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NBA West forecast: Spurs, if healthy, are early favorites

The San Antonio Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge (12) laughs

The San Antonio Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge (12) laughs with teammate Tim Duncan during the second half of a preseason game against the Detroit Pistons, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, in San Antonio. Credit: AP / Darren Abate

San Antonio has its eyes on another title after adding two game-changing free agents in LaMarcus Aldridge and David West. Pairing them with Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard -- one of the league's top young stars -- has the Spurs as the early heavy favorites to win it all.

San Antonio's biggest question mark is health, just as it is every season with their aging veteran core. Parker was bothered by a left hamstring strain last season, and the 14.4 points and 4.9 assists he posted were his lowest averages in those two categories since his rookie season.

Steve Kerr's health

In his first season as a coach, Kerr led the Warriors to their first title since 1975. But two offseason surgeries on his back have him sidelined for an indefinite period. He had surgery in late July to repair a ruptured disc and underwent a follow-up procedure last month. In the interim, second-year assistant Luke Walton is serving as the team's coach.

Is K.D. headed to D.C.?

Remember the never-ending chatter surrounding LeBron James' eventual return home to Cleveland after the 2013-14 season? Get ready for Kevin Durant overload. Rumblings have been simmering for a while about Durant bolting from Oklahoma City via free agency next summer to play for the Wizards in his native Washington. Durant has yet to extinguish the flames surrounding the situation when given the opportunity.

Kobe questions

After seeing his past three seasons end prematurely because of a torn rotator cuff, fractured knee and torn Achilles tendon, Kobe Bryant, 37, is anxious to prove he still has it. He's entering his 20th season, though, and his body just isn't what it used to be. He's earning $23.5 million in the final year of his contract and hasn't said whether he will play beyond this season, though he indicated it will be with the Lakers if he does.

School's in session for Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns snatched the SEC Freshman of the Year honor in his lone season at Kentucky, and it's not hard to see why he was the NBA's No. 1 overall pick. At 7 feet, 250 pounds, he has the size to go with a nice shooting touch. The Piscataway, New Jersey, product will receive a firsthand educational experience from teammate Kevin Garnett, who's in his 21st season.


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