On the Spurs, the 2011 NBA Draft, and solving for pattern

by

At the outset of the Spurs’ offseason, Gregg Popovich said the Spurs had two goals for the summer:

  1. to find a power forward to start next to Tim Duncan
  2. to re-become an elite defensive team next season

Hold onto that for a moment.

One of Wendell Berry’s seminal essays is called Solving for Pattern. Everyone should read it. It’s one of those deeply true because it exudes such plain common sense reads that would benefit just about any person. If you’re a snob, you won’t like it because it’s too obvious. If you’re a pragmatist, you won’t like it because it’s too demanding. But everyone else should love it, and they should read it twice.

Back when Isiah Thomas was ruining the Knicks, I secretly fantasized about a mob of angry New Yorkers belting him upside the head with rolled copies of Solving for Pattern, clinching it tightly in their fists, pleading for front office sanity with each wallop to the back of his head. Or, perhaps, paper air planing loose leafs of Solving for Pattern from the cheap seats into the coach’s huddle during timeouts. New Yorker’s are connoisseurs of every exotic variety of tough love. They could have pulled it off.

Solving for Pattern is about pig farming.

The essay makes this argument: solutions are not really solutions unless they positively impact every aspect of the whole. The point of solutions, rightly understood, are to promote the health of the system. Good solutions are rare, and bad solutions are entirely too common. Bad solutions typically take one of two forms.

The first kind of bad solution is bad because it introduces new problems elsewhere. That is, while a solution may work for its immediate fix, it creates new problem(s) in a different part of the complex.

The second kind of bad solution is bad because it immediately worsens the thing it’s trying to improve.

These two types of solutions often work together. Think of Isiah Thomas fixing his roster of unproductive, overpaid players by surrounding them with more unproductive, overpaid players.

Bad solutions never really solve anything. Bad solutions only compound problems.

Here’s the skinny on good and bad solutions, straight from Berry:

A bad solution is bad, then, because it acts destructively upon the larger patterns in which it is contained. It acts destructively upon those patterns, most likely, because it is formed in ignorance or disregard of them. A bad solution solves for a single purpose or goal, such as increased production. And it is typical of such solutions that they achieve stupendous increases in production at exorbitant biological and social costs.

A good solution is good because it is in harmony with those larger patterns and this harmony will, I think, be found to have a nature of analogy. A bad solution acts within the larger pattern the way a disease or addiction acts within the body. A good solution acts within the larger pattern the way a healthy organ acts within the body…The health of organ and organism is the same, just as the health of organism and ecosystem is the same. And these structures of organ, organism, and ecosystem — as John Todd has so ably understood — belong to a series of analogical integrities that begins with the organelle and ends with the biosphere.

Smart thinkers solve for pattern. Smart thinkers intuitively understand the relationship between all the parts. Basketball teams can be thought of in terms of organ, organism, and ecosystem. Great general managers are always about the business of solving for pattern, of relating player to team and team to franchise. Solving for pattern is what a coach does when he finally determines his team’s best rotations. And so forth and so on.

I spend entirely too much time thinking about what makes the San Antonio Spurs so consistently brilliant. I think about their court performance. I think about their front office performance. I think about how indistinguishable those two parts of their system (“the program”) are from one another. The Spurs are always already thinking in terms of the health of the organ, organism, and the ecosystem. Think of the Spurs’ insistence that their players fit a certain culture. That they be “Spurs”. The Spurs, in other words, think analogically in terms of organ and ecosystem, they relate player to culture.

But they make mistakes. And when they make mistakes, the entire system feels it.

The biggest mistake the Spurs have made is trading for Richard Jefferson. And the theme of their offseason, to this point, is to creatively fix many of the problems he’s introduced.

The Spurs spent the days leading up to the draft looking at Tony Parker trade offers. But make no mistake. The Spurs weren’t trying to trade Tony Parker so much as they were exploring whether Tony Parker was the necessary trade piece to move Richard Jefferson out of town. Mike Monroe saw the situation for exactly what it was:

Reports that the Spurs were discussing deals involving the three-time All-Star and MVP of the 2007 NBA Finals weren’t fiction. But the talks were initiated by teams that had a sense the Spurs were in a mood to blow up their core after the disappointment of the first-round elimination in Memphis.

According to insiders from a team that inquired, each team that called heard the same message from general manager R.C. Buford: Make your best offer, but understand we won’t consider a deal unless Richard Jefferson is part of it.

The talks usually ended there, and when draft night ended Thursday, Parker remained a Spur.

Richard Jefferson is a problem. He’s overpaid. He under-performs. His contract threatens to cripple the Spurs under a more restrictive, cap-tight CBA. Jefferson is a mediocre defender but the Spurs need a wing stopper — the only thing RJ’s defense has put a stop to is Gregg Popovich’s long suffering, patient, and tender disposition.

RJ is, in hindsight, a bad solution. He didn’t improve the thing he was meant to fix: wing production; Bruce Bowen was 10x the basketball player RJ is, box scores be damned! — and his presence has created new problems that didn’t exist prior to his arrival. He’s an organ that is polluting the organism.

Yesterday the Spurs traded George Hill. At first, I didn’t see what R.C. Buford was up to. George Hill was, after all, San Antonio’s best perimeter defender. Why move him when the team has made it a goal to improve defensively? But after a night’s reflection, it’s easy to see that Buford’s design is to solve for pattern.

John Hollinger did a fantastic job explaining the (good) solutions the George Hill trade introduces to the Spurs’ system:

In a stellar trade that showed how they’re always a step ahead of everyone else, the Spurs sent guard George Hill to Indiana for the rights to the 15th pick (Kawhi Leonard), the rights to the 42nd pick (Davis Bertans), and the rights to European Erazem Lorbek.

On paper, trading an established rotation player for the 15th pick in a weak draft seems like a reckless gamble, but there’s a key difference between George Hill and Kawhi Leonard: their paychecks.

Hill will be a restricted free agent after the coming season, and the Spurs looked at their books and made a decision that they couldn’t pay two point guards (Hill and the equally widely shopped Tony Parker) — especially while they were also paying Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Richard Jefferson and looking at a more restrictive post-lockout salary cap environment.

Leonard, meanwhile, will be on a rookie contract for the next four years, providing the Spurs with a very reasonably paid but (likely) productive player to offset the millions they’re paying declining assets like Duncan.

So Hill goes now, before the Spurs have any drama over whether to extend him or risk losing him in restricted free agency next summer. San Antonio keeps its cap situation somewhat under control, and can plug James Anderson, Gary Neal, rookie Cory Joseph and whatever veteran backup point guard they sign into Hill’s former minutes without losing much in the backcourt.

Meanwhile, Leonard fills a more glaring need — a combo forward who can help them match up when opponents go small. This has been an Achilles heel of the Spurs for years, and presuming Leonard can play, he solves the problem.

The Spurs have plenty of work ahead of them. For example, they need find that power forward Gregg Popovich wants, and it won’t be easy. But last night’s trade made them better. It introduced a pattern of improving health to San Antonio immediate and long term future.

  • Lvmainman

    Corey Joseph averaged 3.0 assists a game playing 32 minutes a game with 2 NBA players drafted ahead of him in Thompson and Hamilton.

    Clearly he’s not that adept at being a PG.

  • Bob

    I agree not having James Anderson really hurt them defensively because of those small ball lineups. Trading Hill opens the spot up for Neal and allows Kawhi or Anderson to take Hill’s spot. Neal’s a better shooter and playmaker than Hill plus he has more size.

  • Bob

    The one thing the Spurs might miss about Hill was that he was kryptonite against the Mavs. He was able to lock up Jason Terry and their other guards and he could score at will against them.

  • Gary NAIL

    I love the site, Varner’s work in particular, but I have to take issue with this statement:
    “I spend entirely too much time thinking about what makes the San Antonio Spurs so consistently brilliant.”

    It’s easy, and rather scary, to pick out the causes:

    Poppovich signed.
    Tim Duncan drafted number 1.
    Manu Ginobili drafted second to last pick
    Tony Parker drafted 27th (if memory serves)

    Sure, they’ve been very crafty in filling in the other spots, your Bowen, your Oberto, Kurt Thomas, etc., but many other teams manage to do that comparably well. But they’ve been great because they got one of the best number one picks of all time (who happened to be a legit 7-footer), and two of the best out of nowhere picks ever (Gino in particular is clearly the best ever pick by spot in the draft).

    Two of their three best players over the last 10 years have been very clever late picks, and I think that other FOs have picked up their scouting game, such that the Spurs aren’t going to be able to pick another Ginobili again, and it worries me.

  • DorieStreet

    Outstanding work by the Spurs last night. Swung for the fences -the efforts to jump into the top 7 or higher draft position and trade Richard Jefferson– but still hit an RBI triple. With one move, addressed SF with a high quality pick and potenially added depth for now and the future at PG, although others feel there were better options at that point -other PG or another player at diffferent position.
    As for Davis Bertrans and Adam Henga—will research them on sites such as RealGM.com. for assesments and accomplishments. But honestly, I cannot get excited over them until they ink a contract bordered in Silver And Black and show up in Las Vegas next summer…or 2013…or 2014…

    My draft grade for the Spurs = B+

  • grego

    Or Danny Green or De’Sean Butler. Spurs definitely have potential at the 6’6 to 6’7 wings now. 

  • grego

    A lot of those other teams were influenced by Spurs guys. Heck, OKC has arguably just as strong a front office due to Presti. 

  • grego

    To be honest, I think the Spurs have enough guys to replace that with time. 

  • DorieStreet

    If reports/stories are true, the FO did try to jump into the top 7 or higher plus unload RJ but SAC and /or TOR nixed the offer(s), so they wen to plan B. It’s a good beginning.

    I don’t think any of us thought all that ills the Spurs was going to be addressed and corrected in one early summer evening. 

    With the CBA deadline approaching  and several league stars making that public solidarity stand before and after the labor talks session in NYC, it might be a moot point to do any moves now (although any prudent move that moves Jefferson & Bonner before  midnight June 30th will make the masses happy even if there’s no basketball come late October.

  • DorieStreet

    As the Hollinger review in Varner’s piece stated–Spurs have been dearth at the SF position with regards to a slashing, create his own shot type since Sean Elliott. Brent Barry at times did the job on the offensive end when the Spurs ballhawked on defense to get steals to run & gun with Brent finishing at the rim.
    Bruce was the opposite- emphasis on negating the opponents premeir SF/3.

    Hopefully a deal gets him somewhere else (I’m sure he’s leaning toward that too).

  • grego

    Since, RC’s son was on the team with Joesph, that probably helps them feel more confident about him, despite Texas guys not transferring to the NBA as well at the guard position. From everything out there, he does sound like a good pick up though. 

  • quincyscott

    Yes, but he was a freshman.  The front office saw a lot of him this season, and they apparently feel he has the ability to improve.  Remember, our backup point guard has been George Hill, who didn’t even play the point in college, as far as I know.  Joseph is a similar size to Hill, is a good defender, and because he has point guard experience at UT, he may have a smaller learning curve than George did.

  • quincyscott

    Yes, but he was a freshman.  The front office saw a lot of him this season, and they apparently feel he has the ability to improve.  Remember, our backup point guard has been George Hill, who didn’t even play the point in college, as far as I know.  Joseph is a similar size to Hill, is a good defender, and because he has point guard experience at UT, he may have a smaller learning curve than George did.

  • quincyscott

    Yes, but he was a freshman.  The front office saw a lot of him this season, and they apparently feel he has the ability to improve.  Remember, our backup point guard has been George Hill, who didn’t even play the point in college, as far as I know.  Joseph is a similar size to Hill, is a good defender, and because he has point guard experience at UT, he may have a smaller learning curve than George did.

  • grego

    If Spurs could get a higher draft pick spot, they would have taken it. Hill is good, but overrated to some degree. Good player, but he probably regressed more than improved this past season. Doesn’t exactly help his trade value. I’m sure Blair’s was going up until his last few months, for instance. 

    Georgie is a 2, but so is Neal and Manu. There’s no room, when he can’t play the 1 (due to his lack of passing) or 3 position (due to size). 

  • grego

    Oh and there’s still time to trade RJ, but moving TP isn’t that good an idea unless you for sure get a PG back. You are trading a star. All the rumored deals were lousy considering the level of the draft picks in a less starry draft. Good role players, but no real stars aside from maybe your top 2. 

  • DorieStreet

    Pop going to have to put them out on the floor and let them go at it;
    Decent minutes on a regular basis throughout games–no repeats of  Tiago in 2010-11 –out of 60 regular games played, he had 8 where he played between 5-10 minutes, and 20 where he logged less than 5 per. That nearly half the games.

  • badger

    Good point about Anderson.  However, I’d be surprised to see Anderson be a better shooter than Neal.  If he’s even close, that’s a good problem to have.  Still, Neal’s shooting ability will guarantee him some playing time, and his ability to shoot off the dribble was perhaps the biggest surprise to see last season.  I haven’t seen enough healthy Anderson minutes to know what we have to work with.

    As an aside, I’m guessing Pop wants Leonard to become a defensive specialist, something RJ will never be.  I bet he misses Bowen, a lot!

  • DorieStreet

    Michaell Wilbon of ESPN said as much in this article about foreign players cracking the top ten in last nights draft:  http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/commentary/news/story?page=wilbon-110624

    “No way, standing now and going forward, will a player the caliber of France’s Tony Parker last until the end of the first round, or Argentina’s Manu Ginobili for that matter last until late in the second round.”

    An ode to the Spurs on being ahead of the curve a dozen years ago.

     Similar to Gil Brandt and Tom Landry, who did intense, mass scouting during the season because the draft used to be held in February instead of April–they got a jump on most of the NFL. They also would bring in scores of unsigned college players for training camp. Cowboys would work out a 100+ players
     for a that period, trying to find that one player or two who would had the potential to make the final roster. Other teams picked up on it and did the same until the league restricted training camp numbers a few years later.

  • DorieStreet

    Another post-draft analysis that gives kudos to the Spurs work–last night, and duriing previous seasons:

    http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22748484/30222316

  • Pablo

    the Spurs have done the best with what they have to work with- limited resources, difficulty attracting starter quality players in free agency (role players are a different story because they love the opportunity to play with Duncan, Parker, and Manu), and low draft picks.  no one could have predicted RJ not living up to expectations, but they took a chance that was worth it. he’s overpaid now, yes, but he’s still a good player.  the Spurs thought that with another perimeter player they could be in contention again.  that was the problem- what we needed (and still do) is a POST PLAYER.  now we have even less resources to find that post player.  our guards and small forward depth is good to great.  i don’t think we’ll find another franchise post player, without having horrible seasons (meaning high draft picks), but our guards/wings with two solid post players [think Pistons’ Wallace brothers; Garnett (older version) & Perkins; Webber & Divac; Larry Johnson & Camby; and i can’t think of others] can do damage.  i don’t want to annoint Splitter but i’m sure hoping he’ll be Robin to Duncan.  and if he is, we still need a third big (aside from Blair & Bonner) for this coming year. 

    yes, draft was a job well done, but there is still work to do for UPCOMING season.  one of the following are on my wish list… Marc Gasol, Robin Lopez, Samuel Dalembert, Kenyon Martin, or one of Jazz bigs’ surplus (Favors would be perfect- but who knows what they’re asking for and if they’re smart they’ll keep Favors & Kanter and trade Jefferson- who some have suggested, but he’s too expensive). 

    in summary, we still need a big man. 

  • DorieStreet

    With that dispatch of our Spurs and that 7-game wc semis tilt with the Thunder, the Memphis Grizzlies have exited NBA purgatory and arrived, and I see them doing all things possible to remain good and get better. Pablo (and other fans wanting Pau’s big little brother) – read this article:

    http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22748484/30222316

    There may be one or two teams able to make a run at getting Marc–but the Spurs ain’t one of them; I refer you to the first statement in your post

    Dalembert–I liked him when he first got into the league. But from his best season (’07-’08) when he put up 10 pts/ 10 reb / 2.3 bks per, his production has slowly, but steadily, declined each year.
    His first year with SAC – 8pts, 8 rebs, 1,5 blks which are close to his career averages.
    Upside–Dalembert is durable. Played every game (started all but two) his last 4 years in Philly plus and continued that ironman-like effort in SAC (80 games, 46 starts).
    BUT–at 13.4 million a year, he’s paid money as if he performed like Tim Duncan in his prime, but his career stats are worse than what a an aged Duncan put up this year. Surely Tiago can do that next season. Let’s get his (reportedly unhappy) teammate Jason Thompson @ 2 million per and pair him with Spiltter so they can grow and become a monster twin-tower tandem.

    Lopez–you’ve seen his numbers after 3 seasons? Pass.
    Martin- 16 mill per/ games played last 3 seasons: 66 to 58, down to 48.
    Utah bigs===Jazz will try to make Favors and Kanter work/ Okur getting injured more ala Martin/
    Do we bring back Franciso Elson to San Antonio—that might work.

  • Lvmainman

    Interesting video from another poster that I think everyone should see. Leonard at least seems to want to improve his game.

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=6698155&categoryid=2378529

  • Hobson13

    I agree 100%.  We need to man up and face the reality that over the past two summers, we are in rebuild mode.  It’s no time to leave the young guys on the bench.  Play ‘em hard, Pop!

  • Pablo

    Dalembert is a free agent.  sell him on the opportunity in SA. 

    Gasol- yes, he’s unlikely to come here, but he’s worth pursuing.

    Martin- is also a free agent and won’t command no where near last year’s salary.  Tyson Chandler was coming off injury plagued seasons too and look what he did.  Martin is actually a solid option.  he’s tough (not durable) and would know his role. 

    Lopez- would be easier to acquire and is still young. Jermaine O’Neal and Zach Randolph are examples of two bigmen who didn’t fully develop until later in their careers and still played for many years.  Lopez has size, can play defense, AND might be expendable since Suns have Gortat

  • TD BestEVER

    I agree……….These are the players who we should be after to improve our front court at a reasonable cost……. meaning we can get them for less than 3million………..which if we want to we can scrape up enough cheap assets and picks to make it happen…………

    1st Minnesota just drafted another PF…..they already have like 4 on the roster………
    Willams
    Love
    Beasley
    Randolph

    The last 2 have to be on the trading block……..Just have to come up with a good offer

    Michael Beasley – 22 6/10 can shoot and rebound….plays the 3 or 4…… Can be the best player on a good playoff team……getting better each year…… Only 5million – MLE

    Randolph – 21 6/11 A poor man’s version of Beasley….. He can play the 3/4 and has range out to 21ft – Can become another Chris Bosh……Only 2million

    2nd Kings still have more talent than they can possibly play in a single game……Most notable

    Jason Thompson – 24 6/11 – long arms and Dice like Range on jumpshot – has had an up and down career so far…..has not been happy with role/minutes on Sac……. perfect situation to steal away an unhappy player

    3rd Denver – yes The fruits on the Carmelo trade mean that Denver has WAYYYYYYYYY too many 4/5’s on the roster and they all want minutes……look at this list of 4 and 5 men

    Al Harrington
    Kosta Koufos
    Timofey Mosgov
    Kenyon Martin
    Nene Halario
    Danilo Gallinari
    Wilson Chandler
    Chris “Birdman” Anderson
    Melvin Ely

    They have to let go of about half of those guys……. especially with Chandler/Galo both capable of playing PF and played some PF this year……

    Guys most likely to leave are…..

    Anderson
    Harrington
    Martin
    Ely

    But that Still leaves either on the trading block…..they are both young Centers and both want to play……. but with Nene eating up all the Center minutes it leaves an odd man out…….

    Koufos – 22, 7ft, 265 – BANGER……. will only get better – 1.3 million

    Masgov – 24, 7/1, 250 – Athletic for his size – Nice post game – again will only get better with minutes…… 3.5million

    Surprise Pick up that’s out there

    76ers

    Marreese Speights – 23 6/10 255 – athletic and talented – fell out of favor with Doug Collins and the young 6er team – was on the block last year around the trade deadline but the deal fell thru late with Portland…..

    That’s the list so far but stay tuned

  • TD BestEVER

    I agree……….These are the players who we should be after to improve our front court at a reasonable cost……. meaning we can get them for less than 3million………..which if we want to we can scrape up enough cheap assets and picks to make it happen…………

    1st Minnesota just drafted another PF…..they already have like 4 on the roster………
    Willams
    Love
    Beasley
    Randolph

    The last 2 have to be on the trading block……..Just have to come up with a good offer

    Michael Beasley – 22 6/10 can shoot and rebound….plays the 3 or 4…… Can be the best player on a good playoff team……getting better each year…… Only 5million – MLE

    Randolph – 21 6/11 A poor man’s version of Beasley….. He can play the 3/4 and has range out to 21ft – Can become another Chris Bosh……Only 2million

    2nd Kings still have more talent than they can possibly play in a single game……Most notable

    Jason Thompson – 24 6/11 – long arms and Dice like Range on jumpshot – has had an up and down career so far…..has not been happy with role/minutes on Sac……. perfect situation to steal away an unhappy player

    3rd Denver – yes The fruits on the Carmelo trade mean that Denver has WAYYYYYYYYY too many 4/5’s on the roster and they all want minutes……look at this list of 4 and 5 men

    Al Harrington
    Kosta Koufos
    Timofey Mosgov
    Kenyon Martin
    Nene Halario
    Danilo Gallinari
    Wilson Chandler
    Chris “Birdman” Anderson
    Melvin Ely

    They have to let go of about half of those guys……. especially with Chandler/Galo both capable of playing PF and played some PF this year……

    Guys most likely to leave are…..

    Anderson
    Harrington
    Martin
    Ely

    But that Still leaves either on the trading block…..they are both young Centers and both want to play……. but with Nene eating up all the Center minutes it leaves an odd man out…….

    Koufos – 22, 7ft, 265 – BANGER……. will only get better – 1.3 million

    Masgov – 24, 7/1, 250 – Athletic for his size – Nice post game – again will only get better with minutes…… 3.5million

    Surprise Pick up that’s out there

    76ers

    Marreese Speights – 23 6/10 255 – athletic and talented – fell out of favor with Doug Collins and the young 6er team – was on the block last year around the trade deadline but the deal fell thru late with Portland…..

    That’s the list so far but stay tuned

  • Pablo

    like everybody else i’ve been throwing PF/C names around hoping one would stick and make sense.  i have my ideal fits, but there are issues with all of them (Kaman, Dalembert, Marc Gasol, Oden, Robin Lopez, and Nene)- from not tradeable, will command too much money or won’t address need (apparently Lopez won’t cut it). 

    i’d like to throw one more name out there… Andrew Bogut.  yes, he’s under contract and is a hard to come by center, but the Bucks are going no where and have drafted young PFs last two drafts.  i am not saying he’s available, but i would call and ask what it would take.  we don’t have the pieces to offer (cap relief and draft picks), but it would be good to know what he could be had for. 

    if he’s potentially available we’d need to find a team willing to take on RJ, include McDyess’ expiring contract, and 2012 draft picks. i would even consider adding Tiago…. oh well, not realistic, but he’d be a good center to pursue (even though he slighted me in Houston during 2006 all-star weekend).  if he did land with Spurs i’d quickly forget and buy his jersey. 

  • TD BestEVER

    There are some reports that Bogut was being shopped…..kinda like Parker was…… Bucks were just seeing what kind of offers they could get……..

    Oden would be great if he is willing to take a NON-guaranteed contract……..Or one that pays out the big bucks if he plays in 70% of games in a year……. there has to be some type of injury clause in the Contract………

  • badger

    You hate Tony Parker, just admit it.  Or, you don’t hate him, you just think he sucks.  Fact is, Parker is one of the best scoring PG’s in the league, and overall, he’s still a better PG than 20-25 teams put on the floor night in and night out.  His defense is avg., his quickness is still at an elite level, and he can score in several ways.  He usually doesn’t turn the ball over, and when healthy, which has been most of his career, he is a threat to get in the lane and disrupt even the best defenses.  

    I don’t think the FO wanted to unload TP, they simply wanted to offer up both TP and Hill, and then after seeing what they could get in return, they made their decision accordingly.  Even the lottery picks are often less successful in the NBA than TP has been, and if memory serves, TP was an absolute steal at 27 or 28 in the 1st round, at age 19.  What more does the guy need to prove?  Especially to you?

  • TD BestEVER

    The ability to run a team and make players around him BETTER………… that takes passing……which isn’t his strength………when he does run the floor he looks to finish at the rim more than set up other players………If you watch the playoffs, you don’t need great scoring PG’s to win in this league……. but you do need Defense and a Post presence……. with TD’s age we are lacking at both right now……and you and others won’t get over your MAN CRUSH of the little Frenchmen……..

    With the exception of Rose/Westbrook……. TP was the 3rd best PG tp make the playoffs last year………and look what good that did………. we would be better with a Darren Collison/Mike Conley and and one of the 3million or under Bigs I mention above…….. that’s the point you guys don’t get…..I want to win….not fall in love…….

  • grego

    Injuries really hurt the progress of Tiago and Anderson. I mean Anderson was coming out playing big minutes. Then he was gone. Tiago started late, then got injured right before the rodeo. It’s tough to gain rythm that way. 

  • Sam

    Oden wouldn’t be great under any circumstance. Right when I was thinking about changing my mind about the Spurs signing Oden I saw this.

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2011/06/16/how-long-can-blazers-wait-on-oden/

    He’s probably not coming back until January.

  • DorieStreet

    I remember Martin as a Net when they were in the finals BTB vs. LAL and Spurs. He and Stephen Jackson had the same court demeanor–once they got ticked off, it was hard to get them to refocus. But he has matured since then.

    Speaking of Jermaine O’Neal–why can Spurs bring Ryan Richards over and put him in for 11 minutes per just like POR did O’Neal in the late 90’s. Does he have as much potential as Lopez? 

  • DorieStreet

    You stated you are not thrilled with the Leonard acqusition but it is a step in the right direction. But it has to be followed up with the signing of a PF.

    I watched the PHI/MIA series; 76ers gave SouthBeach all they could handle but Speights played in just 1st 2 games for 20 minutes total. He and SAC’s Thompson are players that need a fresh start on a new team.
    I think many fans- here and around the league–put too much stock in the “small market curse/albatross” thing. There are players out there that aren’t just satisfied with making it to the NBA; they want to play and win–and help get a team to the top. They just need to be contacted and pursued.

  • DorieStreet

    Oden needs to step back and let his body recover from the surgeries and get stronger.
    Get back on the court next summer, then aim toward hitting the court January 2013.
    He will only be 25. But he will have a better chance to resurrect his career by leaving POR.
    Leave the emotional baggage, mental anguish, and the relentless presssure behind and start somplace fresh–with that injury clause in place you speak about,,,,

  • DorieStreet

    TYPO–I meant ‘rest from now (except for cardiovascular/fitness work) until summer of 2012, then get back in the gym to practice/improve & refine his game. Suit up under the lights January 2013 with a new team.

  • Rob

    Nice link.  Thanks.

    It’s what I’ve been saying since the Spurs drafted him and looked more into his numbers.  The kid has only been playing basketball for 5 years.  Started playing team ball when a sophomore in high school.  With the gifts he already possesses and training from the top trainers in the world, his ceiling of growth and potential is boundless at this point.

  • Spursfan

    good decision all around. I hated to have him go but the spurs truly do need a small forward

  • Bentley

    Nene, please want to come and join your Brazilian brother Tiago in San Antonio. Please?

  • Michael Erler

    While I agree that getting rid of and replacing Richard Jefferson is the Spurs biggest need, I can’t in good conscience agree to the theory that the franchise was committed to the move because Jefferson was a bigger negative than Parker was an asset. That doesn’t make any sense. That’s just plugging one hole (SF) with a new one (PG). On some level, the front office signaled that they wouldn’t terribly mind moving on without Tony. Maybe they were put off by the Erin Barry situation, maybe it was his playoff performance, maybe it was his comments to the French media. Or a combination of all three. But hating RJ more than loving Tony isn’t a reason to get rid of RJ. It tells me they were pretty lukewarm on Tony too.

  • DorieStreet

    Plus the young man has experienced real life tragedy: nearly 3 1/2 years ago, his father was murdered at his place of business (case still unsolved). Leonard has stated his work ethic comes from seeing his father strive to make his business a success. He is going to do all he can to emulate his father.

  • DorieStreet

    You are correct IMO:  combination of all three; comments -before & after this past season re Spurs’ championship window=45%;  playoff performance=45%; and I give the Barry situation 10% for the fact his relationship did get franchise ink in the celebrity culture of the NBA (FO didn’t care but a lot of fans do) and scandal-free image of franchise is a badge worn proudly.
    Franchise was committed to moving RJ but they set iit up in combo with getting a top 7 pick or higher.
    Trading Tony along with RJ  to SAC and/or TOR was plan A: doing the trade with IND could have been either plan B -let’s go this way because TP+RJ fell through OR —deal with the Pacers was plan A!–it would have been done anyway.

  • Tim in Surrey

    I think a better way to put it is this: If reports are true, Sacramento and Toronto called the Spurs and asked if they would trade Tony Parker for a high lottery pick and one or more players. The Spurs insisted that they take Jefferson as well or no deal and that was a deal-breaker for both teams. Each team then subsequently leaked the phone call to the media in order to drive up the value of the pick they were offering. 

    Besides… “If reports are true”? Are they always?

  • Tim in Surrey

    Just so you know… Beasley’s official measurements from the NBA draft combine list him as 6’7″ in bare feet and 6’8.25″ in shoes. I think you were confused by the perpetual wreath of pot smoke rising from his head, which makes him look like he’s 6’10″…

  • Tim in Surrey

    I’d give up on Speights. I’ve been watching him since he was at Florida. He’s very similar to Randolph, actually, in that he’s very gifted but just doesn’t actually care about basketball. I’m not sure what the opposite of a gym rat is, but he’s one of them. Gym squirrel? Gym fish? That’s it, he’s a gym fish. He’s about as much in his natural element in the gym as a fish out of water.

  • Tim in Surrey

    DraftExpress also had a fairly long video of him working out at Joe Abunassar’s camp, which you can find here:

    http://www.draftexpress.com/article/West-Coast-Workout-Swing-Part-One-Joe-Abunassars-Impact-Basketball-3703/

    My comment elsewhere about James Worthy came from the part where he’s practicing a spin move into a finger roll (around 2 minutes into it). 

    Anyway, it’s hard to tell much from videos like these. The best thing to do is to go back and watch some San Diego State games and project what he’ll be like with an improved jump shot. It’s not hard to find their games because (as everyone seems to have forgotten) he elevated the Aztecs from a decent mid-major program to a top five power this year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/narenrgarg Naren Garg

    great article.. if only more teams took an ecosystem approach to team building.. the whole is more than just the sum of its parts

  • Travischristal

    Tiago Splitter is that vaunted defensive big man

  • Rob

    With the 15th pick in the 2011 nba draft…Indiana selects Kawhi Leonard…(SF) from SDSU.   In hindsight of this….one might of scratched their head at the time wondering why the Pacers selected a SF when their team already has 2 quality SF playing for them.  AHHH…several picks later it is mentioned Indiana trades their pick to S.A. for George Hill.

    This discussion between both teams took place long before the event actually happened.  I would dare say with more emphasis on happening than the Parker trade rumors.