“It’s only the preseason,” they say: Houston Rockets 101, San Antonio Spurs 87

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I know what you want to talk about. Kawhi Leonard didn’t look bad, and he certainly outplayed Richard Jefferson. James Anderson shot terribly (1-9), but that was easy to forgive because he got the shots he wanted and played with relentless confidence. Good marks for Anderson. And then there was the Cory Joseph preseason surprise.  Cory Joseph looked like a basketball player. A real one. NBA style. All positives from tonight’s loss. Those are the things we didn’t know.

This game, on the whole, was about the stuff we already knew.

The Spurs are deep in the backcourt. Parker, Ford, Ginobili, Neal, Anderson, and (perhaps) even Cory Joseph will form a solid rotation. The Spurs are green on the wing, but they have enough talent to compete, especially considering James Anderson and Danny Green can fill minutes behind Jefferson and Leonard. That’s not our biggest problem, anymore. The Spurs front court, on the other hand? That is a problem. It was all messy and sideways and embarrassing tonight, especially the interior defense.

Gregg Popovich started Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair together. We learned what most of us already expected. That isn’t going to work. Pop’s major halftime adjustment was starting Matt Bonner in the second half. Splitter and Blair did not play a single minute together in the second half.

DeJuan Blair led the team in points and rebounds, with 16 and 7 respectively. Which would be nice, but he also posted the team’s worst plus/minus (-19) and most turnovers (5). The Spurs were more competitive in the second half, and that’s when Blair gave his best minutes.

Splitter finished with 13 points and 3 rebounds. He posted a negative 2 plus/minus, but played very well in the second half. So both Blair and Splitter played well in the second half, but—as we just said—never together.

A quick glance at the Game Flows shows that the Spurs had three runs in this game, a 14-2 in the first quarter and third and forth quarter bursts of 17-4 and 9-1. Blair and Splitter only shared the court for a couple minutes of the first run. Otherwise, the most positive action of this game saw Blair or Splitter paired with either Bonner or Novak.

Why is it such a problem to pair they Blair and Splitter together? In short, neither can shoot anything outside the paint. Paired with a shooting big, both Blair and Splitter are each capable of hurting teams inside. But when they’re together, they’re constantly creeping into the space the other needs to be effective.

The front court issues are compounded by the fact that, outside of Tim Duncan, the Spurs’ interior defense is abysmal. The Spurs’ front court gave up 37 points and 18 rebounds to Luis Scola and Jordan Hill. Tiago Splitter is a competent defender, but it’s hard to pair him with Blair because of the all offense-centric reasons I’ve outlined above. Blair’s plus/minus in this game had everything to do with his defense. As part of his preseason preview, John Hollinger summarized Blair’s defensive abilities in this way:

Blair’s defensive stats are scary, and not in a good way. According to 82games.com, opposing power forwards lit him up for a 21.3 PER; at center, where he played more than a third of his minutes, it was 24.3. The Spurs gave up 3.06 points per 100 possessions more with Blair on the court, according to basketballvalue.com, and Synergy Stats weren’t too keen on his play either. Oddly, he led all power forwards in steals per minute, but that may have been part of the problem — too much reaching and not enough fundamental defense.

I haven’t calculated the one-game PERs of Hill or Scola tonight, but I bet those numbers are perfectly consistent with Hollinger’s synopsis.

Let me put this differently. Matt Bonner is a below average defensive player, but Bonner is a much better defender than Blair. Tim Duncan obviously improves the Spurs’ defense considerably. But what we saw tonight wasn’t any different than what we saw in the Spurs series against Memphis, it was just 7 months later and without our best defender. The Spurs’ interior defense is soft, porous, and utterly incapable of defending talented front courts. This isn’t going to change unless the Spurs make some sort of personnel change.

I know that’s a lot to extrapolate from one preseason game, but that’s not really what I’ve done. What I’m saying is this game showcased all the things we learned about last year’s Spurs. The personnel is the same, minus McDyess, who didn’t play very well last year anyway. Kawhi Leonard, James Anderson, and Cory Joseph are all fine young players. We suspected that before, and this game supported our suspicions.

But none of that matters unless the Spurs find a way to improve their interior defense. And we’re not there yet.

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

    One of my big concerns was the rebounding differential, particularly between the frontcourt. I mean, 56-38? I don’t think anyone, let alone Pop would be very happy with that number. It’s obvious how much everything on the defensive end sort of falls apart when we don’t have Timmy on the floor, and frankly, I don’t really think that what we have is going to work, some rotation of Blair, Splitter, Bonner, and Novak, obviously isn’t what to expect regularly, but still, outside of them we do only have McDyess and Timmy. I know Blair is supposed to be a rebounding machine, but frankly, his inability to defend hurts us because we don’t have the personnel to cover. We just need a scrappy rebounding/defending big. I don’t know who.

  • rj

    so…..any solutions?

    we can’t begin the regular season with the front court we are setting out. unless duncan has a “renaissance” year and splitter makes huge strides, we are in trouble.

    is fesenko still availible. hell, i would take mbenga…

  • Anonymous

    So, TD has never missed a major portion of the season… if he does this year, are the Spurs a lottery team?

  • spursfanbayarea

    The spurs need to trade blair and bonner to get someone who can at least defend the paint. We do not need an offensive pf or center since our backcourt and wing players are really strong. The weakness which was exposed in last years playoffs still remains unless we get another big. If we have to trade parker to do so, I would say it would be worth it. I would even propose a parker with expiring mcycess to the lakers for gasol. lakers are desperate to have a point guard and we are desperate for a pf. and now that gasol isnt happy since they attempted to trade him, we may have a slight chance of this trade. and the lakers would also get cap space from mcdyess retiring. we all know the lakers are trying to do something big and for them to solve their pg problem and have more cap space would be a win for them. unfortunatley that will probably turn into d.howard. but a frontcourt of gasol and duncan would be a dream for the spurs. 

  • JustinFL

    It seems the 3 most likely bigs to sign would be Fesenko, Pryzbilla, and Elson.  Fesenko has never averaged more than 9 minutes a game.  When I did see him play a few times last year I did like his game.  The safer bets would be Pryzbilla and Elson.  I’d be happy with any of those 3 at this point though.  Either way, Splitter will give us more than any of those guys this year IMO.

      My guess is Splitter and Duncan as our starting froncourt.  Duncan will likely average 26-28 minutes a game.  We should probably expect to see Leonard at the 4 too.  I am no fan of smallball, but considering our frontcourt I would have to agree with playing him at the 4, much more than RJ which made me cringe seeing that last year. 

      It’s a no brainer we have to keep RJ this season.  Question is, how much are we gonna get out of a guy who knows he’s gonna be gone next year and probably has very little locker room support.  We just have to hope he remains professional and gives us 100%.  On a lighter note, we do have alot of versatilty with our perimeter players.  If Leornard can handle the 4, we could pose some challenges for teams with so much perimeter play.  But that may be a Big IF, we’ll just have to wait and see. 

  • BALLHOG

    T. Varner,  Great thread.

    Front Court has been the problem for years.  Splitter is not the guy.  Even comming out with 13 and 3, he was a scrub.  His game is D Leauge level at best.  Blair is simply playing out of position.  No more center play for Blair.  Back up minutes at the 4, or trade him.  As for Bonner, he is a liability.  Spurs wont move forward until he is no longer in the rotation.  He changes the face of the team the minute he enters the game.

    Team nas a soft demeanor. Zero swag. Of course this is all Popovich’s doing.  Notorious for bringing in “YES MEN”.

    KIng Pop brings in players whom he feels that he can control and intimidate. 

     Regardless of what most of the diehard fanbase wants to think, this coach must go.  NBA Players absolutely do not want to play for Popovich.  Forunately, the players who have allowed him to keep his job are nearing the end of thier careersm minus TP, who will soon be in another uniform. 

    Spurs are being snubed by veteran free agents every single year now.  The recent snub by Carter, Williams, Butler, and Howard just further illustrates that point.  In addition to that, what type of basketball logic was utilized when the FO decided that those 4 guys were the players that we should persue in Free Agency this season?

    Our front court is nonexistent, and we sign TJ Ford?  .  Same problem….Who defends the teams with big guards?  (Wonder how Garret Temple is doing) What is even more frustrating is that we dont need a star big.  We simply need a decent big, with heart, hunger, and grit to man the middle.  Maybe un undfrated free agent from a small school, or a D Leauger with athleticism and upside.  The Spurs mid level money is more than enough to bring in a serviceable center and PF, even if a little bargain shopping is necessary.  Besides, if coach Pop is all that he thinks he is, there is no reason that he cant bring in new talent and get them into the roation immediately.  After all, now that Phil Jackson has stepped down, Isnt the Popster the NBA’s best?

    #*#&$ NO!

    Prime Example:  The Lakers lose Lamar Odom.  They immediately sign a more than serviceable Troy Murphy to fill the void.  Its not difficult to see the difference in a front office that wants a ring, and one that just wants that fat check, that $100 cigar, and that Benz parked in the attached garage.

    The 7th largest city in the USA deserves better!

  • manufan

    I agree.
    We need to get big, that is the reason for premature exit from the playoffs in recent years. We all know that and front office didn’t do anything about it. It looks like somebody got very ignorant. And why RJ still plays heavy minutes, even if it’s the preseason game? Leonard needs that minutes if we gonna develop him.

  • Thomasholdren

    Please try to write logically and without bias. The trash that comes off this site is embarrassing to Spurs fans. 

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    People’s opinions tend to have bias, that’s why they’re opinions. We’re not a newspaper, we have no responsibility to be objective. We calls it as we sees it.

  • Futureman

    Is a possible option trading Mcdyess’ unguaranteed contract as well as a draft pick and cash considerations for Ronny Turiaf? Turiaf isn’t a great offensive player but he is a solid defender who blocks the occasional shot.

    Hollinger’s analysis:

    • High-energy, injury-prone big man who blocks shots and hustles.• Decent midrange shooter and passer, but only shoots if left wide open.• Very poor rebounder. Undersized for a 5 and compensates with high foul rate.

    “Defensively, Turiaf was 10th among centers in blocks per minute and 15th in steals, but at a cost of a high foul rate (one every 7.13 minutes). The Knicks gave up 6.05 points per 100 minutes less with him on the floor last season; while that’s a bit of an outlier, he’s a strong plus-minus guy at the defensive end because he’ll guard pick-and-rolls and run around like a crazy person trying to block everything. He just can’t do this for extended minutes given the foul trouble and the manic pace he maintains.”

  • ZeusVizzle

    Boom Shaka Laka!

  • Titletown99030507d

    Dude its a preseason game no body is in game shape in regard to NBA skills let alone the gazillion days they have been without playing. As for we need a real big I don’t disagree but your wrong about Splitter he’s better than Bonnet or Blair. The way you benefit from Splitter is playing him long minutes so he can get in his groove that’s just the way it is for him. And when he d oes get in the groove you need to feed the bulldog when he rolls to the rim instead of making blair the focus of the offense. If you don’t its just waste of Splitter’s abilities. After all he was a major component of them coming within 2 late in the game, then they yanked him and put Blair in and well you know what happened. Have a little patience with Splitter he’s going to prove you wrong during the season. Again.

  • grego

    Blair is a much better offensive rebounder than defensive rebounder. That said he doesn’t box out very well which would help the Spurs at least defensive rebound. 

  • grego

    RJ’s year is pretty much a final year of contract year. If anything, this is going to be the year where he’s motivated so he has another job next year with a team willing to pay him more than the Vet Min. This is actually good for the Spurs. The better he plays, the more options he’ll have next year. 

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

    I like Turiaf, who I think, is on the Wizards, who have a weird frontcourt rotation of Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Yi Jianlian, and Hilton Armstrong, I dunno, but I think they’ll keep Turiaf. He’s solid, but I don’t know affordable, his game is fairly ideal for setting up next to Timmy and he blocks shots. That being said, he also doesn’t rebound excessively well, which I believe we need as well… That being said… of the FAs available I dunno who would be worthwhile…

    I don’t think we can get Dalembert, though I’m not as tentative on Dalembert as others, sure he’s something of a dud offensively but I can’t imagine him being much of a drop off from say Nazr Mohammed, and he’s better defensively, though not as much a stalwart as perhaps his stats would imply. It’s more I don’t think we can afford him, or get him at a price he’s worth.

    While people have mentioned people like Elson, Fesenko, and Pryzbilla, I’ll toss out two more names that I would maybe consider: Dampier and Ajinca.

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

    Actually, despite its size as a city, San Antonio remains a small market team, people don’t want to play here because they get no publicity playing here. You can’t really knock people for wanting to play for LA, because frankly, that’s how you get publicity. Don’t believe me? Look at the national TV schedules. Count the number of games the Lakers, Knicks, and Celtics get on TNT or ABC and then compare to the number the Spurs have. I’m pretty sure you know what the answer is. Sure Bonner is a defensive liability, so is Blair. We know our frontcourt has issues, and it’s been there for years, but it’s not quite as simple as saying “Let’s just jettison all the players we don’t want and sign someone useful.” 

    I think Splitter is still adjusting, he had limited minutes last year, limited minutes in ONE preseason game this year at the NBA level, I don’t know that he’s comfortable in the game yet, and frankly, I think we all established last year that Splitter wasn’t going to come in commanding a dominant 20 and 10 like Timmy did. You can blame Pop if you want, but he’s also responsible for the 4 championships that the Spurs have. You can argue he inherited the 1999 team, but he did build the 2003, 2005, and 2007 teams. I find his track record to be pretty good, considering he and Phil Jackson were the only Western Conference teams to win championships since the Jordan-era until last year.

  • Bushka

    Splitters not a scrub.  He is a solid fundamentally sound big who can rebound and play good positional defense.  He is fab oberto all over again.  We need a better front court rotation, regardless of weather they have “SWAG” or not.
    The fact that you think the lakers are thumbs up for signing Troy Murphy is hilarious.  We already have two Troy Murhpy style players in Bonner & Novak.  Murphy lived off inflated numbers playing 36 mins a night with a crap pacers team 3 years ago.  His D is rubbish.  Just rubbish.  Another stretch four for a team that already has 2 of them wont do jack.Splitters good cover right now as your first big off the bench, Duncan is good, Bonners fine for 10 mins per when needed…thats where it ends.  We dont have a starting quality big to pair with Tim.  But if you’d like to point out to all of us here where that player was meant to come from and why the front office is so stupid we’re all ears.Deandre jordan jsut got 11million a year….Tyson Chandler got 14.5 Million a year…Nene, Marc Gasol etc are all 12 to 15 mill per year….  Give us a name thats a good rebounder, great interior defender and has a solid passing post game and everyone will jump all over that stuff…Bigs get massive cash just for turning up.  You dont get them for the minimum and thats all we have to offer.  Yes men, Swag and other unmeasurable unimportant statistics dont come into it.

  • rj

    alright tim, andrew, 48moh guys, what do you guys think is the best solution for the spurs frontcourt issue?

  • TD BestEVER

    You couldn’t have been around last year…….We named like 10 BIG’s that fit that description……. Plus I can name one that Dallas just signed – Brandon Wright from Golden State would have been a GREAT Pick up for San Antonio. His youth and athleticism would have been great beside TD.  But stay tuned, I will have a list up sometime in the next 2 days or so for you

  • TD BestEVER

    The problem is Blair reaches WAY TOO MUCH ON D…….and Splitter doesn’t REBOUND OR BLOCK SHOTS…….. being sound fundamentally only gets you so far in this league unless it comes with some athleticism…… And He doesn’t have an offensive game really…….Blair Offense is still better than Splitter’s.   Blair just has more junk in the trunk to throw at Defenders…..

  • rj

    sorry to get all jim henderson on everybody here for multiple postings but here’s my thoughts:

    either the spurs are going to trade parker with youthful assests to acquire a big, or we are going to accept our position in the NBA pecking order as non contenders with a frontcourt of blair, bonner, duncan, splitter, and novak. we will concede into mediocrity and eventual lottery status which, in my opinion, isn’t a bad thing at all. duncan, ginobili and parker are no longer a contending trio and by not making splashy moves to stay relevent (rjeff), we are gearing ourselves up for the big comedown into rebuilding status. the goal is to stay relatively competitive in the waning years of duncan and ginobili’s career so these guys don’t spend their final years sitting out the post season and playing in front of empty crowds.

    i also agree with other posts that what we are looking for in terms of our frontcourt needs does not come cheap or even often. a defensive minded, shot blocking, rebounding big who can hit an open jumper is something evey NBA or professional team wants or needs.

    lets get mbenga or fesenko on the cheap and be done with it. either one of those guys will be more imposing then novak, blair, or bonner. let’s also avoid NBA purgatory like our friends the Houston Rockets.

    i have no life lol

  • TD BestEVER

    Neither does Splitter if you look at his rebounding numbers…….. 3 in 26 minutes….. against a small front court from Houston……. What we need is OUTSIDE HELP…… and to kick both of these guys in the ASS and tell them to get it together……. Then trade who ever fails to convert into a complete player 1st

  • Thomasholdren

    Blair’s inability to defend is greatly over-exaggerated. The stats take no consideration into help defense. For example, many times last year McDyess, and Bonner got blew past, If Blair goes to help and whomever got burnt does not get back into position, or rotation fails, then the score goes to Blair’s man, but in reality is not Blair’s fault…..

    ADDITIONALLY. 
    When Blair fronts the post it is the backside defenders job to either intercept the lob, or at least be in position to defend. Unfortunately this is not the case. Blair is our most aggressive defender. His instincts and skills have no statistical value, but due to those he is penalized in the statistical column. People who cite this are 1. Ignorant to help defense 2. Have limited basketball IQ. 

    In terms of PG play. If I was the pg and threw a pass to a wide open player that was mishandled due to poor hands, the PG gets the TO. People read the stat-line and say, “well this PG had 4 TOs so he isnt that good.” Simply having the stat without the context of the play is useless as well as ignorant. 

  • DorieStreet

    Is Pop ready to coach a team in transistion: one that will soon be devoid of a top 50 and/or top 60 player since he took over the position 15 seasons ago?

  • Thomasholdren

    The part about not needing an offensive PF or C is where anyone with basketball knowledge stopped listening to you…. Backcourt and wing players “really strong?”

    Enlighten me…. We have Manu…. Anyone else….. We have no scoring big, which means we have to run and gun. Unfortunately, it worked for the whole last year, then in the playoffs our really smart coach thought we were a team that could score at will from a controlled, half court set. BAFFLING…. 

    What needs to happen is this: Spurs need to run all year. We need to start our rookie in place of Jefferson. And dont make any moves unless it involves RJ, and Bonner. 

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    Varner is much better at coming up with hypothetical trades than I am. The only cheap free agent option I like is Kyrylo Fesenko, because of his significant size upgrade over the rest of the big man rotation. Varner likes Alexis Ajincia. The best option, though, is to deal Blair, McDyess’ contract and Bonner and/or RJ if possible. Blair and Splitter’s skillsets are too redundant in my opinion, and I didn’t see anything last night that tells me either did enough improvement to change that. Personally, I’d rather have Splitter than Blair if I had to choose. Not sure what a package containing those parts could net you, though.

  • http://twitter.com/blanchard48moh Jesse Blanchard

    John Hollinger appears to have many of the same thoughts, and his stuff is statistics, which lack bias. Numbers are numbers. The eye test backs it up too.

  • http://twitter.com/blanchard48moh Jesse Blanchard

    If we trade Tony Parker we come up with the problem of not having enough offense and wearing Ginobili down.

  • http://twitter.com/blanchard48moh Jesse Blanchard

    You have to bottom out eventually and hope you land the right players in the draft. This staff has proven that it can “not screw things up” once they get such a player, which is huge in the NBA. Ask Cleveland or New Orleans.

  • http://twitter.com/varner48MoH Timothy Varner

    I like Fesenko, but I don’t like him as a Spur. Popovich couldn’t pair him with Splitter or Blair either. Re-creates the same problem the Spurs have now. 

    I do like Ajinca. He’s not a great defender, though. He’s a 5th big stop gap. Why do I like him? He’s 7’2”, finally showed some shot blocking ability last season, can hit from 15′, and has flashed three point range. Still quite a bit of upside for a player three years deep into NBA experience. He can only demand a modest contract. If he’s a miss, he’s a miss the Spurs won’t feel. If he’s a hit, the Spurs will give themselves a cap advantage. 

    In terms of trades, the Spurs have about 24 hrs before the clock runs out on McDyess. I’ve not read any rumors in terms of trade partners. There are three scenarios I like, but only in the purely speculative trade machine kind of way. This is just fanboy whimsy:

    McDyess + Blair + a pick for Anderson Varejao.
    McDyess + Blair + a pick for Tyrus Thomas
    McDyess + a 2nd for Anthony Randolph 

  • http://twitter.com/varner48MoH Timothy Varner

    I like Fesenko, but I don’t like him as a Spur. Popovich couldn’t pair him with Splitter or Blair either. Re-creates the same problem the Spurs have now. 

    I do like Ajinca. He’s not a great defender, though. He’s a 5th big stop gap. Why do I like him? He’s 7’2”, finally showed some shot blocking ability last season, can hit from 15′, and has flashed three point range. Still quite a bit of upside for a player three years deep into NBA experience. He can only demand a modest contract. If he’s a miss, he’s a miss the Spurs won’t feel. If he’s a hit, the Spurs will give themselves a cap advantage. 

    In terms of trades, the Spurs have about 24 hrs before the clock runs out on McDyess. I’ve not read any rumors in terms of trade partners. There are three scenarios I like, but only in the purely speculative trade machine kind of way. This is just fanboy whimsy:

    McDyess + Blair + a pick for Anderson Varejao.
    McDyess + Blair + a pick for Tyrus Thomas
    McDyess + a 2nd for Anthony Randolph 

  • TD BestEVER

    But they haven’t proven that they can EVOLVE with the times…….. The NBA Passed us up a long time ago and we still haven’t made moves to close the gap…… And as far as not screwing up, that’s just saying “If we are lucky to get another franchise player, we will be successful again”.   Nobody wants to think of them selves as needing to win the lottery to be successful….. we should still be contending to get to the West Con Finals each year and the FO are the reason we are not………… Look at what Dallas is doing after they won it all…… They are gearing up for another title run AND looking to land a Big FA in 2012…… Why can’t we do things like that

  • NYC

    Because we don’t have Mark Cuban as an owner and the approach to basketball that he brings. To me, that’s a very good thing. I would have no interest in the Spurs franchise if they “competed” the way it’s done in Dallas.

    And when have we not been in contention for a WCF in the last 12 years? Being the number 1 seed makes you a contender regardless of when you are knocked out. 

  • TD BestEVER

    I would like to add some names to this list of players all with Good upside and most could use a fresh start…….

    Maresse Speights – 3 million – was on the trading block last year but the deals all fell through the cracks

    Jason Thompson or JJ Hickson – 3mil/2.5mil – The Kings have too many Bigs and playing time will be an issue at some point in time

    Timofey
    Mozgov – 2.7mil and very Athletic

  • Hobson13

    LOL!  Love the Jim Henderson reference.  However, I just don’t think Parker can fetch us much in terms of young bigs.  I’ve suggested for the past several years a number of Parker trades, but he is closing in the 30 years old.  He’s still a very good player, but how many more years (or months) does he have before that famous speed wanes?  IMO, once we didn’t trade him last year, we really crossed the Rubicon.  I don’t see Parker being traded and just don’t think he has adequate trade value at this point.

  • Hobson13

    Good post, TD.  I think all of these players besides Mozgov would be available for the right price.  Despite the Front Office’s short comings, we do have several decent young pieces.  I would love for a good athletic big like Thompson.  I still think that kid could be a 15/10 kind of player.

  • Anonymous

    This shouldn’t come as a surprise to any person who’s been following the Spurs the past 3 years.  This team’s interior presence is naught.  Even with TD in the game because he’s the ONLY interior big that can play defense and rebound but so often now can not perform consistently game in and out.

    Proposed trade:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=84jhzeo

    Not sure how this makes the team better defensively in the post…but it definitely would give the Spurs a better option than what they have now.  Wolves have Love, Beasley, Darko, Williams, Randolph and a rehabilitating Miller making it difficult for at least two of those players to get significant playing time.

    Maybe a hard sell to the Wolves…but they have a bevy of decent bigs and perimeter players and not a lot of playing time for all of them.  Jefferson…for what it’s worth in this deal… gives the Wolves a talent at the 3 which matches salaries for at least one season which they could always amnesty the next season if he didn’t work out.

  • JustinFL

    Cool.  I hope you’re right.  From what I undertand he’s gonna get paid anyway.  He still has a contract for the next few years we just get to take it off the books against the cap.  If I understand it correctly, whatever the highest bid for him after he’s amnestied gets subtracted from what’s left that he’s owed, and that’s what the Spurs have to pay. 

  • Bob

    I am not sure Scola and Hill would be dominating against TD and Splitter. That’s exactly why I think they need to start together. Your interior defense is as weak as it’s weakest link.

  • NYC

    Wait, wait, wait… I have to butt in here. You have got to be joking about Dampier, right?? Dampier hasn’t been good, or even respectable, for the past three years. Every time we played Dallas in the playoffs, Dampier was their Achilles heal, and his atrocious defense, in my eyes, was the single biggest contribution to our victory made by either team. Really. Parker, Ginobili, Hill, even RJ have a field day slashing to the hole whenever Dampier’s on the court. McDyess lights him up all day long. Our entire team gets going because of his presence. We must be thinking of totally different players….

  • Bob

    That’s why you have to communicate on defense. If Blair is going to gamble on defense he has to make sure the next guy knows to rotate over.

  • Bob

    I agree on not needing an offensive pf or center. The stats back it up. The Spurs can’t score more efficiently than being number 1 last season. The Spurs could however play much better defense.

  • Hobson13

    If Duncan goes down this year, I think the Spurs may be a .500 ballclub that can’t defend the paint and are forced to score 115ppg in order to win.  This means the Spurs are the Phoenix Suns/GS Warriors.  Don’t see Duncan going down, but if he does, I think our chances of even getting to the playoffs are an even 50/50.

  • Anonymous

    It wasn’t like there were a lot of quality bigs who were going to sign up with SA for the money the Spurs are limited to paying in free agency.  This team’s only hope for securing their post problem issues is via trade.  And if they can’t secure a decent defensive, athletic big via trade…they might as well stand pat with who they have regardless how unbearable it is to watch.

    At least they’re not overpaying players in that position on this team.

  • NYC

    That’s not correct. If RJ is gone next year, it will be through amnesty. If he is amnestied and another team picks him up off the waiver wire, which they will do if he is worth more than the vet minimum as you propose and which he is, then whatever salary they pay him, the Spurs will have to pay the difference to make up the money owed him on his current contract. No matter what the other team pays him, he will make the $12 million or so he is owed. No more, no less. Money and his contract will not be a motivating factor since it virtually cannot change from his perspective. 

  • andy

    don’t agree that the writing is trash, but let’s not pretend stats reflect the whole truth as well, especially with defense.

  • Anonymous

    Nice suggestions.  Out of those three the Varejo deal would be the best if it could happen.

    I’ve gone a little farther out on a limb and suggested Williams and Miller for Jefferson but think it would still work if McDyess were instituted instead of Jefferson.

  • TD BestEVER

    Not really….ANY real basketball fan(Not just SPURS fans) saw the writing on the wall last year and saw this team going out in flames early…… Not 1st round early, but we clearly weren’t in the top 4 teams from last year. 

    And I see nothing wrong with trying to improve your team……. SPURS seem only to want to improve internally or through the draft and have missed out on several chances to improve through trades. 

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

    I dont agree with those who are criticizing Splitter. I think he did pretty well in the 2nd half. I think he’s a very valuable asset for a player at 3.6M salary level. 

  • Anonymous

    Agreed.  But neither Splitter, Blair or Bonner are what the Spurs need regarding their post presence deficiencies.  One, maybe two out of those players would be fine if the Spurs had a stronger defensive post presence and out of those three I would prefer to keep Splitter.