Corporate Knowledge: February 21, 2012

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  • Should weighing the San Antonio Spurs current iteration against past glory diminish the joy fans get from watching Spurs basketball? That’s a question posed by Carles over at Grantland.”Does anyone really think the Spurs will win a playoff series? They were the no. 1 seed in last year’s playoffs. They could be the no. 1 seed this year. This, in itself, is impressive, but when your benchmark is winning championships, what could be worse than a team that plays well in the regular season and then inevitably flames out in the playoffs to a much younger and cooler team?”Personally, I think there are a lot worse fates than a former championship team that is still relevant even if its former glory is not longer attainable. Watching these Spurs and realizing their limitations is more akin to realizing your parents are mortal and fallible than watching grandparents in a nursing home quickly losing their faculties (for that, it would seem, you could tune in to a Boston Celtics game).
  • I’m not going to fault James Anderson, or his agent, for making a trade request. While some will question the timing of the request and bring up the greater good of the team, this is still a young man that has to watch out for his career. The NBA, after all, is a business.The Spurs are deep on the wings with the development of Danny Green. And perhaps Anderson has a higher ceiling, perhaps not, but Green has always been a glue guy, capable of contributing with fewer opportunities. Anderson, for all his potential, was a big time scorer that benefited from plenty of opportunities in college and was never likely to see a similar role with the Spurs.
  • Scott Schroeder of ridiculous upside weights in on the Austin Toros and the Spurs calling up Eric Dawson:

“Dawson wasn’t a name coming out of college, he didn’t have prior NBA experience to catch the eye of NBA talent evaluators and he’s not some extremely athletic 7-footer that makes everyone’s jaw drop when he steps on the floor. He simply continued to refine his game while playing against solid competition, developing it to the point that the Spurs saw him as a suitable replacement when Splitter went down due to injury.”

  • There have been a lot of suprising players this season that have emerged simply because opportunities finally presented themselves in this crazy season. All of which have been overshadowed by Jeremy Lin. But ESPN’s John Hollinger has taken note, and he includes Danny Green on his Jeremy Lin All-Star team:

Danny Green, San Antonio: Green spent two years wandering the NBA desert, including being cut by the Cavs and Spurs. On Sunday, he spent the entire fourth quarter and overtime guarding Chris Paul in one of the biggest games of the week. Taking advantage of an opening created by Manu Ginobili’s injury, Green has used his defense, rebounding ability and 3-point shot to bull his way into the starting lineup and establish himself as a keeper. His development, in turn, is one of many reasons the Spurs are riding a league-best 11-game winning streak even with Ginobili barely participating.

  • neverthehero

    I found the Garland piece a nice counter-part piece to Kevin’s. By counter, I mean, the writer acknowledges the Spurs recent playoff woes. I think both are wonderfully written pieces, with a slight edge towards the Garland piece.

  • JustinFL

    In regards to the Grantland article:  I  am so over any media attention given or not given to the Spurs.  ESPN regurgitates the same crap at nauseum.  I get all my Spurs info online.  That is the difference now than when I was growing up.  You can now follow the minutia of your team whether they’re in a big or small market, or whether they’re still “relevant” or not.  So no, the Spurs aren’t going quietly in the night.

    So who does this guy think is going to win the west?  Let me guess OKC.  Ohh what a surprise.  Guess what?  They have no low post scoring.  Hard to go all the way without that.
      Lakers?  mmm. maybe, but no bench, and it appears they’re shopping Pau.
      Dallas?  please.  who then?  

  • neverthehero

    I took the article completely differnt. It was almost an ode to them. It acknowledges their run but also realizes they haven’t gotten out of the second round of the playoffs the last time times. George Hill showed up to one play off series and Gary Neal proved his worth last year but who else has stepped up? … Simply put it’s hard to get excited about the Spurs as real contenders and if they aren’t are they just the Utah Jazz? Great in the regular series but are barely a threat in the playoffs?…….

  • DorieStreet

    I looked at the aritcle and feel similar about it. When I speak with Spurs/NBA fans about the team, I always opine they should have at least one more title during this decade+ run; others said I should be 100% happy with the four championships achieved, and take pride in how the Spurs still compete as a top 5-7 team each season as the linchpins for this success are in the twilight of their careers (Tim, Manu–Tony still is in his prime). I know I would definitely feel that way totally if their was a 5th (or 6th) trophy down at the AT&T Center.

  • DorieStreet

    Yeah, JustinFL, the team is not featured in the TV promos (neither game action sequences or photo of individual players), and highlights are rare. I’m used to it and shrug it off, but other fans fume about it.
    With the rise in play of the younger teammates fueling this season’s surge (led by Tony Parker’s stellar performances), the Spurs seem to have a puncher’s chance- with everyone healthy. But the lack of at least one more frontcourt guy – power forward or center – with a solid game still worries many fans come playoff time again.

  • theghostofjh

    Westbrook, despite all his talents, is not playing like a point guard. Until OKC solves that issue, they will be capped (I believe at the WCF’s level) to achieve at the highest level.

  • Bry

    Pop sits Duncan and Parker. Spurs get crushed in the first quarter. They don’t close out on any shooters and inexplicably double OFF of Crawford. Then they go zone (again with Crawford still in the game) and get lit up from the exterior. Anderson makes a few blunders already. The Spurs today then have no centers in uniform, one point-guard (a rookie) and are starting three younglings; and the tallest starter is Jefferson at 6’7″. I’m all for resting the vets and giving the young guys playing time, but they are likely to get embarrassed playing this handicapped against a good team on the road.

  • Len

    For me, that’s why 2004 Laker series hurt and hurt bad.  Fisher’s friggin heave cost the Spurs and back to back to back run.  I mean honestly, the Spurs were .4 seconds from three peating!?!  Just thinking about it makes me see red.

  • Bob

     More Gary Neal and less George Hill will help in the playoffs. Neal was the only role player that stepped up.

  • DorieStreet

    on CBSSports.com game tracker, the bloggers are hammering Pop and Spurs for sitting healthy players (cheating paying fans, (and gamblers moaning too)).
    Back in the mid-80′s didn’t the Lakers get fined by the League when then-coach Pat Riley sat Magic and 2 other starters the last 1 or 2 games in the regular season?

  • Bentley

    I know that Pop was resting the starters…but that was an embarrassing performance by the team giving up that many points and I think it still leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many Spurs fans, especially when the team is riding high on an 11 game winning streak playing pretty good basketball.

  • DorieStreet

    Bob: 

    You do realize George Hill is not on the Spurs roster this season. I’ll let you go and research how it happened.

  • grego

    Lockout shortened season is putting more pressure on players bodies. I’d prefer to play it safe considering the Spurs injury history the past few years, especially with Manu and Duncan. 

  • DorieStreet

    Can we expect the same on Thursday night in Denver?

  • neverthehero

    I agree. I would like PoP to show me where in the last three years this strategy has paid off for the Spurs. 

  • Kornbread

    It kind of felt like Pop was giving the finger to the league. This was shown on NBA TV for fan night when they usually let the fans vote for a game. The fans, of course, voted for Miami (Spurs-Blazers was maybe a distant second). But they decided to show it as a double header. 

    It really pains NBA TV to even talk about the Spurs. The streak hasn’t really been acknowledged; so after 11 they decide to give our guys some air time and Pop decides now is the time to rest. I’m sure he wanted the team to do well, but he never seemed to get too upset about the whole thing.

  • Escott

    I think we have all the similar roles from past titles for a championship team.  The past few seasons we have been missing a lockdown defender ever since Bruce Bowen, and now though they are young we have Kawai and Danny to fill a defensive spot.  We have not had another post player to play along side Tim since Fabricio Oberto, and though he is still young we have gained Tiago.  Perhaps a rising of the twin towers soon?  Finally we need a little luck, and when double teams are sent to Manu who do we send our cold blooded final shot to?  Robert Horry kept our playoff hopes alive and polished off wins with a single shot, and once again though he is young Gary shows he is more than ready to drive the nail in the coffin at the end of games when all defense is headed towards Manu.  I think come playoffs, with a well rested Tim, Tony, and Manu, we have every piece in place to run the table at least once in the next few years.

  • Lvmainman

    Absolutely NO Reason for Tim Duncan to play on Thursday. If the Trailblazers game is a throw away game, why not the Nuggets game? What is to be gained?

    Why not give Duncan an entire week off?

  • bongp.

    The Blazers’ rout of the Spurs was the one-step-backward-two-steps-forward principle being employed by Coach Pop, who does it better than anybody in the league.

  • STIJL

     I see your logic.  Of course the health of Tim, Tony and Manu have always been the focal point of playoff success with this team.  Every year (except the foul on Dirk season) when they haven’t made it to the finals was a year one of the big 3 were not 100% healthy during the playoffs.

  • STIJL

    Former glory no longer attainable?  Not so quick with the burial when death has not yet arrived.  This team has some aspects about it during it’s title contentious years of a younger big 3.  Perimeter defense is once again evident.  Splitter is one year wiser and acclimated.  3 point threats are more prevalent and sustainable.

    Anderson doesn’t want the same fate afforded Jefferson by playing on this team.  Which would be the case if he remained on the Spurs roster.  Can’t blame him for wanting to move on to another team that would exploit his talents to their full potential if potential is there to improve.

    Regarding Dawson…more likely a suitable replacement regarding Blair.  (First NBA game and he produces as well as Blair who has 2 and a half years experience)

    Regarding Green…agreed he’s a keeper.  No way he should remain a starter.

  • STIJL

     Like you, I am not perplexed by the this move and in a way welcomed it.

    It was an opportunity to see who outside the big 3 would propel themselves into solid rotational players during the second half of the season.  A foundation for rotation is a must during the second half of the season prior to playoffs beginning.  To me, as important as it is to rest as much the starters…it’s as important to figure out the team’s rotational patterns.

    Though it was a 40 point loss…The game helped in more ways than most can imagine regarding that aspect.

  • Bry

    Anderson has no business even expecting to have ‘the same fate’ as Jefferson. He’s a 2nd year #20 draft pick, who couldn’t crack a rotation even though it’s been mangled by injury. Richard Jefferson has been a perennial 20ppg scorer throughout much of his career, is always the starting small forward, and started for the Nets in the NBA finals. Anderson’s not even close to any of that. Dawson was playing against scrubs for a grand total of one game. Blair went up against Portland’s starters (although he was part of the unit that got absolutely destroyed). So, let’s not start calling Dawson the next savior just yet. Green is still learning out there. But, considering how badly the Spurs starters were embarrassed from the perimeter, they should ALL be shamed into working harder to get through screens and CLOSING OUT on shooters (especially when they obviously have the hot hand).

  • STIJL

     Point being Anderson is of the same mold as Jefferson.  I never claimed he was better or expected to be a 20ppg player at this stage of his career.

    Reality is Dawson put up decent numbers for never playing an nba game.  Blair having 2 and a half years to figure it out has regressed from his rookie season.  If an upward trend or holding his own were to manifest regarding Dawson…I’d say he would have a shot at taking some of Blair’s time on the court.  Especially if Dawson proves with time and a decent jumper to being a compliment to Duncan.  I know…don’t expect too much from a 5 year D-league vet who’s never been given time in the nba.  But…Blair’s play (regression at this time) isn’t much better than a D-league player being instituted so…it’ll be his to lose and not allow Dawson to compete.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I think he meant the out come will be different having Neal instead of Hill this year in the playoffs.

  • Titletown99030507d

    You think Pop cares?

  • Len

    I couldn’t care less about Pop giving this game away.  If he felt that Tim and Tony needed rest instead of killing themselves to lead an undermanned squad, than so be it.  

    I think the real story is Kawhi.  That guy can play,  He continues to impress the hell outta me.

  • http://radsci.uthscsa.edu/index.php/User:Nima Nima K.

    The NBA highlight from the Blazers game didnt even show a single play from the Spurs. Wow.

  • Titletown99030507d

    You think Manu will demand a double team at this point when he comes back? That’s to be seen.

  • Titletown99030507d

    True. We were cruising mighty fine (
    even without Manu  )  until Splitter went out. And as long as they all come back and are healthy and have at least 20 games before the playoffs start at full NBA speed there’s no reason why they can’t have the WCF.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Funny how last nights throw away game saw Anderson go to the rim more times than RJ has in 3 years. Too bad he missed most of them. He was trying too hard and desperately audition for another roster spot somewhere else. You would too if you knew that’s all that’s left. How do we know Pop just went up to him before the game and said “have at it and good luck”.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Maybe Dawson improves as he gets acquainted with the NBA sooner than most think. He can shoot from the outside and can box out like an NBA big should. Who knows.

  • DorieStreet

    To me it is a step in the right direction–for this season and beyond. Give Dawson meaningful time on the court to see if he belongs in some capacity for this team. Tiago out until the first full week of March–and you can be sure Pop will bring him back slowly. That will be a week before the trade deadline. I would want to add someone else to go along with Dawson (if he sticks). Even with his rejuvenized play this season, we can only expect Tim to finish this season and be effective for maybe one more (2012-13). Got to move ahead with plans for the future frontcourt–getting the Euro picks over hear (without the 3 years + wait), targeting young up and coming FAs in the league, while keeping an eye out for the good-to-great talent that play on the college campuses.

  • DorieStreet

    excuse typo –” ….over here….”

  • Kakashihatake105

    Spurs have great role players in Kawhi,
    Splitter, Blair, Neal and three All-stars in Duncan/Ginobli/Parker but
    they don’t have a Kobe/MJ/Lebron type superstar that most championship
    teams have. Duncan lost superstar status around 2007. Still an all-star
    caliber player but not the superstar he once was. I think after this
    year they need to sign some FAs. I mean Duncan’s coming off the books,
    Ginobli said he might retire, we can amnesty RJ and so if we sign some
    FAs we could be right up there next year with an even better shot at a
    title.

  • DorieStreet

    OK- I’ll give him that.
    Neal, Green and Splitter have stepped up this season to keep this team in the league upper echelon. Bonner’s shooting seems to be coming around (but Dude—we need it in the playoffs too!!). If  Toro vet Dawson can’t past muster. and no deal is made to bring in other help, Blair has got to clean up all the physical mistakes and bad decisions to play his best every game, no matter if the matchup favors him or not, or his time on the court.

  • Bentley

    There’s not much to show when you lose by 40.

  • DorieStreet

    Non-Spurs fans blogging on CBS Gametracker were right along with you. It was the first  look at Kawhi for many of them—and they effused praise at his game.

  • DorieStreet

    A  good thiing if that happened–making the most of a bad situation. Does this opportunity repeats itself during the last half of the season when 3-games-in-4 nights stretches appear again–or will he be gone before the trade deadline?

  • DorieStreet

    No. They must have did away with that discipline (Stern). If was still in effect. Pop would have considered it money well spent.

  • DorieStreet

    Makes sense to me. But last night was exactly the halfway point in games played this season (33).
    Spurs will have to walk a fine line employing this strategy. WC teams in spots 2-7 all went 6-4 or 7-3 in last 10 games. Road records are cliimbing back to even if they are not already over .500; and WC teams 1 thru 7 spots all have 5 home losses or less.

    Spurs go back to regular rotation when homestand starts in March. Bulls and Magic bookend 5 games they can win without Manu & Tiago.  28 wins, 13 losses after 41 games, perhaps?

  • STIJL

    My two cents.   Regarding past experiences of Spur players wanting to be traded…I’d say a good chance he is traded by deadline ONLY if the Spurs feel they would be getting something of equal value.  Which might not be a player per say but a draft pick.

    As far as playing before being traded (if traded)…I’m sure he’ll get playing time.  His numbers in the Portland game didn’t help his (or the Spurs) cause.  So look for him to get more opportunity to “showcase” but only if the Spurs have a game under control.

  • Len

    The Spurs are going to be players in FA this offseason and the following one.  But, true to form, nobody is talking about the Spurs making a run at any of the top tier FA’s.  It’ll be VERY interesting to see what RC has up his sleeve in the next couple years.  It’s time for him to step up to the plate and get it done.  We’ll see if he’s still on of the best GM’s around.

  • theghostofjh

    Dawson has NO prayer at taking minutes from Blair. NONE.

  • http://radsci.uthscsa.edu/index.php/User:Nima Nima K.

    I think there’s more to it than that. After such a long wining streak, the NBA finally notices, and they show the game on NBA TV. Then Pop decides to rest all his stars and give the NBA a finger.

    I’m not that worried by this particular loss. We started a D-league reserve backup as a PG. Did you really expect our 2nd-3rd unit to contest the match against the blazers?

    We shouldn’t even be counting this game in the L column. Pop deliberately treated the match as a practice session. And I agree with him. 3 games in 4 nights is just stupid. The league is trying to milk as much profit it can at the expense of the players, as a form of punishment for the lockout.

  • Hobson13

    I don’t want to read too much into a loss when our Top 4 players are in street clothes.  However, getting bombed by 40 is embarrassing.  Just looking at the highlights (I admit I didn’t watch the game) and box score, it appears that we had NO idea what to do on the defensive end especially on the perimeter.  I really question the value of this game for the youngsters considering many didn’t play well at all.  I’m not sure if it’s good to get experience if it could also mean hurting a player’s confidence.

    Can anyone tell me what happened with Anderson?  Was he just missing wide open shots or was he creating his own opportunities and the shots just weren’t going down?  He probably didn’t do much for his trade value with that performance even though we shouldn’t expect him to do much after not playing for so long. 

    I have a feeling that we may try to showcase his skills a bit more now that he is essentially trade bait.  As long as he doesn’t cost the team wins, I don’t see any reason not to play him 20 minutes a game and see what happens.

  • grego

    Leonard was solid. Even if that’s the only thing you get out of the game, it was an awesome thing to see. A practice against a real hungry team (after their bad loss to the Lakers)

  • grego

    Neal was horse poop in last post season. If you subtract his very clutch shot, he did nothing. He missed a lot of open 3pt shots ala Bonner. I’m not sure how anyone missed that, but he was just brutally bad last post season. I give him a pass due to being a rookie, but he did not step up. He actually looked like he took a step back. 

  • grego

    Maybe. Neal wasn’t good at all except for that clutch shot. If you erase that, his playoffs were equally as bad as RJ’s if not worse. 

  • grego

    Bonner’s shooting is coming around, but his shot looks quicker and with his off the dribble, he’s starting to make his odds better to keep spacing or at least hurt the team. that’s key.