San Antonio Spurs 108, Atlanta Hawks 92:Because the Spurs have Tony Parker, and the Hawks don’t

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AT&T CENTER–The Atlanta Hawks have the sort of defensive length on the wings and mobile bigs along the front line that coaches dream about having and opposing ball handlers fear facing. For a night, at least, it was enough to give Manu Ginobili nightmares–the Hawks forcing Manu into six turnovers against no assists.

But all the athleticism in the world does not matter if you’re still relying on Mike Bibby to defend the point of attack, as the Atlanta Hawks asked him to do for much of the fourth quarter. In a game that featured a sloppy (14 turnovers against only 20 assists) and unfocused (16-25 from the free throw line) Spurs team, it was enough of a mistake from the Hawks for San Antonio to turn a grind-it-out game into the blowout victory the AT&T Center crowd is becoming accustomed to. And they did it without the benefit of  Tim Duncan and only a brief cameo from Manu in the fourth.

The term plus/minus gets thrown around a bit through these pages, and admittedly, some of it is merely a running joke to get a rise out of Matt Bonner’s biggest critics. But while a player like Al Horford (-19) was far from the reason Atlanta lost, Mike Bibby earned every bit of the -17 he put up.

Both Bibby and Tony Parker checked into the fourth quarter at the 8:53 mark, and the Hawks spent much of the remaining time on their heels as the Spurs ran Bibby through repeated pick and rolls and isolations that ultimately ended in three-point shots–specifically Richard Jefferson from the baseline (5-6 from three, 18 points). The benefit of having so many mobile shooters this season is there is no longer a place to hide defensive liabilities like Bibby.

All things being equal, and looking through last night’s stats (in total rebounds, steals, turnovers, and assists) they were equal, what separated the Spurs from the Hawks was the proficiency in which Spurs guards ran the pick an roll, and the Hawks inability to do anything in such situations at either end of the court. Parker was able to blow by Bibby and the rest of his teammates were able to find open three-pointers against a scrambling defense.

Because it’s a Friday night game, and there is a quick turnaround with Portland coming in on Sunday, here are a few quick thoughts in bullet form from tonight’s game:

  • For all the complaints about the Hawks isolation heavy offense of the past, they really do not have a point guard or player on the roster that is a consistent threat on the pick and roll. Bibby lacks the first step to get to the rim or create passing lanes for teammates and Jamal Crawford–the lone player who can turn the corner in such situations–does so only looking for his own shot.
  • After a rough start to the season, starting “center” DeJuan Blair appears to be getting comfortable, recording his second consecutive double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) for the first time this season. Of note was a two-play sequence in the second quarter in which Blair followed a nasty crossover dribble for a layup against Al Horford by receiving an outlet pass at half court from Tim Duncan and racing down and Euro-stepping Jamal Crawford for a layup.
  • Before the game San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich joked that more amazing than DeJuan Blair’s improvement at the free throw lines was NASA’s (with some help from Manu Ginobili) discovery of lifeforms from other planets. After tonight, both appeared to myths.
  • Nadeem

    What is common between the Hawks and Eva Langoria?

    Answer – Both do not have Tony Parker!!!

  • Nadeem

    Totally unrelated, but found an old article in sports illustrated on frugal bonner of toronto days.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/players/04/04/bonner0410/index.html

  • Hobson13

    Spurs are winning in all sorts of ways this year. Atlanta actually led this game early in the 4th, but the Spurs just blew it open after that. To echo what the post said, Blair was a huge reason we won this tonight. For him to post 16pts, 12rebs, and 4 stls in just 26 minutes against the HAWKS FRONT LINE is saying something big. In the last three games, he has averaged 13.7ppg, 11rebs, and 2.7stls per game. He seems to be finding his stride, but lets hope he keeps up this level of play. If Blair had played like this a few games earlier, Jim may still be trolling among us.

    On a side note, this was a big win. I hadn’t realized that the Hawks had won 7 of their last 8 games. They have been playing well and have a huge front line. I would have loved to see Splitter log 20+ min, but I guess Pop is saving him. Great game from the Spurs. Now we need to beat the hell out of the Blazers who are quietly turning their season around with 4 straight wins. This should provide another good test for our front line.

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  • junierizzle

    Great Win. I was a little worried for a second.
    Three things”
    1)My concern is that the SPURS feel so confident that they feel they can “turn it on” whenever they feel like it. They kind of just cruise by in the first half because they know they are going to put it away in the second half. It might bite them in a few games down the road. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the BLAZERS steal one on Sunday if the SPURS come out like whatever. They seem to have fixed that a bit after the last game against Minnesota so that’s good so far.

    2)19-3 is a great start and now we expect them to win everytime. But as we all know, The SPurs are all about the playoffs. So I expect POP to rest the Big 3 through out the season and risk some games. Like tonight for example, POP closed it out with TD and MANU on the bench. It was a gamble and it paid off this time.

    3)I know POP knows what he is doing but I want to see more SPLITTER.

    That is all.

  • gregadd

    Hill was the player of the game followed by Blair and RJ.

    @junierizzle – Pop would have brought Duncan and Manu back in if the group that was in didn’t do their job. Luckily his hot hands were all in the game.

    Manu was horrid last night. He got points, but he was one of the main reasons why ball movement was lousy and stagnant. For every good play he made, he made an equally bad play which was reflected in his negative +/- score.

  • DorieStreet

    A reduced Hawks roster (no Joe Johnson & backup C Zaza Puchulia) took advantage of Spurs turnovers to remain close in first half. Our low-scoring (18 pts) 3 qtr gave Atlanta a chance to steal this one until Spurs defense took over in the 4th. I guess this was a game where Pop just wanted Splitter to watch and learn from the bench-why else is he not playing?

  • r.l.manuel

    19-3 is freakin awesome.
    Blair is a beast.
    Hill is a stud.
    Bonner played some pretty good ”D” really.
    and the refs were horrible.

  • DorieStreet

    P.S. Just 20 assists on 41 FGS but 53% shooting will get it done; Manu needs to put away the 3pt shooting for awhile. Turnovers going up, FT % going down (focus on the fundamentals!). Up & down (currently up) Trailblazers next; maybe facing a future Spur Sunday?

  • rob

    Close game as expected until the middle of the fourth when SA blew it open.

    I think what happened was the Spurs focused (defensively) on shutting down Atlanta’s bigs and somewhat allowed/dared the Hawks to shoot away from the preimeter.

    And even though Bibby and Crawford were nailing shots earlier from the perimeter…Pop took the chance on odds that they would eventually cool off.

    It paid off.

    This was the best all around game DeJuan Blair has had this season. I mean WOW what a game. And against some of the best and most athletic big men in the league, now that’s saying something.

    Regarding Duncan…it was great he was able to not have to play in the fourth. But he wasn’t having a great game to begin with so if he would have…I’m not so sure he would have made a big difference anyway.

    Referencing the +/- category, I would suspect that unless the number is either above or below the ten mark, one shouldn’t put too much credence in those numbers regarding an individuals performance in a game? But what stood out in that category was Jefferson, Blair, Parker and Hill. All of whom were above ten and definitively contributed the most regarding positive impact in the game.

  • NYC

    @ Nadeem

    So that’s how he got the name “Red Rocket.” Thanks for posting.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Len

    Where’s the love for RJ? If Bonner had gone 5-6 from deep, he’d be getting some press.

    The new and improved RJ!

    Viva la metamorphosis!

  • quincyscott

    I’d like to add that the Spurs defense is looking much sharper of late. I saw most of this game as San Antonio getting good shots that weren’t quite falling, being a bit careless with the ball, until the fourth when they started moving the ball better and hitting those open shots. But what carried them all night was pretty damn good team defense, something that they had until recently only shown us in spurts. This reminds looks more like the Spurs of old, and it bodes well for their championship aspirations.

    Couple things. I would love to put Derek Fisher through the same kind of meat grinder Bibby experienced in this game. And in response to Rob, those four guys certainly did have big nights, all over the floor: Jefferson, Blair, Parker, Hill. The depth and versatility of this Spurs team is really impressing me. It’s a different set of heroes every night. Tonight two of the Spurs’ preferred methods of scoring were not effective, namely Manu and the fast break. As we are starting to expect, they found ways to get it done anyway. Mighty fine.

  • NYC

    @ Len
    I’ve always said that we’ve got to keep RJ involved. If he is on, like he was last night, then the team is firing on all 5 cylinders and makes it really difficult for our opponents on the defensive end, resulting in a poor offensive showing as well.
    This is what happened in the fourth quarter: we were getting production out of all 5 positions and Atlanta just rolled over and gave up. You could see how demoralized they got, and we ended up with garbage time at the end, whereas the game had been tightly contested for 3 quarters up ’til then. Always a good sign to see Chris Quinn out on the floor. And always a good sign to see RJ calling for the ball. Keeping him involved will be key to our championship aspirations.

    @quincyscott
    It did give me chills to see something reminiscent of the defense of yore.
    Unfortunately, the Lakers did a good job by getting Steve Blake in the offseason. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blake do the majority of guarding Parker when we actually get to play the OTHER Los Angeles team.

  • Phil

    It’s so good to see other guys bringing it constantly now with Hill, RJ, and Blair. I’ve been thinking about this but if Manu were to go down at some point this year which will probably happen at some point in the season(God forbid) could the Spurs continue to win and play well without him?

  • Phil

    It’s so good to see other guys bringing it constantly now with Hill, RJ, and Blair. I’ve been thinking about this but if Manu were to go down at some point this year which will probably happen at some point in the season(God forbid) could the Spurs continue to do well without him?

  • td4life

    I didnt see the game. Blair has to be the best bigman in the league at getting steals. To some degree this may be a silver lining to being undersized, as I’ve noticed smaller guards are often nasty pick-pockets, but can someone give me a breakdown of how Blair does it. He has quick and strong hands, is he swiping passes, or does he look to strip the ball from his man’s hands?

    Also, I read that Blair finished the game… was he playing next to Bonner in a center role, as the main post seemed to imply? Henderson was always harping on training Blair to be more of a shooting PF, but are his recent stats more reflective of a more limited offensive repetoire?

    It’s looking like Splitter is just the odd man out. Integrating Splitter, and keeping Boner hot seem to be the priorities this season. I’d just as soon see Tiago spend 4 games in Austin to get a thorough tutorial in the Spur’s schemes, and get his conditioning. He’s had enough rest from the summer at this point. Maybe overlap his time there in January with James Anderson, and allow these guys the added bonus of getting familiarity with there second-team teammates?

    I echo this: way to go RJ! I agree we should look to get him involved with some consistency. He’s huge for us. I’m glad the Lakers lost, but we face them at the end of the month, and barnes-bryant-artest are all good defenders, I’d like to give them all they can handle in the assignments of Manu and RJ, so Bryant can’t even pretend to save it for one end of the floor.

  • td4life

    “with there teammates” should be “their”

  • rob

    Sorry people. Gotta do this.

    A great record to start. Great chemistry being formed on this team. And I for one would not like to mess with a good thing. But with regards to what I’ve been noticing as far as patterns being established I was looking into this trade scenario that might help the Spurs improve upon an already awesome blend.

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=25ohugd

    The Knicks are rumored to be wanting to trade for an upgrade at backup PG and not inspired to play Randolph. They probably are going to go after Melo next year giving them too many SF’s next season. The Cavs are in desparate need to upgrade at the SF and post. The Spurs are solid in their backcourt and look to be for years to come. But possibly could use down the stretch of this season a post player that can give them defense and offensive production in a backup role.

    If the Spurs could also garnish a future first round pick out of this deal…they could possibly have two first round picks for the near future. To some would that be incentive to give up Splitter now knowing that the team could draft next year to replace Splitter if they could get Randolph? You know Scott would covet having Splitter in his P&R system. And Chandler would be a great improvement at SF for that team. Knicks get a strong b/u PG in Sessions. Hickson is falling out of favor with Scott but would look to be a good fit for the Knicks.

    Future team of the Spurs would consist of Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson, Hill, Anderson, Neal, Blair, Randolph, Duncan, Bonner and (2) 1st round picks.

  • Acrididae

    That was one frustrating game (until the 4th). RJ was lighting it up, and playing great D in the first half. I kept wondering in the third why they weren’t playing him or getting him the ball when he was playing. I love Tony, but he occasionally has games where he does that confused dribble that usually ends in a turnover or a clank. Much of the game was like that. It was great to see them solve the Hawks– they seem to have the makings of a very good team. They’re really physical, and you could see Manu’s frustration boiling. It’s one of the few times where Manu hasn’t really been able to rise above it and adjust his game into effectiveness.

    I’m also glad the Spurs (who spent three quarters bitching at the refs as the Hawks out-muscled and bullied them) zipped their lips and became the aggressors in the end. It would have been a very, very bad sign if Atlanta’s physical play had been able to completely disrupt the offense. Its good to see that the Spurs have the ability to play physical, what used to be called Eastern Conference, basketball.

  • agutierrez

    Manu’s entreaty to Pop to stress getting off to a good start has had an additional benefit. Imagine if we were hovering around .500. Pop would have pulled Blair from the starting line-up and started tinkering with line-ups like he did last year. But because we were winning even with Blair playing mediocre at best, it gave Pop the luxury of continuing to start him, affirming the team’s trust. It took a few games but Blair is now competing with a confidence and effectiveness that has enormous consequences for us as we move along the grind of the season.

  • ITGuy

    Great game, nice win.

    Off topic, how many times have you seen Hollinger’s Power Rankings and said WTF?

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • Bankshot21

    See what less pressure from guys like Jim Henderson has done to DeJuan’s game. He’s clearly scrapped that jumpshot crap and returned to his more physical back to the basket shoulder in ya chest game. He’s way more athletic than Big Baby so I expect better production. His long arms allow him to reach around and swipe the ball away. Although I miss owning Jim I do not miss his possibly saying “I told u so”. He’s the type that would say these last 3 games are a result of the struggles of the 1st 19 games. Its great that we can all go back to liking and wishing the best for him in this post Henderson era. Hill is a beast. Manu is getting less of those flailing arm calls. Splitter is not being saved. He’s simply not been needed much. Duncan is still missing the shots he normally makes. They’re rimming out. He’ll be fine. His weight loss has taken away from his strength. He looked like he ran into a wall when he bumped into Jason Collins. Had Collins looking like 2000 Shaq in terms of strength. Parker is soooo good when he attacks. Did I say Hill was a beast? RJ is looking awesome when given the opportunity. Bonner actually penetrates and kicks when the 3 ball isn’t falling. Also had a few great rebounds on the offensive end. Mobility wise McDyess looks about 30 and not 36. I’d rather have A.Gee @ the end of the bench than Ime Udoka. And if that’s the most I can complain about then you know things are GREAT in SPURLAND!!! GO SPURS GO!!!!!!!!!!

  • Acrididae

    @Bankshot21…

    I think Tim’s shot is looking much better over the last few games. His bank shot was money last night, and when he retires, that’s the shot we will all remember (from ’99 versus the Knicks over the last decade).

    Bonner was really aggressive and physical last night. His defensive work was really good as well (remember that block?). When Matt hits the three and contributes on the hustle board as well, there is no downside for this team.

    Udoka is milquetoast, true. But he knows where to be on the court offensively, and his defense is adequate. Gee was a project. There will be plenty of time for projects like Gee when the Duncan era closes.

  • rj

    great game. blair really looked like a stud out there. his post moves are looking more under control. i loved his roll of the left shoulder for a right handed bank-layup. seems like splitter gets heavy minutes against the lesser teams, or pop swaps out on a nightly basis between dyess and splitter as our 4th big. or maybe the matchups for splitter were just not favorable. splitter probably would have gotten in foul trouble against a more athletic atlanta frontcourt, but could stay in a game against the minnesota’s lurch squad. spurs simply said “no” last night

  • spursfanbayarea

    Good teams beat the bad teams they are supposed to beat. What makes a great team is beating the teams you are supposed to beat and also finding ways to win when things are not working out for you. A big difference I am noticing in this years spurs is their ability to find a way to win. I watched every single game last year and this year(league pass) and this year we never give up. Last year there was way to many games that when we were down 10 we folded. Also we are making great changes in the second half. Championship teams make great adjustments in the second half. We have multiple options this year to hit the three point shots. Last year we had only mason and bonner. Mason had an off year and Bonner does his usual playoff disappearing act. Love how well Jefferson, Hill, and even Manu are shooting the 3 ball. Pre-injury anderson was hitting at a 50 clip on his limited 3 point attempts. But he has a very pure stroke so I believe he will be a good 3 point shooter for us. Our offensive execution is beautiful this year. We still have a ways to go on defense, but as typical spurs fashion that comes on later in the year. The only thing we lack is another back up big man. But there are many more teams with many more holes than us. This great start is going to allow us to rest our players and not have to make a mad dash just to get into the playoffs like last year. As I predicted before the season, this will be a championship team. Go Spurs Go!

  • Hobson13

    ITGuy
    December 11th, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I understand Hollinger’s rankings are based off unbiased numbers that take a multitude of stats into consideration. However, when you have an 8-loss team ahead of Conference leaders who have half as many losses, the formula either need to be tweaked or simply be allowed to slide into irrelevancy. I know the Spurs never get any love, but at least don’t disrespect the organization by putting an undeserving team above them in power rankings.

    I know this is entirely off the subject, but sometimes I feel that ESPN is deliberately trying to force the Heat down everyone’s throat in order to piss fan bases off, needle people into hating the Heat, and then profit when vast numbers of people visit their website to root against the Heat. In the end, I suppose ESPN is more entertainment than pure journalism. They’ve certainly lost what little journalistic integrity they may have had left when ESPN donned skirts and pompoms in a sycophantic effort to unabashedly cheer for a particular NBA team (Heat).

  • zainn

    @hobson13
    I totally agree with what you’re saying but the main reason why the heat are ahead is because they’ve been beating teams with a higher point margin of atleast about 10 for the length of their winning streak, and hollinger’s rankings are based of mathematical strategies, and not the actual standings and power of each team. I’m sure the heat will be maybe 6 or 7 in the mark stein’s rankings and the spurs will be top 2 or 3. Nothing to fret about honestly, just erik spoelstra is just worried abotu his job more than resting his players for the playoffs. It’s all good though, we’ll see what happens when the heat get SWEPT by the celtics. My finals matchup this season SPURS CELTICS. The epic matchup between the two most veteran teams in the nba. I can’t wait till april!

  • http://www.yahoo.com Todd

    Dejuan Blair is a Monster once he gets comfortable. He reminds me of charles barkley.

  • junierizzle

    @Rob

    No offense but that trade stinks!

    Can people stop with the trade talk. If you all had your way TP and MANU and BLAIR would be playing somewhere esle right now.

  • Francesco

    It is of course dangerous to throw around comparisons to Westbrook because the guy is playing out of his mind, but sometimes watching George Hill I wonder if that’s the kind of player he could have been if he hadn’t entered the league behind Parker and Manu…

  • Francesco

    Also: wouldn’t have Blair been perfect playing B. A. Baracus in the recent A-Team remake?

  • TD = Best Ever

    @ junierizzle

    Its never to early to talk about trades or to see whose available on other teams. The Spurs Still haven’t played or beat the elite in the NBA so far (Top 5 in Stein’s rankings) and Randolph might be the missing piece. I would agree I was on the trade TP bandwagon – and he has played very well. But the ultimate goal is to win a title while we still have a chance and TD. After he retires we can look at working with Projects and building the next championship team. Splitter/Bliar will never be the Best BIG on a title team and Randolf has a chance to be that good, with his size and athleticism. I see Blair as a borderline ALL-Star in 3 years but not a lock and Splitter not even close. Randolph can be another Jermaine O’Neal – who had like 5-6 great 22-10 years……. Enough that if you can add that to a you team with Blair/Hill and a few other pieces – could contend for a title in a few years…….

    What do yall think?

  • TD = Best Ever

    @ Francesco

    Westbrook is better than Hill at this point ONLY because of minutes and his role on his team. He is WAYYYY more athletic – but Hills Jumper is LIGHTS OUT……. So Hill is more Deron Williams in that sense. But ya – he can be a great PG/SG one day if he gets the minutes at the helm

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Len

    Hobson13
    December 11th, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Good post. Agree 110%. TMZEspn is no longer a website that I visit regularly.

  • rj

    can we stop the anthony randolph talk? anyone who registers a DNP against the wizards is not worth trading for. i would rather us trade for a guy that you know what your getting than someone who has trouble with focus and hasn’t developed into a consistent player despite having all the chance in the world in golden state. the guy is too thin to play in the low post. he’s more of a freakishly tall small forward. we don’t have anyone we could give up in a trade aside from chris quinn, ime udoka, and a year of free whataburger. looks like tiago’s role is to given duncan rest in the regular season.

  • Maverick1948

    To all that it may concern.

    Please no more trade talk. Splitter has basically just finished what the other members of the team had in preseason. He has had to learn on the fly rather than get intensive training in preseason. I have not expected, nor do I expect, Splitter to get the heavy minutes before the 2nd week in January. Anderson will be back shortly after that and we will have to find minutes for a lot of players. I believe that the Spurs are set to compete with the Lakers and Mavericks for the west and with the Celtics and Heat in the finals.

  • Hobson13

    TD = Best Ever
    December 11th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    “Randolph can be another Jermaine O’Neal – who had like 5-6 great 22-10 years.”

    I agree that if Randolph can get his attitude straight, he could be a formidable weapon. The Knicks are looking for draft picks so they can then in turn trade those picks to the Nuggets for Melo. What if we were to offer next year’s 1st and 2nd round picks to the Knicks for him? It’s a relatively high price, but I bet the Knicks would bite. Randolph is a good rebounder, shot blocker, and has unbelievable ball-handling skills for someone who’s 7ft. A young nucleus of Splitter, Blair, Randolph, Hill, Anderson, and Neal would be great for the next 5+ years.

  • tradeTP

    Player of the Game was DeJuan.

    Parker, like any other PG in the league, should own Mike Bibby. Probably the most overrated PG that has ever played (thanks run and Gun/DAD)

    No offense to Parker. Extremely better than the past two years.

    Yes, more Splitter. We’re going through the Hill, DeJuan phase again… BS BS BS

    GO SPURS

  • duaneofly

    I absolutely would not trade Splitter for Randolph. Splitter has yet to have a chance to prove what he can do in the NBA, but he has already proven what he can do in basketball’s other leagues, and in the Worlds. Randolph, hasn’t proven anything either, except that he is tall, athletic, and decided to play basketball.
    People have different opinions on the matter, but I am not a fan of “project” players. Just because someone is super athletic, that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to play in the NBA. Likewise, just because someone isn’t super athletic doesn’t mean they can’t play.
    Also, if Splitter hasn’t been able to crack the regular rotation yet, what makes anyone think Randolph will?

  • mybloodissilverandblack

    Hey, I just realized something. The Sixth Man award for this season is a toss up between Shannon Brown of the Lakers and… hell, every man not listed as a Spurs starter!

    So if anyone else wins this, then something must be wrong.

  • mybloodissilverandblack

    And by that I meant every man with the Spurs not listed as a starter.

    Like Steve Smith said, including the strength and conditioning coach.

  • TD = Best Ever

    @ duaneofly

    It’s not that Randolph will break the rotation any sooner – although I expect he will. Its more of a realization that Splitter will probably never be good enough to carry an NBA team in the post on the offense or (more importantly) defensive End.

    Lets no fall in to the same mistake that the Mavs have fallen into – over estimating your players and thinking much more of them than the rest of the league. Remember we are in the business of winning here and should always have that as our number one goal.

    Splitter may be more ready now on O, but his individual D and help D will always lag as long as he is thin and doesn’t contest shots.

    Randolph can be a 2nd 7 footer to protect the paint and basically be a Tyson Chandler until he develops some moves.

  • td4life

    I haven’t seen anything out of Hill other than his size that makes him a PG. Our PGs are Ginobili and Parker. We are stacked with reserve SGs in Hill, Neal, and Anderson.

    If you are looking at trades for this year (which is a futile enterprise because it is guaranteed not to happen) Randolf is not a boost, he couldn’t get a role in either GS or NY, so forget about getting ahead of any of the bigs in SA.

    If you are looking to future, we have a logjam at SG (and a shortage of youth at PG, though its not a problem as Tony is now in his prime) and are thin on paper at SF. If Anderson remains an ace shooter, Neal is probably the guy who could be moved (though his salary is low) in favor of an upgrade at SF next summer. Perhaps Grant Hill, if nothing else. (Matt Barnes would have been perfect). So, the best arguement you can make for Randolf in SA is as a combo forward which is unlikely. You should be dreaming of a formidable rebounder and shot-blocker, if anything.

    Splitter is only on a 2 year contract, so he’ll have to fit in by next year or he will have better offers. I think next year we have the same guys as this year, with huge minutes for DB. Spliiter will be a better than whoever you are thinking of bringing in. I doubt a guy like K. Brown or D. Jordon would sign on to be the 5th big, since the Spurs’ FO will be looking for reserves (Center, SF, PG), not stars or starters. Tiago is better than anyone high on Randolf or Jason Thompson seems to realize.

    Aside from draft picks, McD’s final non-playing year and Neal are the most expendable. But Neal gives us excellent insurance for when Anderson, Hill, Tony, and Manu all have to sit out and recuperate. So if you want to part with anything next summer, it may simply be Dice.

    But Splitter is not going anywhere yet.
    It’s foolish to give up on the guy. Right now, the Spurs are grooming Blair, Splitter may get his chance as the season progresses, but regardless, he will get a much larger role next season.

    PS, I liked what I saw in Danny Green. Idk why we gave up on him so soon.

  • mac

    Anthony Randolf hasn’t shown much for you guys to think he’s the savior. I don’t know what the story is with the guy, the Knicks could use some bigs. Either (a) they are showcasing all their other pieces (chandler, gallinari, fields, douglas) to entice Denver, and are hiding Randolf to make him unattractive. Or (b) Randolf actually sucks. The former is a strange theory. The latter holds up better under Occam’s Razor.

  • duaneofly

    TD = Greatest Ever, you’re right, I could be overestimating Splitter’s worth, but he is a two time Spanish Supercup tournament MVP, he was named to the All-Euroleague first team in in 2007-08, and was a second team member in 08-09, and was the Spanish league MVP in 2010. Splitter knows how to play, and of course there will be an adjustment period for him to learn the NBA, plus rest up from his season+worlds, along with that injury he had in the preseason. The NBA may be the best league in the world, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is a bunch of chumps who can’t ball.

    To compare, Randolph was an honorable mention for the All-SEC and was on the All Freshman First Team during his one year of college. He’s playing in his third year in the league right now and hasn’t accomplished anything.

    Remember, overestimating goes both ways and I think Randolph is being overestimated because of his athleticism. Yes, if you took Manu’s basketball IQ and stuffed it in Randolph’s brain, you’d have one hell of a player. But Randolph is nowhere near as BB-smart as Manu is.

    Tiago Splitter is not Ian Mahinmi or Pops Mensah-Bonsu, he knows how to play basketball and I do believe he will become a really good NBA player.

    Speaking of Ian Mahinmi, isn’t he a super athletic guy, who can jump out of a building and run like hell, and tons of people (including me) thought he had great potential to become a good NBA player, but he never realized that potential? That kind of sounds like Randolph doesn’t it?

  • TD = Best Ever

    To Mac and TD4LIFE

    I never thought he was a savior – but he does appear to be a big and athletic rebounder and shot blocker. And there are plenty of reasons not to break the rotation in GS and NY – both of which put a ton of pressure on offensive skills. Which he may have very little.

    Either way we(the SPURS) still have a problem playing teams with 2 legit bigs (especially if they are both 7 foot or are good scorers. And we have yet to address that – we don’t need a back up SF – because you can always put a SG there as long as he is 6 ft 5 or so. But other than Duncan and Dice our Post D is still lacking and that’s something that several teams can and will exploit.

    LAKERS
    MAVS
    CELTICS
    Utah when the get Okur back could be in there as well

    So I just want to win my 5th title as a TD’s number one fan and need everyone in the FO to get on board with that plan.

  • DrSpock

    I don’t see the point in trading Splitter for someone like Randolph. We really don’t know yet what Splitter’s potential is in the NBA — what his true upside is. What we do know is that he’s a fairly accomplished player at the professional level. I think it’s a gamble the Spurs would not be interested in taking at this time.

  • td4life

    TD = Best Ever

    “I just want to win my 5th title as a TD’s number one fan and need everyone in the FO to get on board with that plan.”

    I hear you. But I’m with Duaneofly on this one.
    You have to understand that in less than one year, the spurs have passed on sending expirings for Camby or Tyrus Thomas (both were had for just that) nor did they pursue Brenden Haywood. They didn’t make a play for Ronnie Turiaf. They didn’t seek to trade Blair, Splitter, Bonner, or McD even if it meant landing Tyson Chandler. They didn’t go after shot-blocking role-players such as Amundson or even Joel Anthony. And they showed no interest in Shaq. I was very disappointed in all of that to varying degrees.

    Instead they showed loyalty to Blair and Bonner, and targeted Splitter. RC stated that they were not in need of bigmen and derided the idea.

    Surely you realize that there is not gonna be a trade at this juncture when the Spurs are winning and gelling. Mid-season trades hurt chemistry. They San Antonio Spurs are ALL about Chemistry.

    Randolf’s role is not much different than Splitter’s so far this year, although he had training camp to learn and earn. Splitter, meanwhile, has many times more the IQ. He is the better defender today. Randolf should be able to get 20+minutes as Amare provides enough offense for one frontcourt by himself.

    I’m not even minimally opposed to bringing a promising, long, young project into the system next summer when it is actually at least remotely possible, but I see no need to neccessarily trade for it. Your proposal could just as likely hurt the Spurs long-term as help them. Splitter and Blair will swallow McD’s minutes between them next year, and both will be above average performers.
    If you have read any of the posts I have ever written you’d have to know I see the dangers LA, Boston, and LA pose to us. But, we have no real options other than to see Blair and Splitter improve and improve some more, which is not only possible, it’s likely. There also seems to be a trend and focus on fleshing out Bonner’s game, and expanding his role on the second unit.
    If nothing else, this will escalate their trade value. In a year and a half, RC may make a trade package for a franchise bigman.

    But for now, start rooting for the guys on the roster, and root for them to surprise you.

    On a different note: I’m excited about the Portland game, I think the Blazers will bring their A-game.

  • grego

    Got to be patient with Splitter. Same as with Manu during his rookie season, why started off slow because of injury.

    Pop also has the luxury of playing it slow due to Splittler’s late start because of injury and long summer play.

    He’ll see more time shortly. Pop definitely wants to use Duncan and Dice less if he can.