The Western Conference playoff race in the NBA is tight right now. Only two games separate the fourth seed from being on the outside looking in regarding the Western Conference. The action will be chaotic heading into the final week of the regular season with playoff implications looming large. One team that is usually a lock for the playoffs at this time is San Antonio. Currently, they hold the fifth seed and are 1.5 games ahead of ninth place Denver.
This is an unusual predicament for the Spurs; they're almost guaranteed a 50-win season due to Gregg Popovich's basketball brilliance and a superstar who's also a team player stepping up. However, San Antonio won't be getting that 50-win season this year for the first time in nearly two decades. They'll also have a losing record on the road for the first time in a while. Anyways, the Spurs are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1997, where they finished the season with a 20-62 record. Last night's overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers was proof of the frustrations the Spurs have faced all season.
The main problem with San Antonio has been the absence of Kawhi Leonard. Leonard's been injured with a quadriceps tendinopathy that has only allowed him to play nine games this season. Players like Manu Ginobili believe that Leonard won't be returning. Leonard has a player option in 2019 and his contract expires in 2020, so it's to be believed that Leonard probably won't make it back.
Where would Leonard go if he were to be traded? Boston has been labeled as a potential target due to the many assets they carry. Al Horford and Marcus Smart seem like two players that would fit the Spurs mold. Other targets include the Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In any case, the Spurs have one hell of a week ahead of them. It will indicate where their future lies not just as a playoff contender, but as an elite team. Can the Spurs pull through in this last week?
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