy coaching and organizational consistency to maintain their place among the league’s elite.
Any championship aspirations they still harbor depend very much on Kawhi Leonard, yet it appears they’ll have to kick off the 2017-2018 campaign without their superstar forward, and he could potentially be out longer than expected.
Leonard will reportedly miss the Spurs’ season opener against the Timberwolves on Wednesday, and according to Gregg Popovich, there’s still no time-table for his return.
“He won’t be available,” Popovich said before the Spurs’ preseason finale against Houston.
Leonard, 25, has missed training camp and the entire preseason schedule while rehabilitating tendinopathy in his left quadriceps. Initially, the Spurs had ruled Leonard out for the duration schedule.
Now, his absence appears poised to bleed into the games that count. Leonard has not practiced since the start of training camp, though he has been in the Spurs’ practice facility to participate in rehab work.
It’s perhaps premature to sounding the alarms, but San Antonio will need Leonard healthy and playing at an MVP level if they want to secure one of the top seeds in the reconfigured Western Conference.
Yet the Spurs are such a well-oiled machine that you can still count on them to execute their schemes to near-perfection and for everyone on the roster to step up and assume some of the vast workload.