3-on-3: The Spurs and Rockets play another preseason tilt



The whole group, together again. Maybe. Unless Pop goes all Pop on us. (Photo credit: RMTip21)

Tonight is the first home game of the year. Breathe that in, Spurs fans. It won’t be a packed house, it is preseason after all, but the AT&T Center will be alive once again. While things will continue to be rusty and out-of-sync for the time being, basketball is back in San Antonio. To get you primed and ready for an evening of basketball, we kick things off with a 3-on-3 featuring Houston Rockets blog Red94 writer Michael Pina and a couple of us 48MoH bloggers.

1. Is the Luis Scola-Jordan Hill combo that good, or were the Spurs big men making it appear so?

Michael Pina, Red94: Well, Scola certainly is, but Jordan Hill’s overall impressiveness on the stat sheet was more a product of him being the largest person on the court than anything else. Of course, it isn’t his fault Tim Duncan and the recently departed Antonio McDyess gave way to the likes of DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter. Hill was opportunistic; Scola was Scola.
Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: We covered the plight of the DeJuan Blair-Tiago Splitter pairing. Also a defensive liability is the Blair-Matt Bonner combo. But Luis Scola did the things that keep Gregg Popovich up at night and Jordan Hill looked like a honest-to-goodness NBA rotation player, which I didn’t think he was. We’ll see how Hill looks tonight with Tim Duncan playing for the Spurs.
Timothy Varner, 48 Minutes of Hell: Scola and Hill are good basketball players, but they’re far from unguardable. Their success against the Spurs last week had more to do with the absence of Tim Duncan and the rest of the Spurs’ bigs not manning up to the challenge of slowing Houston’s offense.

2. It’s only the second game, but are you expecting something more aesthetically pleasing this time around?

Michael Pina, Red94: To be honest, no. Both teams—and the NBA at large—are integrating new pieces, seeing what they have, and discovering the parts that do and don’t work, in a hyper sped up process that won’t smooth itself out for at least another month.
Andrew McNeill, 48MoH: I would expect so. A mid-season shootout it will not be, but I’d like to think that a few kinks will have been worked out with Saturday’s game and Monday’s scrimmage. Things will slow down a bit and muscle memory will be fine tuned. I’m hoping for over 38% shooting tonight. Please.
Timothy Varner, 48MoH: I’m not sure what to expect, and that will probably be the case for the next month. The Spurs’ frontcourt is still a player away from being whole and their backcourt/wing rotation is crowded by intriguing but still unknown talents. It will take the Spurs a little time to find themselves.

3. What are you looking for more, results or the process?

Michael Pina, Red94: Right now it’s all about the process. Kevin McHale needs to formulate his lineups, find who plays well with who, and scheme with our lackluster roster the best he can. The Western Conference is up for grabs. Even though the Rockets are several pieces away from becoming title contenders, getting the most out of every single player on the team is key when looking at the unit from an asset perspective.
Andrew McNeill, 48MoH: I’m always about the process, even in the regular season. As long as you’re in (or on pace to be in) playoff position, I’m all for sacrificing some results in order to fine tune the process. For example, I try not to knock a guy too much for missing a wide open shot (unless he habitually misses them) and instead applaud the ability of the team to get that wide open shot. I’d like to think that’s how I am, anyway.
Timothy Varner, 48MoH: Process. I primarily want to see three players—Tiago Splitter, James Anderson, and Kawhi Leonard—find a good comfort level within the Spurs system and begin to compliment San Antonio’s veteran core and established role players.

  • Espoon

    The Spurs still have a huge hole upfront and Splitter is not the answer yet (maybe in the future).  This team still has trouble defending, rebounding, and making free throws.  I’m hopeing teams go right at the Spurs upfront and force them to make a move.  Unfortunately there are alot of teams that play outside-in and some really bad teams that the Spurs will end up with a good record and probably get bounced in the 1st round again.

  • http://twitter.com/jaceman49 Jonas Chang

    If it were only as easy as people say it is. Unfortunately the Spurs just don’t have a lot of flexibility at the moment. We need size, defense, and rebounding. Does that mean I immediately try to trade Tony Parker for Emeka Okafor? Because that totally works. However, rush decisions into moves may not be the optimal solution for us now. Yes, without McDyess, the rotation of Blair, Bonner, and Splitter around and behind Duncan does leave a lot to be desired defensively, but I don’t know that any odd body would fit in here well. Earl Barron? Erick Dampier? Who worthwhile is willing to play for the mini-mid-level? So many questions to be answered.

  • spursfanbayarea

    I would agree to a trade for parker okafor but it wouls
    D have to include jefferson in it to happen. And would like to get ariza back . Or some how tradd for kaman and ariza and whatever other pieces needed to work out cap wise.

  • Zach R.

    Andrew/Jesse/Tim, what do you think the chances are that we make a (successful) run at Kenyon once his CBA contract issues are cleared up?  

  • Anonymous

    If Stephan Curry’s re-injury to his repaired ankle is serious and he can’t play the rest of this season, I’d hope the Spurs would be open to this trade.


  • Anonymous

    “Timothy Varner, 48MoH: Process. I primarily want to see
    three players—Tiago Splitter, James Anderson, and Kawhi Leonard—find a
    good comfort level within the Spurs system and begin to compliment San
    Antonio’s veteran core and established role players.”

    Spot on!!!!

  • You Know Who

    Tim, what is your problem?  I always see James, Tiago, and Kawhi going around telling the veterans how nice they look.  You don’t?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Splitter is not the answer if they keep playing him with scrubs. Blair is so lucky to have Manu and Tim on the court playing with him at the same time together. Splitter will benefit playing with a half ass PF. They keep this up they will trade him.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Splitter will benefit playing with a half ass PF? (Typo question mark instead)

  • spursfanbayarea

    That would be a great trade for our team. Giving away 1 really good starter plus 1 decent starter for 3 solid rotation players at positions we need. Not to mention getting more athletic and younger. Good work on your trade proposal. 

  • Anonymous

    The Spurs have got something special in that young man Kawhi Leonard.  He may not have posted a “spectacular” game…but he made it count when needed.  Of course the last seconds’ shot comes to mind…but more importantly was witnessing his ball handling skills, collective play, and at the 3:00 minute mark of the 4th (or somewhere close to that) the cross over dribble and pass to Danny Green for the 3 and foul.

    I like this kid a lot.

    Corey Joseph…what can you say about a kid (sophomore out of college) who has played as if he was a probable top 20 lottery pick with only a week of being with the organization.

    Good signs for the Spurs perimeter game.

    On to the post play…That will be the heartbreak of many a Spur fan this year.

  • TD BestEVER

    I think coming off the bench will benefit Splitter………. More than Blair starting with TD……. most back up Big’s are not 7ft tall and usually are not that good…….. It’s the difference between trying to score on Jordan Hill……and Samuel Dalembert