Will the Spurs repeat as champions this year? If the recent poll taken of league GMs is any indication, they will. The poll reveals that 37% of the general managers feel the Spurs are due to retain their title this year, ahead of Phoenix (26%), and Dallas (15%). The poll also revealed that Bulls are the faves to win their division, and that LeBron James is (unsurprisingly) the likely choice to win the MVP, just edging out the Spurs’ Tim Duncan. Other notes that pertain to San Antonio from the poll: Coach Pop was ranked the best coach; Bruce Bowen, the best defensive player; Duncan, the best center; Duncan, the best power forward; Duncan, the best interior defender; and the Spurs came in 3rd in the league in best home court advantage. Last year’s reigning MVP, Dirk Nowitzki, received 0 votes.
Although preseason records are fairly useless indicators of anything, the Spurs are 3-2 so far. On Tuesday, the Spurs beat the Heat, sending the Miami team to a 0-7 preseason record. In the game, Ginobili scored 22 points, going 6-7 from the field in the teams 104-87 win. Micheal Finley scored 14, Matt Bonner, 13, and Tim Duncan corralled 11 boards. On Thursday, San Antonio went up against the new-look Orlando Magic and lost 99-90. The Magic look to be much improved over last year’s team, due mainly to the addition of Rashard Lewis. Lewis has been out of much of the preseason with a bum ankle, but returned against the Spurs to post 16 points in three quarters before resting the fourth. The Spurs also rested Duncan for the final period, although the rest of the starters played it out.
What’s good to see for Spurs fans is that Tony Parker seems to be getting back to his old self again. After spending the summer getting married, and then staying in France to play for the national team, it took him some time to work himself back into some big minutes. In the game against Orlando, the speedy little Frenchman played 31 minutes and scored 18 points on 7-14 shooting. In bad news, it looks like backup point guards, Jacque Vaughn and Beno Udrih will be out for the start of the season with injuries.