Richard Jefferson and San Antonio Spurs: It was just a break

by

Richard Jefferson is returning to San Antonio for 2010-2011. Please control your excitement.

Most of the time, when there’s a sequel, it sucks. It’s usually a half-assed attempt to capitalize on a previous edition for cheap.

In hopefully-unrelated news, Richard Jefferson will re-sign the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

After a rough first season in the silver and black, in which flashes of what Spurs fans expected when the team acquired Jefferson were few and far between, Jefferson surprisingly opted out of the final year of his contract. That final year would’ve paid Jefferson $15 million.

Defending his move, Jefferson said publicly that he was looking for long-term security as opposed to a quick payday.

Many frustrated Spurs fans were initially excited at the prospect of ridding themselves of Jefferson. But hours after the news of the swingman opting out, reports were already surfacing of Jefferson’s return to the Spurs, albeit at a more cap-friendly (and some would say, more deserving) price.

And though it took longer than people were expecting, RJ is indeed returning to the silver and black. Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but should be released later this week. Either way, it shouldn’t be anywhere in the neighborhood of the salary that was left on the table.

This should comes as a relief to San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt who won’t have to pay the difference in salary or the luxury tax payments that would go along with Jefferson’s abandoned $15 million, which had San Antonio far and away over the salary cap.

Defenders of Jefferson’s have been beating the drum that players are more comfortable in their second season in Gregg Popovich’s system. And of all the things Jefferson was this past season, comfortable was not one of them. Luckily for Spurs fans, Jefferson has reportedly spend the summer in San Antonio working with Coach Pop on the finer points of the system, adapting his game to fit the team’s.

In the end, after the Spurs were able to at long last bring Tiago Splitter over from Spain, and after re-signing the sandwich hunter, there were few free agent small forwards left on the market that the Spurs could afford. And with the Spurs holding Jefferson’s bird rights, it was tough to find a better option for the Spurs than RJ.

Former Ticket 760 radio host Peter Burns might have summed it up best on Tuesday afternoon when he tweeted that, in effect, the San Antonio Spurs “refinanced” Jefferson.

Enjoy year two of Richard Jefferson and his shoulder tattoo.

  • Casey

    Just out of curiousity, why do the Spurs hold RJ’s Bird rights but the Orlando Magic did not hold Matt Barnes Bird rights? Yes I know, unrelated but I just want to get a grasp on the contract stuff.

  • El Ganzo

    For some reason I imagine a lot more pick-n-rolls or high screens specifically for RJ to attack the rim. I loved the few plays last year where he just said “f it” and would drive hard to the rim; there were a couple spectacular dunks and attempts. RJ should be more consistent this year on the defensive end because it is a well known fact the defensive scheme of the Spurs is harder to learn than their offensive sets. I was not on the ” RJ a bust ” bandwagon because clearly the man had to adjust to a new team and city. Not so easy to go from Jersey to SA. Year two, and there are no excuses, RJ will produce.

  • doggydogworld

    @ChillFan and Will – add up everyone’s PPG last year and it comes to 128.7, much more than Icewater’s 116. Perhaps you should do a little math yourself before ridiculing others.

    @Lvmainman – your salary numbers are wrong. Tim, Tony, Manu are 44.3m. RJ @ 7m plus McDyess, Splitter and Bonner put us at 63m. Anderson at 1.3m plus 5 ‘youngsters’ at 0.8m each gets us to 68m+. It’s simply not possible to add Stephen Jackson’s 8m+ to the current roster and stay under the cap. Assuming Jack was even available for RMJ/Fin/Ian, which is pure speculation on your part.

  • Tyler

    @ Casey

    Good question. Straight from wikipedia: “To qualify as a Bird free agent, a player must have played three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent. This means a player can obtain “Bird rights” by playing under three one-year contracts, a single contract of at least three years, or any combination thereof.”

    Barnes hasn’t played with Orlando for 3 consecutive seasons (signed as a FA last summer), so he wouldn’t have any Bird rights.

  • doggydogworld

    @Casey, Bird rights generally travel with you when you are traded, as RJ was. Barnes signed with Orland last summer as a free agent, so he’d need to play there two more years before they had full Bird rights.

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

    @Casey @Tyler

    Also, when a player is traded, the team he is traded to inherits their Bird rights. So when the Bucks traded Jefferson to San Antonio, the Spurs took over his Bird rights from Milwaukee, even though he’s only spent one season in SA.

  • Tyler

    @ El Ganzo

    I agree that we should probably run a little more offense through RJ, especially early in the game, just to get him involved. He always seemed to play well when he hit his first shot.

    However, RJ’s not very good in the pick and roll as the ballhandler. Decision making with the ball in his hands isn’t one of his strengths, as opposed to Manu or TP in that situation.

    If I were to guess, I think we’ll a lot of curled downscreens which should allow RJ to get the ball moving toward the basket. RJ needs to be active and constantly moving, as opposed to floating around on the perimeter. He needs to receive the ball in scoring position, where all he has to do is go up and finish – no thinking, just finish. That’s his greatest strength. Simplify the game for him. Last year, he was thinking too much, and even when he did make the right play, he was hesitant.

    An underrated aspect of the RJ resigning is that the coaching staff (and teamates for that matter)should be much more familiar with RJ and knowing when, where and how to get him the ball. I expect RJ to be utilized much more effectively.

  • rj

    welcome back, koopa

    i like the idea of taking a low risk in acquiring adam morrison. the guy shot lights out in college and would be in a position to restablish himself as a legit NBA player on a team in which he has less expectations and responsibilities. i recall im lighting bruce bowen up for 27 back in 07′.

    if adam morrison can crack the rotation as a low cost shooter, than would certanily be another triump for our FO

    no if he would only shave that onri moustache…

  • BV

    Not too thrilled with this signing. Jefferson’s play has really slipped the last 2 years. Hop they’re not paying him more than mid-level dollars…

  • Bryan

    If manu Timmy and Tony can get there 18ppg and 15 ppg repectively, Hill is gonna come in and add about 13 ppg All we need is 12-14 ppg from RJ. Which he can easily do. I am excited about this. Especially with 1 full season and another off season under Pop.

  • Chris

    RJ is a better rebounder than people give him credit for, and he will learn where to pick his spots offensively. My major complaint with him was on defense – too many times he was out of position, or caught flat footed. This is correctable, though (i.e. – working with Pop this summer is GREAT news)! Physically, he has all the tools to be the player the Spurs need. Mentally, jury’s still out there. I predict RJ the Sequel will be a better experience than the 1st. Spurs have quietly had an excellent offseason. If healthy, we are the only team with a realistic shot of beating the Lakers.

  • Dr. Who

    Dr. Who thinks DaveMan needs to stop talking about himself in 3rd person… :) In other news, I think some people get it and others don’t get it. Pop’s system is a bit complicated, but it’s not something that takes a year to grasp. Temple’s IQ must be off the charts. Seems harder to step in at a PG role in such a complicated system. He seemed right at home in the Spurs string theory meets quantum mechanics system. RJ’s biggest problem was that he was a player that wrecked havok on the break getting to ball handed to him by Kidd. He thrived in the open court… asking him to be a spot up jump shooter and hit a corner 3 was not a good fit at all. What really messed the Spurs up was RJ hitting his best 3pt % of his career prior to joining the Spurs. Thoughts of Sean running the floor, finishing, spotting up for a corner 3 and playing suffocating D must have swirled around Pop’s head. They sure did mine when we signed RJ. He’s not that player though. He can finish and run the floor, which we didn’t do much of last year.

    Also his heart is very much a large question on the floor. Was Bowen the most gifted athlete to wear the silver and black… not even close. I’d reserve that for #5-0. Can’t think of another 7′ center that could walk in a handstand across the floor (Dave was a feak of nature) but I digress. Defense is an attitude and as much about heart as it is about technique. No one would ever question Bruce, Timmy or Manu’s heart; RJ is not in that category. Bruce would rip your heart out and show it to you while ninja kicking you in the face. RJ doesn’t even have a small portion of that defensive nastiness in his veins. He is talented and athletic no doubt; heart of a champion… not really. There were a lot of blank stares and almost whining expressions when he’d miss a rotation (which he did very often). He’s got to grow a sack for one and he’s got to be able to play his game without pressing. Maybe that inflated contract off his back will help him relax some and just play. But where will the fire come from? Blair seems to have a nastiness about him (and talent for ripping arms off), Hill has a bit of that intensity but RJ??? He’s about as scary and imposing on the defensive end as his tattoo; not really much to be afraid of on the court. Maybe something rubs off from the others this summer? Doubtful… but he can still contribute. I wouldn’t expect a metamorphasis as far as RJ goes. I think he’ll score a bit more and continue to pick up good amounts of boards for a SF, we saw signs of that last year, but defensively he’ll be more or less the same and he won’t be draining the corner 3. By stepping in 5 feet from the corner 3 spot that will clog the lane. We saw it in the playoffs last year. It’s up to Pop and Co. to figure out a way around that. Maybe Pop designs some of the system to allow RJ free range where he can finish and not have to think, spot up shoot or handle the ball (P&R situtaions). That will surely help his game offensively. But if we still force him into a corner 3 spot up shooter, expect more of the same from RJ. If we make him a pick and pop guy that won’t help either. It’s a good move to get rid of the bad contract, he’s better than any other SF we could have signed with the remaining MLE or LLE. But I wouldn’t expect to see a huge change in his game. I do wish Bowen could come in and teach a defensive bootcamp for a month at Fort Hood. It wouldn’t hurt.

  • bduran

    Dr. Who,

    “Temple’s IQ must be off the charts. Seems harder to step in at a PG role in such a complicated system.”

    I’m think Temple has potential, but let’s not jump the gun here. As a point guard he wasn’t great, luckily he played with Manu. In 15 minutes he average .9 assists and .8 TOs. Not good. Not exactly fitting in immediately type numbers. Really, the only thing he did well for us is shoot the 3.

    “But I wouldn’t expect to see a huge change in his game.”

    You’re probably right, but I read something interesting in Dave Berri’s book “Stumbling on Wins”. In it he says that about 66% of NBA coaches have no effect on WP48. Meaning, players tend to play with the same WP48 they joined the team with. His point being that in general coaching doesn’t have much of an effect on player productivity. Of course, that means that 33% have at least a little effect. The top two are Phil Jackson and our very own Pop. So we can always hope that Pop spending the summer working out RJ has a noticeable positive effect.

  • Ken

    Here’s a thought, let’s see what the team looks like after they actually play a little bit next year before we shoot everything down and complain about what did and didn’t happen!

  • DieHardSpur

    I am glad to have him back.

    A starting 5 something like this:

    Duncan
    Splitter
    Jefferson
    Ginobli
    Parker

    And a bench of:

    McDyess/Bonner
    Blair
    Hairston/Gee
    Temple/Anderson
    Hill

    I think our starting 5 is as good as any starting 5 in the league. Hopefully we can keep Timmy and Manu’s minutes down during the regular season. I expect to see alot more Bonner in the regular season, only to be replaced by McDyess in the playoffs.

    As far as Jefferson is concerned; I am happy with his production from last season. I believe, that as the 4th option, he did a good job. What i really hope to gain is him having 12-13 points – EVERY GAME. He is an efficient scorer when he is trying to score.

    WRITE THIS PART DOWN:

    Tony Parker has a career year this year. With all the money being passed around (for average players) in this market, he will be looking for a MAX contract, and rightfully so. This is a contract year for him, whether witht he SPURS or someone else – he will be BALLIN out of his mind.

  • Eric

    Why did you put quotes on “It was just a break”? I like this blog a lot – but the way you set it up makes it look like you are attributing that quote to Richard Jefferson. This is both inaccurate and sloppy. Don’t get trashy like other blogs and put words in people’s mouths please. I like this one more than that.

  • Firebrand

    Tony Parker……… hmmm hasn’t lost a step, still a great scorer still has his shooting touch, was beaten up all last year, still in the front end of his career. Yep I agree with DieHardSpur all the way Tony is going to be our leading scorer this year. I am thinking Tony will get somewhere between 18 and 21 ppg . With him driving to the basket defenses will collapse opening up the perimeter for R.J. and Matty B. from 3 (yes I realize that rhymed) as well as a long two from T.D. or Dice or even judging by what I have seen on youtube T-splitt. I am not worried about the Spurs being able to score the ball….I am worried about the defense. One thing in our favor is youth. We have young guys with fresh legs that should be able to stay in front of people and run the floor with the best of them but, we do not have a dominant stopper in the interior (Timmy is gettin to be like Big D at the end of his career) and no one that I feel confidant to lock the other teams leading scorer down. D wins championships I do not see us being a more dominant defensive force than the lakers so unless someone (Dallas) knocks them out in the playoffs before we have to face them …IDK.

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

    @Eric

    Good call. It seems logical that he could’ve said that when he actually didn’t. And while that wasn’t the goal, it’s too close for comfort.

  • Jacob

    @Eric
    it wasn’t in quotes, not a quote… There was nothing about the headline that inferred a direct quote at all. Nobody put any words in anyone elses mouth (that sounds dirty) but even if they did, would it really matter at the end of the day?

    This is still just a blog about basketball…. relax and have a good time.

  • Jacob

    Eric,

    my bad, the quotes must have been removed after the fact. No wonder I thought you were crazy.

  • Firebrand

    Am I wrong to automatically assume that the Lakers and only the Lakers are a serious threat out west . I mean EVERY other team in the west looks weaker than last year well all the top teams with the exception of Dallas who pretty much stayed the same, the Lakers who got even better with some depth at the point and us . I look at the East and my god its going to be hell beating whoever comes out of there in a 7 game series . You got the Miami “sick of getting beat” who in my opinion is third best out there then there is a reloaded Bulls team I would put at 4th .I remember the magic are still a force to be reckoned with and of course the team I think of as the east cost Spurs the Celtics I think either one of these two could be top in the east . I would take anyone of these four teams against any team out west with the exception of the Lakers and Spurs. Maybe i’m just crazy.

  • Dr. Who

    @bduran

    I think my wording was a bit off on Temple. I wasn’t claiming him to be the second coming. The main point was that he came in with little to no knowledge of the Spurs uber complicated system and didnt’ seem to miss many defensive rotations; and was able to contribute. The kid shows promise but it’ll be a while before we can say how good he’ll be. RJ was still missing rotations during the playoffs after a full season. I think there are things the Spurs can do to help RJ a bit offensively but defensively is the bigger challenge.

    @Ken
    And what fun would that be? Are we supposed to watch baseball and not talk about our Spurs till the season starts? Seriously… baseball? Y-u-c-k! All kidding aside we can’t complain about what did or didn’t happen and if you read my post I really wasn’t. It sucks that we’re stuck with Bonner and RJ with long term contracts instead of Bosh and Lebron, but we weren’t going to get those guys.
    We entered the offseason having several needs and RJ opting out. We needed, 3pt shooting, a new SF, athletic wing defender and another big. We only had the MLE, LLE and the draft to do all of this with. So we pick up a promising rook that may be a 3pt shooter, sign a Red Headed, sandwich luvin’, playoff flameout, PER monster, 3 pt shooter for a little below market value (look up the contract of other 6’11” guys Darko and Drew Gooden come to mind) and we signed the best possible SF on the market in RJ right now to a better contract taking some of the “distaster” and “bust” label off of his signing last year. Hopefully it’s only a 4 year deal with the 4th being a team option. Signing Tiago with less than the MLE in this current market was utterly amazing. It was really the best the FO could do with what they had to address our needs. Is it “sexy” and cool. Nope, it’s resigning RJ and Bonner. But bringing Tiago over sure is nice. We missed out on Raja Bell and that hurt. On paper he was what we needed in a defender who shot over 40% 3’s. But we didn’t have a chance for Bell. He was looking for a paycheck and the Spurs didn’t have enough. Can’t fault the FO for that. Plus Bell hasn’t played since his injury, who konws how his body will hold up? Can’t fault the FO for much of anything this offseason unless you’re a delusional Shaq fan and thought he was the difference maker. We still have more time this offseason but no real big splash will be made with what little we have to offer. We still have holes and we still have RJ and Bonner, but it’s the best we could do given the situation. Dunno about you, but typing/reading this was about 100 times more fun that watching the Rangers or heaven forbid the DisAstros. Keep posting guys! We’ll keep reading. :) :) :) (that’s right… a triple smiley!)

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

    @Jacob

    Yeah, the quotes were removed after Eric’s comment.

    Perks of the blogging age, we can correct errors even after publication. Although we like to not have them to begin with.

  • TheRed&Black

    DieHardSpur,

    But this leaves the question. Will Tony play for himself or the team? Will he trust the young guys, or especially RJ. Last year I always got the feeling that Tony did not like to play with RJ. How many times last year did you see TP completely ignore an open RJ.

  • DieHardSpur

    @THEREDANDBLACK

    It doesnt matter at the PG position who he is playing for – you get the same results.

    TP is an efficient scorer, I think we can put that argument aside.

    In this day and age – to be a TOP 5 PG(to command top dollar), you have to have 20pts and 10 ast, or as close to that as you can get(Tony knows this).With that being said, Steve Nash is the only guy in the league that averaged that last year. Tony’s numbers (while not being a ‘pass first’ pointguard) are still an 18 and 7.

    If Tony pushes like he did in the playoffs year before last, he will be around 22 and 8ish… That definitely helps the SPURS organization. more assists and more points from the PG position.

    These are the numbers I see Tony putting up this year. If he can stay healthy he should put up 20-8.

  • Jim Henderson

    Tyler
    July 21st, 2010 at 6:11 am

    “If I were to guess, I think we’ll a lot of curled downscreens which should allow RJ to get the ball moving toward the basket. RJ needs to be active and constantly moving, as opposed to floating around on the perimeter. He needs to receive the ball in scoring position, where all he has to do is go up and finish – no thinking, just finish. That’s his greatest strength. Simplify the game for him. Last year, he was thinking too much, and even when he did make the right play, he was hesitant.”

    Well put. I think that’s an accurate assessment.

    Chris
    July 21st, 2010 at 8:12 am

    “If healthy, we are the only team with a realistic shot of beating the Lakers.”

    I’d take a good hard look at the Rockets if I were you.

    Firebrand
    July 21st, 2010 at 10:43 am

    “I mean EVERY other team in the west looks weaker than last year well all the top teams with the exception of Dallas who pretty much stayed the same, the Lakers who got even better with some depth at the point and us .”

    Can you please take a closer look at Houston. As with us, if healthy, they are a very deep & talented team.

    “You got the Miami “sick of getting beat” who in my opinion is third best out there then there is a reloaded Bulls team I would put at 4th .”

    Where are you putting finalist Boston, and semi-finalist Orlando? And again, Houston, where are they?

    Brooks, Lowery
    Martin, Budinger
    Ariza, Battier
    Scola, Patterson
    Yao, B. Miller

    That’s a VERY strong team.

  • Hobson13

    It’s official. RJ is back. Sure wish they would have the contract details.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5398896

  • Sam

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/422484-the-san-antonio-spurs-dynasty-the-end-of-an-era

    the writer of this article is obviously horrible at analyzing teams because he thinks the spurs roster will stay the same for 4 years.

  • Jacob

    “Brooks, Lowery
    Martin, Budinger
    Ariza, Battier
    Scola, Patterson
    Yao, B. Miller

    That’s a VERY strong team.”

    I’ll believe it when I see it. I think the Rockets finish somewhere around 6th in the West, but I dont see how they overcome LA. Care to enlighten me?

  • Jim Henderson

    DieHardSpur
    July 21st, 2010 at 11:37 am

    “In this day and age – to be a TOP 5 PG(to command top dollar), you have to have 20pts and 10 ast, or as close to that as you can get(Tony knows this).With that being said, Steve Nash is the only guy in the league that averaged that last year. Tony’s numbers (while not being a ‘pass first’ pointguard) are still an 18 and 7.

    If Tony pushes like he did in the playoffs year before last, he will be around 22 and 8ish… That definitely helps the SPURS organization. more assists and more points from the PG position.

    These are the numbers I see Tony putting up this year. If he can stay healthy he should put up 20-8.”

    I know that you’re main point here is that you expect Tony to be healthy, and have one of his best years, being that it’s a contract year. That said, you’re point would hold more water if you would resist the temptation to inflate numbers/projections.

    Number one, Steve Nash did not average 20+ ppg. & 10+ apg. last year. In fact, he’s NEVER averaged 2o & 10 during his entire career, including his two MVP seasons. Last year he was at 16.5 ppg., & 11.1 apg. NO player averaged 20 ppg. & 10+ apg. last year. The closest was Deron Williams, and the injury plagued Chris Paul. 18 & 10 appears to be more realistic for the very top point guards.

    Number two, TP’s numbers are not “18 ppg. & 7 apg.” His career averages are 16.6 pg. & 5.6 apg. His best years were the 4 years prior to last year, where he averaged about 18.5 ppg. & 6 apg. Also, it’s a big stretch to suggest that TP would have a realistic shot at getting to “22 ppg. & 8ish apg.” this year, since the best he’s EVER done in 9 seasons was 22.0 ppg. & 6.9 apg. (the only time ever above 20 ppg.), and that was without Manu for half the season, without RJ, and without the emergence of Hill. As a result, even “20 ppg. & 8 apg.” is a BIG stretch for this year.

    That said, we don’t even need/want 20 ppg. & 8 apg. out of TP for us to be successful. The Spurs don’t require their PG’s to dominate the “passing” offense for the team. TP is more of a scorer, and passing is expected to be more evenly distributed among all the players than it is for most teams.

    Thus, if we get 18 ppg. & 6.0 apg. from TP that would be PLENTY. We just need him to pick up the intensity with the rest of his game, and play a quality leadership role. If the rest of the team does the same, then we offer ourselves a chance to compete in the playoffs.

  • DieHardSpur

    Jim –

    When referencing TP’s numbers,

    “If Tony pushes like he did in the playoffs year before last, he will be around 22 and 8ish… ”

    With the kind of money being thrown around this offseason – look for tony to have the best numbers he has ever had (’08-“09 playoffs). He will be looking for a max contract and need to play his best; he has proven what he can do when healthy and wanting/having to produce.

    I dont know why you feel you must validate everyones comments Jimmy boy…

  • rob

    Jim Henderson
    “We could use a guy that’s done it before at the NBA level in the playoffs if we want our best chance to compete with the elite teams during Duncan’s window.”

    Regarding a 3-point shooter. I heard the sixers might be looking to get rid of Jason Kapono.

    His defense isn’t the best. But put into the right mix of players on this team, Kapono could be a good pick up for the Spurs as an insurance and proven NBA 3 point shooter.

  • Eric

    @ Andrew (& Jacob):

    Thanks – I just want to keep it as accurate as possible! This blog does a better job than most for keeping reports accurate and credible. Just trying to help keep it that way!

  • Jim Henderson

    Jacob
    July 21st, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    “Care to enlighten me?”

    Sure. A brief assessment of the match-ups:

    Yao/Bynum – edge Rockets
    Gasol/Scola – edge Lakers
    Artest/Battier – toss-up
    Brooks/Fisher – edge Rockets
    Bryant/Martin – edge Lakers

    Second team:

    Miller/Mbenga – edge Rockets
    Odom/Patterson – edge Lakers
    Ariza/Walton – edge Rockets
    Budinger/Vujacic – edge Rockets
    Blake/Lowery – edge Lakers

    5 edges to Rockets
    4 edges to Lakers
    1 toss-up

    You’re enlightened!

    If you care to argue the assessment, pull out the stats, as a necessary component to back-up your argument, or don’t even bother making the argument. It’d be a waste of everyone’s time.

  • rj

    i expect tony to have an excellent year. i hope that the additions of splitter, anderson and the evolution of dejuan blair and george hill would be a good incentive for tony parker stick around and be the leader of this new and promising spurs team.

    i agree with jim that the rockets are primed to contend with l.a., but much like us with timmy, adleman has to find regular season rest for YAO. can’t wait to see that monster back on the floor.

    does anyone have any suggestions or anything at all on our search for another wing?
    i still like the idea of signing cletus….i mean adam morrison

  • rj

    and what the hell is up with dallas. haywood, chandler, mahinmi, some other guy, and possibly kaman?

    is mark puban their gm? i have no idea what they are thinking…..but who cares….

  • Jim Henderson

    DieHardSpur
    July 21st, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    “I dont know why you feel you must validate everyones comments Jimmy boy…”

    My comment had nothing to do with “validating” yours or anybody else’s comments. It has EVERYTHING to do with trying to keep information/stats on here as accurate as possible when trying to make a point. My post simply pointed out that the stats that you used were either inaccurate, misleading, or both. And that is a fact. Steve Nash did not “average 20 & 10 last year”. Right?!

    DieHard boy, why can’t you just accept the fact that you got a little loose with the numbers, and doing that really doesn’t help to keep things “real” around here. It’s nothing personal, but if people try their best to make credible comments by using actual documented stats, for example, it preserves this blog as a useful source for engaging in analysis, as opposed to the countless blogs that have readers that just want to shoot their mouth off.

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

    @ Eric

    Of course. I definitely appreciate readers taking pride in the content we put out there and calling us out when it’s absolutely necessary.

  • SAJKinBigD

    @ Dr. Who – Have you seen how good this Rangers team is (I’m assuming you mean the Texas team not the NY one)? I’ve done it before, but I’m all-in with this team! I actually haven’t minded the temperatures out at the Convection Oven called the Ballpark as much because they’re seriously entertaining, never out of a game and WINNING!
    I will completely agree about the Astros, however. Sucks for their fans – that and the fact McClane won’t trade the few pieces he has at a fair market value to get something going for their future. Hoser.

    Anyway, on topic: Glad to have RJ back, actually. I’m hoping the time he put in with Pop pays dividends in his confidence with the scheme this year. I think the FO has done a pretty solid job with the options they had. I am intrigued by the possibility of Adam Morrison (did I hear correctly that he finally got rid of that thing on his face?). If the game were to finally click for him he’d be a very nice piece.

    As happy as I am with the Rangers progress, and the fact that the Cowboys start Training Camp this weekend, I really cannot wait for this NBA season to see where this team can go!

  • Jim Henderson

    rob
    July 21st, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    “Regarding a 3-point shooter. I heard the sixers might be looking to get rid of Jason Kapono.

    His defense isn’t the best. But put into the right mix of players on this team, Kapono could be a good pick up for the Spurs as an insurance and proven NBA 3 point shooter.”

    Yeah, the following is what I said on a previous thread/post on this topic:

    Jim Henderson
    July 20th, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    “Rumor has it that Philly is open to trading Kapono (http://www.prosportsdaily.com/comments/sixers-open-to-moving-kapono-389686.html). They’re too top-heavy at the wing, and Kapono’s got one year left at 6.6 mil. per. Plus, I think Philly, under Doug Collin’s, is looking to be a running team that has the versatile athletes necessary to create turnovers & burn opponents in the open-court/transition game. Kapono does not fit that style, and the fast pace would merely accentuate his weaknesses defensively.

    I suggest that we make Philly the following offer:

    McDyess (or Bonner, if they’d want to assume his 4-year contract!) & Gee for Kapono, and then sign Amundson with our 2.4 mil. MLE.

    Parker, Hill
    Manu, Anderson
    RJ, Kapono, Hairston
    Duncan, Blair, Bonner
    Splitter, Amundson

    Temple

    Amundson would help us defensively, and Kapono is about the best shooter we could possible get to back-up RJ (#1 active career 3-point shooter (44%), 54% in two playoff appearances, and is deadly in spot-ups), and could give us some firepower & floor-spacing off the bench for about 15-17 mpg.”

    I don’t know if Philly would bite on such a deal (although Gee is a young prospect that fits their emerging style, & Dice provides veteran depth on their front line), but it might be worth offering in my view.

  • Jim Henderson

    As it stands right now, predicted seedings in the West:

    Lakers
    Rockets
    Blazers
    Mavs
    Spurs
    Nuggets
    OKC
    Jazz

    8th seed dark horse’s:

    Suns
    Grizzlies
    Kings
    Clippers

  • http://www.espn.com Matt

    i really do like rj just not as a spot up shooter which so many people can agree with yet i really want to wonder what would have happened had we not signed rj last summer and had been one of the teams with cap space to lure a big name free agent. yes the spurs are not a big market franchise yet they are the only small market with more than 2 championships. i do wonder why a big name would turn us down as well. yes we do have td who is getting older yet still has more than few years in the tank. tp will get his big payday next summer from the SPURS and we re-signed manu. who would not have wanted to come especially with george hill, dejuan blair and tiago splitter just starting to make names for themselves?

  • bduran

    Jim,

    I think your overrating the rockets. They just weren’t very good last year. They won 42 games and had a negative point and efficiency differential (consistent with winning 39-40 games). So they were about average.

    So what are they adding? Here’s your projected roster.

    ““Brooks, Lowery
    Martin, Budinger
    Ariza, Battier
    Scola, Patterson
    Yao, B. Miller”

    Yao Ming is of course excellent and I’m willing to assume for the purposes of this discussion that he’s healthy for most of the season (obviously if he’s not the rockets are in trouble again). He probably brings them to 50 wins. They also gained Brad Miller and Patrick Patterson. Patterson is an untested rookie so I have no idea how good he will be. In general players are below average their rookie year. Brad Miller has been a good player throughout his career, but suffered a sharp decline last year dropping a lot in both shooting efficiency and rebounding.

    They are also getting a full year of Kevin Martin who is a good player and should rebound from last year. However, they are also losing the minutes they got from Landry and Hayes so this may balance out. To me this is a 50 win team. They get a big improvement from adding Yao, and not much else.

  • Jacob

    @ Jim

    I’m not sure that the whole Rockets / Lakers thing is something that I would even want to go to stats on… not that I dont value stats, its just not an debate I would care to get too deep into. I guess if you look at it like that, sure, they look like they have a shot, but we both know it’s not a straight numbers / statistics game, it’s a basketball game and anything can happen. They won’t line up against each other 1-13 respectively, 16th century british army style, and mathematically cancel each other out according to their statistical value.

    I guess what I’m really trying to say is that I have a really hard time envisioning the Rockets doing anything to the Lakers in a playoff series. I know about their past success in ’09, and I recognize their potential to be good, but putting it together is a different animal, and thats’s something they have had a really, really hard time trying to do. I’m also not saying that you’re wrong in your estimation, but I’m not saying that I think you’re right either. Like I said, I’ll have to see it to believe it. On Paper, both Dallas and the Spurs looked like western conference finals contenders last year, that didnt happen either.

    BTW, on a side note, completely unrelated to hoops, I thought that I would mention to you that sometimes the way you write comes off as being sort of arrogant or condescending. I doubt it is your intention, but just so you know, making comments at the end of a post like ” … as a necessary component to back-up your argument, or don’t even bother making the argument. It’d be a waste of everyone’s time.” kind of rubs me the wrong way. Not to get too philosophical here but is this fan blog ever really going beyond the realm of entertainment into productive time wasting? I would understand and agree with that sort of statement if we were all on the payroll here and our jobs were to discuss and analyze the stats and possibilites for the club so that we could make an actual difference in the organizations direction, but we’re just here because we love ‘em… at least I know I am. Like I said, I dont think you mean to come across that way, but if you want to avoid the possibility of sounding like a jerk, you might reconsider the approach. Thanks -

  • Joe

    One year in the system, RJ’s play should improve. As awhile, the Spurs should play better with nearly everyone returning. Add Tiago, James Anderson, plus the best from the Summer League and the Spurs have the makings for a much-improved ball club in 2010/2011.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    July 21st, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    “To me this is a 50 win team. They get a big improvement from adding Yao, and not much else.”

    Number one, a healthy Yao is a HUGE benefit. He’s easily the TOP center in the entire league. Even that alone is worth at least 8 games, which would take the team to 50. In Yao’s last year before the injury, his WP was about 12. That would actually take them to 54 wins.

    Number two, the rest of the team is simply better this year than last year, or the year before, when they won 53 games. Examples, Ariza, age 24, still getting better; Brooks, age 25, moving into his prime years after winning most improved player last year; Lowery, age 23, still getting better; Budinger, age 21, still getting better; Patterson looks like a very talented 15th pick, and is likely to have a positive impact; Martin, age 26, is much better than a “good” player, he’s averaged nearly 22 ppg. over his last 6 seasons, including 39% from three, and 86% from the line – he only played just over a quarter of the season with Houston last year (don’t bother getting into efficiency stats – those gross numbers are very good in and of themselves); Miller is a great compliment to Yao, and a great fit with coach Adelman – had some great years with him in Sacramento, and has plenty left for a reserve role on the Rockets – a clear upgrade

    And of course, they have the savvy and strong complimentary players in the veterans Scola & Battier, who missed most of the last 20 Rocket games last year on account of injury. You also didn’t care to comment on the match-up edge I give to the Rockets. I wonder why?

    So, no, it is clear that you are in fact are underestimating the Houston Rockets. They will be a force to contend with this year.

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ Jim

    I disagree with your assertion that the Rockets will be so good. The Rockets were better than expected last season because of Brooks improvement. There’s no way possible he improves that dramatically again, so he’s basically as good as he’s gonna get. Now throw Yao into the mix, and the game slows way down, which hurts Brooks. Also, I’m not convinced that Brooks, Martin, and Yao can all share the ball efficiently and effectively. The biggest issue is the HUGE assumption that Yao is/will stay healthy.

    I think OKC makes a serious run at the 1 seed this year. They are unafraid. Plus, they’re all young and can handle big minutes, so while most teams (LA, Spurs, Suns, Utah) are managing minutes, they’ll be racking up wins. My West seeding is as follows:

    Lakers
    OKC
    Mavs
    Jazz
    Spurs
    Suns
    Blazers
    Denver

    Houston and Memphis will just fall short.

    I think the West is back to the point where there are 10 teams good enough to hit 50 wins. I don’t see any team getting more than 60 wins in the west. It’s just going to be too brutal playing against a playoff team every other game. If a team has any distractions (locker room issues, whining about touches/minutes, injuries), that could cost them several games and drop them out of the playoff race. That’s where I see Houston faltering: either a Yao injury or a touches issue between Brooks, Yao, and Martin.

    On a different note, I’m glad Jefferson is back. I’m encouraged by his committment to working with Pop all summer. His numbers can only improve this next year.

    On another different note, I hate baseball. SportsCenter sucks so bad right now.

  • Hobson13

    Jim Henderson
    July 21st, 2010 at 1:24 pm
    “As it stands right now, predicted seedings in the West:
    Lakers
    Rockets
    Blazers
    Mavs
    Spurs
    Nuggets
    OKC
    Jazz”

    The only team I am sure about in the West is the Lakers. Everyone else could be anywhere from 2nd to 8th seed (including the Spurs if they don’t gell well enough). How will Utah come together after losing key, veteran pieces yet picking up other valuable players? Will Portland ever realize their “potential” or will they be like the Hornest of 2008 that were supposed to challenge the Lakers for the next 5 years? What about Houston? Sure they have Ming back and a somewhat solid supporting cast, but when and where will injury strike? IMO, the Nuggets, who have brought very little help in the past 2 years, have peaked and will steadily decline (see Timberwolves 2004). Can OKC’s young talent continue to develop and challenge LA? These questions lead me to believe the West, after LA, is virtually wide open.

    Theoretically, I can see how you would put the Blazers closely behind the Lakers. On paper, they do look to be a good team with a large front line of Oden, Pryz, and Camby. However, I really don’t see the Rockets being a top 4 team in the west. In fact, I view both the Rockets and Blazers as being very similar. How many years now have people been saying “if only the Rockets were healty, they’d be challenging for the top spot in the west.”

    This has been much the case for the Blazers.
    With regards to the Rockets, I would guess people have been saying the same thing for somewhere around 5 years this has been the case. In every year, T-Mac and/or Yao have been injured. My point is that neither team has proven ANYTHING in the playoffs. They are both teams full of “potential.” Opinions aside, the Rockets have very little depth at the PF, SG, and even arguably the PG position. I contend that their backcourt will not match up well against the Lakers, Spurs, Mavs, or Thunder.

    As I’ve previously stated, the Blazers have “potential,” but very little playoff results to justify being a top 4 team. History shows that with Oden and Pryz, it’s not a question of “if” they go down during the season. It is a question of “when.” Here are how many games the trio of Oden, Pryz, and Camby have missed over the past two years.

    Oden: 82
    Pryzbilla: 52 (but has a HUGE injury history beyond that)
    Camby: 28 (has NEVER played all 82 games in his 14 years in the league)

    No way in hell I would want to go into the season knowing I would have to defeat the Lakers, Spurs, Nuggs, and Rockets bigs with this front line.

    I don’t contend that the Spurs should be second in the West at this point, but neither would I put two teams who have a total of 1 playoff series win in the last eight years (it was the Houston-Portland series last year. Someone had to win) ahead of more veteran teams like the Spurs and Mavs.

  • Dr. Who

    Firebrand
    July 21st, 2010 at 10:43 am
    “I mean EVERY other team in the west looks weaker than last year well all the top teams with the exception of Dallas who pretty much stayed the same, the Lakers who got even better with some depth at the point and us .”
    There is some kind of overwhelming sentiment that the West has really weakended themselves and that bodes well for the Spurs. I like how the word “EVERY” is in caps. I think an excellent article would be an unbiased assessment of West offseason moves and how they affect the Spurs ***HINT HINT Andrew*** OK so cap lock is off. I think if you take the time to look closer at what has happened in the West you might realize it isn’t going to be an easy road to the WCF or playoffs for that matter. Remember that last year the West race was tighter than North Korea’s “Fun and Entertainment” budget. So I’ll do my best to take a look at the West offseason for 2010 (since am an Astros fan and have nothing better to do) until we get a proper article which will be much better than this one. So here we go…

    Two sleeper teams that weren’t really in the playoff hunt that could make some noise are the Clippers and Grizzlies. PLEASE KEEP READING. Yes I’m probably about to lose all credibility by mentioning the Clippers and Grizz together, but when you look at what the Clippers have done or haven’t done it’s actually pretty good. They haven’t participated in the ridiculous overspending of the offseason (see Kaaaaaaahn!) and continue to fill their roster with talented players through the draft and FA. I think bringing in Foye, Gomes and a new coach in Del Negro are all nice additions. Nothing too flashy, but being smart and not overpaying for talent. A healthy Blake Griffin should make the team fun to watch. Memphis is a young athletic team (that over paid Rudy Gay), but they are a talented young group. Adding Tony Allen could be a what they needed to offset the loss of Brewer. I don’t see either of these teams knocking of the Fakers for top dog in the West but they are poised to make some noise. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of them managed to snag a playoff spot. But then again let’s take a look at those playoff teams and spots. Now on to the real teams in West.

    -Phoenix Suns: This team is the reason why people say the West got weaker. The loss of Amare is huge, but they could do worse that get Warrick as a replacement. He’s fleet footed and uber athletic. He’s not an automatic 20pts a night like Amare, but he will have Nash to work with and that can’t hurt. Holding onto Channing Frye could be a big deal depending upon which Frye we’re talking about. The “freak of nature can’t miss Vs. the Spurs Frye” is a stone cold assassin and a great re-sign. The “I can’t hit the side of a barn miss every shot Vs. Lakers” Frye is just another body. It will be a major stretch if the Suns can make it to the WCF again. They’ll be a scrappy team, but the loss of Amare should be apparent with this team…unless their other offseason move pays off. If Turk plays like the Spurs/Toronto Turk, the Suns may very well miss the playoffs. They’ll also be stuck with his contract for years to come which will feel awesome if you’re Suns fan. If he plays like the Orlando Turk, well then this could be an entertaining team to watch sans Amare (with a possible playoff appearance). Turk could be the steal of the offseason; however, I’m taking the under on this one.

    -Denver Nuggets: Not much has changed with this team. They were very strong during the season, but plummeted as George Karl was away fighting for his life. Mad props to our own George Karl for fighting the good fight and beating cancer! There are no major changes to this team aside from the addition of Al Harrington. With Karl courtside again, they should be just as strong if not stronger than they were last season. It will be good to see Karl back and you have to believe his story will inspire an already talented team.

    -OK City Thunder: Presti has done a great job with this young team doing the most important thing he could for this young franchise; he stayed away from high priced FA’s and was able to ink Durant to a long term deal. The rest of the summer was spent on role players. Good things are in store for the young Thunder and with one more year under Durant’s belt I can’t see how OK City will be weaker.

    -Portland Trail Blazers: Yet another Spurs tie (Del Negro, Karl, Presti and now Pritchard) has done an exception job with the artists formerly known as the “JailBlazers.” This team is young and stacked full of talent. No other team was as decimated by injuries as Portland last year. I can recall at least 8 Trail Blazers missing extended time due to injuries. This included losing Pryzbilla and Oden for the season and Roy for a key stretch in the play-off push April. They still managed to make the playoffs and compete. If they come back healthy, they will be a solid playoff team. Not weaker by any stretch, however… in a “what were they thinking move”, classy Paul Allen dumped Pritchard but told him he needed to stick around for the draft. That’s like dumping your girlfriend and as she’s walking away crying, asking her to clean your bathroom, make you a sandwich and wash your car. Classy… Way to repay a guy that helped re-build your franchise Mr. Allen. The Blazers acted immediately by signing Wesley Matthews to a 5 year 34 million dollar contract. Welsey Matthews? Welsey Snipes doesn’t even deserve that much money and the Demolition Man can ball, I’ve seen the movie! “You so stoooopid Biiilleeee.” Fantastic work gentlemen, give yourselves raises. The bet now is on how long it will take for the organization to ruin itself once more after assembling a talented roster. Should take them at least a few years before they can screw it up. I predict a melt down about as fun to watch as a Capulet Montague reunion.

    -Dallas Mavericks: Speaking of classless… Oh how I love to hate the Mavericks. Their team hasn’t changed much. They got rid of Dumpier and picked up Chandler. This actually hurts the Spurs because Timmy has zero problems with Damps. Chandler plays better D on Duncan, but hopefully he’ll be hurt. Still, they have Haywood and plenty of length to cause problems for the Spurs. They’re not done dealing yet either. I hate Cuban but he does shake his team up. This is a team that should still be strong next year with Roddy Beaubois (who can flat out ball) getting more experience and playing time int he playoffs. Pop outcoached Carlisle last year in the playoffs. Let’s hope Jim Carey doesn’t have any tricks up his sleeve and the trend continues.

    -The Houston Rockettes: I am a SA transplant and live in Houston. Yao coming back has this town speaking about playoffs and the WCF. They are very serious here too. Does it sound far fetched? The Rockets are a very deep team and signing Brad Miller with a healthy Yao is a huge step forward. What Daryl Morey does is makes quiet calculated very good moves. Quiet is the key here. This is the same guy that did statistical analysis and then used NBA Live to test if the Rockets would be better with Ron Artest. They lost Yao that year (oh yeah and in other news if ya fall out of a boat you usually get wet) and Artest was huge in the playoffs; giving the Fakers a run for their money. Morey is one of those Matt Damon “Wicked Smart” MIT kids. This year is no different for Morey by drafting a solid Patterson, holding onto Lowry, getting Brad Miller and reaping the reward with a full season of Martin whom he received for dumping Tracey McGradey. Boring offseason? Yes? Smart moves? Yes? This team was competitive without Yao for almost the entire season but needed an extra umph to make a playoff run. Adding Yao/Miller to the deep group with a full K-Mart season will only help . This team is not going to be weaker. How much better the team is all hinges on Yao’s health. If he’s healthy they are a team to look out for. But that is one big if.

    -Utah Jazz: The Jazz lost Boozer and I will not miss him hitting that one legged, off balance, fade away jumper while someone had a hand in his face. That jumper went in about 95% of the time I was watching the TV and had a small breakable object that looked a lot like a TV remote in my hand (I am currently attending anger management classes). Seemed like his game always was raised for the Spurs. Boozer was a perfect center for the pick and roll. Now they have Al Jefferson. Question… can the Spurs trade Richard Jefferson for Al Jefferson and tell them somehow the names are wrong on the jerseys and contracts? Jefferson is just as good a center as Boozer, however they are sort of different animals. Jefferson is more of an inside presence who bangs down low and mixes it up, not a pick and roll center. This should be an interesting fit for Utah. A little known fact of history is that mankind discovered fire about the same time Jerry Sloan started coaching the pick and roll. You will see tons of it next year and the year after that and the year after that until Sloan finally spontaneously combusts. Yes, he’s old as dirt, looks like a used tire salesman and loves the pick and roll. It will be typical Jerry Sloan basketball. Boozer and Jefferson have similar numbers 20-10, but Boozer isn’t really a low post center. What will be different this year is that Jefferson will be playing down low and it will be tougher to D up on the pick and rolls that will be coming from all over the court. And they will come. Not sure how much Sloan will tinker with Jefferson’s game and try ot make him into a Milsap/Boozer pick and roll center. I’m guessing this team will be better with a true low post center. The loss of Korver hurts less with that guy they picked up. What’s his name??? Oh yeah… Hayward… and yes Raja Bell; who many of us on this board were about to put together a telethon so he’d sign here. At worst they are the same team they were last year and that is a very good one, but I’d expect them to be a bit better with the additions they’ve made. Sloan, for all the ribbing I’ve given him here, is an outstanding and underrated coach that consistently produces strong playoff teams. Next year will be no different.

    So that’s 6 playoff teams. Misssing are the Lakers (who we know got better with the signing of Blake) and our own San Antonio Spurs. I’ve already assessed our offseason in a previous post, but the FO did the best they could and that was pretty darn good actually. We didn’t lose anyone from a 50 win team, resigned RJ to a better contract, got what is projected as yet another draft day “ready for the NBA” steal and got that big guy who was playing in Spain Luis Scola… I mean Splitter. Just making sure you’re still reading. Splitter should make the Spurs better defensively where they were sorely lacking. We haven’t been able to run the old defense of the wings funneling players inside to two shot blockers in ages. Hopefully Splitter is able to play beside Duncan and we can relive a bit of the good ol’ defensive days. This helps the overall team defense. How much will it help without a true shut down wing defender? We’ll have to wait and see, but the Spurs improved just like just about all of last year’s playoff team aside from the Suns. A healthy TP sans plantar fasciitis will be a welcome sight as well. Should make for an interesting year!

  • Dr. Who

    Of course after I post “War and Peace” I see other posters have the same playoff teams from last year in the playoffs once again. Glad to know not everyone has lost their senses. The West is truly wide open; everyone hasn’t downgraded aside from Phoenix. It’s the Lakers and everyone else. It will probably be as crazy as last year coming down to the final weeks of the season.