Corporate Knowledge: February 14, 2012
- Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News notes Tim Duncan is once again playing a career low in minutes, but has been able to play in all but one game so far this season.Head coach Gregg Popovich often preaches to only worry about what you can control, and while the Spurs cannot control injuries—as McDonald alludes to in referencing Ginobili’s freakish elbow injury last season—they can limit their exposure to them.
The rest appears to be doing Duncan some good; he has scored in double digits for eight consecutive nights and posted four straight double-doubles. His scoring still relies heavily on jump shots, but there are more nights in which he appears to have balance and authority in his post game. More importantly, he’s been able to anchor the defense in fourth quarters as needed.
The season is going to be a battle of attrition. And Popovich going all tortoise and the hare in his approach should pay dividends come playoff time.
- The same theory applies to Tiago Splitter, who is averaging roughly 20 minutes a game. While many are clamoring for Splitter to see the 30-plus minutes his production would seem to warrant, Popovich continues to stay conservative with Splitter.Andrew McNeill hit the nail on the head in pointing out how injury prone Splitter has been. Duncan and Splitter are the Spurs two best big men, while DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner have proven questionable in playoff situations. But Blair and Bonner are legitimate rotation players in this league, and are much more durable. There is value in Blair and Bonner eating regular season minutes in order to limit Duncan and Splitter’s exposure to fatigue and injury risk.
- Ben Wallace is retiring after the season. With tonight’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, Wallace will surpass Avery Johnson for the most games played by an undrafted player in modern NBA (i.e. post merger) history.
- Mark Travis of the Corpus Christi Caller Times believes Manu Ginobili should remain in role as sixth manfor the remainder of the season. In discussions with Timothy Varner earlier in the season on this topic my biggest concern was how the starting unit’s offense would hold up with Duncan no longer being a reliable creator.Those concerns were largely dispelled with the play of Tony Parker, who has carried this team in Ginobili’s absence. Keeping the current starting unit intact allows Kawhi Leonard developmental minutes, and saves Ginobili from the grind of having to guard star players day in and day out through the regular season. Furthermore, Ginobili’s ability as a playmaker frees up Popovich to deploy lineups with Gary Neal at point guard and Danny Green at small forward while keeping them in their comfort zone—keeping both players in the rotation with consistent minutes while lightening Tony Parker’s workload.