San Antonio Spurs 116, Cleveland Cavaliers 92: Where the Spurs frontline is deeper than yours

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  AT&T CENTER–A year ago, the fourth quarter of a blowout win presented ample opportunity for a post on the long term potential of Ian Mahinmi or DeJuan Blair. Tonight, as the San Antonio Spurs inched ever closer to garbage time, a sudden realization hit: Matt Bonner and Tiago Splitter are currently the fourth and fifth bigs in the Spurs’ frontline rotation.

Granted, the Cleveland Cavaliers are a recently fallen team, but their end-of-the-bench counterparts in Ryan Hollins, Jawad Williams, and Leon Powe are pretty standard fare for most NBA teams. And while there is something to be said about quality and quantity–the Los Angeles Lakers offering a better but top heavy frontline–how many teams can claim their last two options on the frontline are both NBA quality rotation players?

Earlier in the week we established the possibility that the San Antonio Spurs might have the top backcourt in the league with a three-guard rotation of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and George Hill, with Parker again doing much of the heavy lifting tonight (19 points, 9 assist on 7 -11 shooting). On the receiving end of many of Parker’s passes, rookie center Tiago Splitter may have made a case for the Spurs also employing the NBA’s deepest frontline. 

Having registered DNP-CD’s in the past two games, Splitter stepped in and put up 18 points (7-10 shooting) in 26 minutes (b0th NBA career highs) on the back end of a back-to-back, allowing Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to play Tim Duncan under 20 minutes. Again,  the greatest skill on display for Splitter was length combined with an acute awareness of spacing and movement. 

Defensively it allows Splitter to keep proper spacing between ball, man, and basket in order to deter both an immediate drive and/or quick pass to a rolling big man, all the while keeping his hands vertical, making use of his height. 

“Tiago did a real fine job, he’s very fundamentally sound and he’s efficient,” Popovich said. “He’s always in the right place either defensively or offensively, he knows where he’s supposed to be.” 

Offensively, it means while tonight’s performance should not be the expectation moving forward, it certainly is something that can be replicated on any given night. Because a dominant offensive game from Tiago Splitter has little to do with his matchup or how well he’s shooting. Setting screens, finding seams in the defense, and making proper reads are something that can be controlled night in and night out, with the only variable the quality of play from the guards setting him up. 

Thus far, Tony Parker has proven to be as consistent as any point guard in the NBA. As deep as the frontline is, the offense no longer runs through the talents of Tim Duncan. Instead, each of the Spurs big men function as tools for Parker and his longtime running mate Manu Ginobili. While the Cavaliers were able to keep pace for a while, hitting half of their three-point shots (some reasonably contested), the Spurs frontline (Richard Jefferson included) quietly worked the baseline, presenting options to play off the dribble penetration of Parker and the passing exploits of Ginobili. 

In all, 32 assists on 43 field goals while shooting 53% as a team, with six players in double figures and a career night for the Spurs rookie big man. Next up, the Orlando Magic, who present the Spurs biggest test to date, as well as an interesting case study: the Spurs and their deep frontline against the Dwight Howard, arguably the best center in the game today.

  • NYC

    Holy shit! Best. Start. Ever.

  • Regan Rahardja

    Tiago is a stud. As the announcers repeatedly said, he knows the game of basketball. I’m trying not to question Pop as we won the last two games before this game against the Cavs – but for someone like Splitter not to have playing time to develop in those two games left my head (and many others) wondering. Tiago is going to be a big difference maker for our championship aspiration this season. Many believe he’ll be the starting center by the end of the season, and that’s still a good possibility. Right now, Blair is playing better and his energy, rebounding, and play has been really good for us. Be interesting to see how this develops. Does anyone else feel that Tiago should be given more time to develop – even before this game – though?

  • Hobson13

    This team is really coming together nicely. Last year, we might have had fits with a mediocre team on the second game of a back to back. This year, Manu and Tim combine for 21 points and we win this going away.

    I’m really glad Tiago, Neal, and Hill got good playing time. This will pay dividends down the road. If these three plus Anderson and Blair play to their potential, there’s no telling what we can accomplish. Pop’s strategy regarding the young guns is becoming obvious: play the big 4 large minutes when playing good teams (Utah) and let the young guys play big minutes when up against the bad ones (Cavs).

    We’ve got another big game against the Magic. Good thing the veterans didn’t log many minutes tonight (McDyess received a DNP!!). I’d like to see Pop put Splitter up against Howard for just a couple of minutes to let the rookie know what it’s like to play a world class center. Let’s beat the Magic and run our record to 12-1!!

  • manufan

    I said before that Tiago is established player. He needs playing time of the bench and some ofensive plays to run through him, just to gain confidence and see that he belongs to NBA.
    It’s simple as that.

  • junierizzle

    TIAGO!!!!!

    @Regan Rahardja

    Yes, I think we all want to see TIAGO out there more. Even though they have been winning I was wonering why POP wasn’t playing TIAGO. Then it hit me, that’s POP. I went nuts last season questioning all his rotations and different starting line ups. Well I’m done asking about TIAGO.
    Pop knows what he is doing. He knew all along TIAGO would play in this game.

    Just remember, POP is looking at the big picture. ANy other team would have TIAGO out there playing heavy minutes. POP is thinking long term.

  • SpurredOn

    Well done, Spurs. Well done. Pop has an abundance of riches, some more established than others, and can make any number of decisions based on match-ups, fouls, back-to-back, or just wanting to see how certain guys play together. Orlando is another good test and the win streak won’t go on forever (though maybe for all of November), but there is no better current team in the West. More importantly, they can get better to be the best in the end.

  • Brian in Seattle

    @Regan

    It’s certainly hard to justify a coach not giving him more PT after tonight’s performance.

  • Grego

    If Utah game wasn’t the first of a back-to-back, Tiago would have likely played.

    Also, keep in mind that Tiago has played all year long and just had an injury. It would be wise of Pop to not kill him each game, even if “developing” is the key.

    Pop has to develop Blair further as well. He needs to get Hill his confidence back as well. It looks like they are both getting their mojo back. Bonner also seems to be back on track.

    The sum of the parts appears to be getting better and better. I’m sure when Anderson is back, Neal will start to see some DNPs so they can focus on getting James enough reps.

  • ITGuy

    Great game and as always great article.

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • quincyscott

    Splitter is a longer, more talented Oberto, and I mean that as a ver big compliment. I don’t care if he starts, but his talent demands minutes.

    In last year’s finals, the Celtics came very close to beating the Lakers with a four man platoon of bigs. One of those bigs got hurt for game seven, and that fact may have tipped the scales in the Lakers’ favor. But the Lakers can be beaten this way, I believe.

  • bduran

    Spurs fans are surely agonizing over some minor things right now. Plenty of time to agonize later when we hit a bad stretch, which we will. Every team does.

    I think everyone would agree that Splitter needs time to develop. However, there are some things we have to keep in my mind. This is a good team without Splitter. Splitter missed most of training camp with an injury and started the season a bit out of shape. Pop knows this and is clearly content to bring Splitter along slowly. We are a good team and can achieve a good playoff spot without him. That, combined with the fact that there are 82 games in a season allows us to take our time with Splitter’s development.

    Obviously, we all feel like Splitter will be an important piece to achieving any of our post season aspirations. However, right now there is no rush. Splitter doesn’t have to be fully integrated into the rotation until the end of the season. If Splitter is receiving DNP CD in the second half of the season, then let the gnashing and wailing begin. I just think a lot of us are jumping the gun right now.

  • Jason

    I may be wrong about this, and maybe ya’ll can clarify it for me, but it seems that in Europe tiago would have played like 30 or so games over the course of their season. If you count preseason and playoff games, the spurs play more than 3 times as many games as he’s used to. Therefore, there’s some weird but understandable logic going on here where perhaps the spurs will focus on developing him in 1 out of every 3 games or so, at least initially, and this way he stays fresh all year… Like tantric basketball development

  • idahospur

    I just have to take the time to say thanks to the crew and those making comments here at 48MOH. Starting grad school this year, I haven’t been able to watch many Spurs games and am usually forced to watch ESPN gamecast while in my computer lab at school. Having this group making comments on what is going on has really helped me follow what’s going on.
    Keep up the good work!
    GO SPURS GO!!!!

  • Popp’s Executive Assistant

    Usually around this time Pop is working on what the rotation will be. I mean its usually late December and the rotation struggles. This year Pop and I have discussed the rotation and believe this will be it for now. Tiago will continue to get more minutes against East Coast teams that do not have a negative impact on the conference record.

    A loss is in the future but in previous years other teams have broke away in the wins column because the Spurs have struggled against weaker teams and finding the proper rotation. Hopefully those years are behind the organization. I see how dominate we are as an organization now and can only see the team getting better not only later in the year but next year as well. All I can say is watch out for the Silver & Black.

  • Francesco

    Thinking long term, we know we have a window of a couple years before TD and Manu fall to pieces, and since we do have to go through the Lakers, I suggest:

    1
    Hill, Anderson, Neal, Jefferson, Blair, Bonner, Splitter.
    Based on last season and the beginning of this one they all belong to a contending NBA team, at least for 12 valuable minutes, depending on which team they’d play.
    But they are too-many-too-good to be ALL playing for us, and yet none of them decisive. In fact they be hindering each other’s development.

    2
    Manu and Duncan (and so far Tony) are the untradable pieces: Duncan because HE IS the Spurs, Manu because what he brings overall is next to impossible to replicate.

    3
    Duncan, while he will be more incisive in the playoff, cannot consistently get the job done from the low post anymore. And like any contender, we do need a low post threat.
    Duncan can, however, be a factor in role similar to the one the Admiral had in his last few seasons.

    1+2+3=
    If the right player became available through the season or at the end of it (Marc Gasol for example), we should trade a package of our tradable players and obtain a difference maker.
    Kind of like what the Celtics did when they traded away a bunch of decent-to-very-good players for Garnett.

    Given our history, I know it’s not gonna happen

  • rj

    tiago looked fantastic. i would have liked to seen us run some iso post situations. he did have a nice left hook against varejao. i also though he moved well and impeded some guards drives to the basket. he does a great job of making himself an obstacle out there. was last night enough to move tiago up in the spurs rotation over mcdyess? any thoughts on that?

  • rob

    Hollins needs to be suspended without pay if he doesn’t stop committing flagrants. 2 of them in as many games. Tiago went down hard. Thankfully he got up, hit his free throws, and continued to have a good game.

    This time last year the Spurs couldn’t rest Duncan or McDyess. If this keeps up I agree…perhaps the deepest frontline this team has had since Robinson was on the team.

  • LilHow

    Look guys, I know that everyone is dogging Pop about not playing Splitter but you have to remember we have one of the hardest systems to learn in the game. Pop probably wants Splitter to see the system first and understand it betters so that is why he is sitting him. I was at the Utah game right behind the bench and the entire game a coach was next to Splitter asking him questions and going over what if scenarios. You can’t learn the Spurs system by reading a playbook. Splitter will get his minutes in the future like he did last night and will only improve as the season goes on. I think Pop knows Splitter is capable of playing well he just doesn’t want him to make boneheaded mistakes that a lot of rookies. I think come trade deadline Splitter with be starting with Blair, Dice, and Bonner rotating of the bench.

  • Bankshot21

    I’m amazed @ those of you who continue to question the way Pop is quarterbacking this thing. Even with my continues harping on Blair going to the bench I not once said Pop didn’t know what he was doing. This man is as cerebral as one can get and I have faith in all of his decisions. Tiago looks good. But not great. He’s developing him the way he sees fit. He developed to other international studs and those of you doubting and questioning his moves have developed 0 so I think I will trust that there’s a method to his decision making. But am I the only one who feels that Tiago makes TP look Steve Nash-ish? The way they ran that pick in roll was artistry. This was the 1st game that Pop actually figured out how to get our new big man some quality touches, and it comes after the 2 DNP’s. Did Tiago finally start executing the plays after being benched? Did Pop need Tiago to watch the pick and roll a few games from the pine to figure it out? I don’t know, but I do know that we are 11-1 and look extremely sharp on O and increasingly better on D.

    Good Job Bonner….continue to make the naysayers look foolish.

  • tradeTP

    Great start for TP and Tim….

    What concerns me about the win and the topic at hand was how high of a FG % we gave to Cleveland.

    They are a really bad team with ZERO scorers. We were out rebounded offensively and TIED with the cavs in points in the paint. I know a win is a win, but to allow a team to score half their points in the paint and give up a high fg % is not really a GLORIFIED win out versus a junk team like Cleveland.

    Tiago has looked good. TP has rebounded but is still not a top ten pg, and Manu/Tim have had a great start. Love it.
    Glad that Pop is playing Dejuan more and giving Tiago some minutes.

    Hope we are committed to winning and not just settling for playoffs again.
    GO SPURS GO

  • td4life

    Tiago’s IQ was not a revelation last night, it was just a nice showcase, he has shown that he knows where to be at both ends in every game he’s played so far. Early during last night’s performance, his +/- was not good, and we took a step back without Tim (or Dice) out there. But later on, he was great, and his tw0-man game with Parker was really fun to watch. I love the fact that we can expect him to have big nights against weaker teams, and I am looking forward to every back-to-back on the schedule this season, though sometimes we might have to turn to McDyess to try to pull out a win. I do wish Tiago would put some more air under his free throws though, (and I really do love it when we hit most of them as a team, it adds signifciantly to my sense of hope).

    Duncan seems to missing a lot of good looks. I hope that his confidence will be stellar when we need it, and that staying fresh will only result in more focus when it counts.

    Tony seems like he is making better decisions with the ball than he has in the past, and was shooting the ball pretty good last night. Looking forward to seeing that last the season. Right now Tony and Manu are our all-stars. I doubt they BOTH get the nod with Williams, Paul, and Bryant getting spots along with maybe an Ellis or a Westbrook, but surely Tony will. (If we were in the East, both our guys would be locks, as only Wade, Rose, and Rondo are any better, with Joe Johnson looking very overpaid indeed.) But that’s pretty thin gravy anyway, winning when it counts is the better glory.

    For the record, count me among the “arguers” in the Dwight Howard debate, and calling him the second best center in the NBA this season. Pau Gasol is running away with that distinction, and is the league’s MVP right now. That said, we’ll need the best from McD on Monday night. I’d prefer an orlando loss to a dallas one, that is unless we can pull off a nice 14-1 start!!!

  • http://www.operaforthemasses.com David G

    As I wrote last week here

    http://www.operaforthemasses.com/2010/11/nba-thoughts-november-16-2010.html

    The Spurs are 11 player deep! I think Duncan will end up averaging less than 20 MPG.

  • Jim Henderson

    rj
    November 21st, 2010 at 9:55 am

    “was last night enough to move tiago up in the spurs rotation over mcdyess? any thoughts on that?”

    No. Not taking anything away from Splitter, but there’s no way to read “too much into” Splitter’s performance last night. That Cav defense had to be the worst defense that we’ve seen all season. Even Varejao played clueless at times. For example, during Varejao’s 3 mins. of PT in the 4th Q, about mid way through the quarter with the game already decided, TP & TS ran the pnr on the right wing. I’ve never seen worse pnr defense in my life. Gibson was lazy on getting through the Splitter screen, and Varejao COMPLETELY ignored Splitter on the role to help double team TP at 20 ft. out! Splitter proceeds to roll to the hoop with a path wide enough for a mac truck and gets a wide open lay-in. I’d sure hate to be in the tape sessions with Byron Scott on that one. Really pathetic!

    Bankshot21
    November 21st, 2010 at 10:47 am

    “But am I the only one who feels that Tiago makes TP look Steve Nash-ish? The way they ran that pick in roll was artistry.”

    See the above comment in response to rj. The Cav’s have the 23rd ranked defense in the league, and last night they looked like 30th.

    “Good Job Bonner….continue to make the naysayers look foolish.”

    I guess you like to cherry-pick your evidence. In the previous game he was “digging us holes” with an o-6, 0-3 from three shooting performance. Bonner is a role player that can help you out if he’s hitting his shots, which usually comes against the worst teams, particularly defensively, and during the regular season, not the playoffs.

    tradeTP
    November 21st, 2010 at 10:50 am

    “…..TP has rebounded but is still not a top ten pg….”

    We know you’re not a lover of TP, but even you have to be joking about that assertion. Care to name your top ten?

    td4life
    November 21st, 2010 at 10:51 am

    “For the record, count me among the “arguers” in the Dwight Howard debate, and calling him the second best center in the NBA this season.”

    Gasol is playing out of position. He’s a PF. Howard is the best true center in the league. And for “this season”, Howard and Gasol are very close. Gasol’s more skilled all-around offensively, but Howard is better defensively/rebounding.

    per 36 stats:

    ……………..PPG …..FG% ….RPG …..APG ….BPG ….SPG

    Gasol …… 20.9 …. .544 ….. 11.5 ….. 3.8 …… 1.4 …. .6

    Howard .. 23.4 …. .586 ….. 12.1 ….. 1.5 ……. 2.9 …. 1.1

    “Pau Gasol is running away with that distinction, and is the league’s MVP right now.”

    Gasol’s in the running, but as of right now I’d say the clear choice for MVP is Chris Paul. His per 36 stats are as follows:

    Paul………. 18.6 ….. .523 …… 5.0 …. 10.8 ….. .1 …. 3.0

    Also, a three point percentage of .522, and clearly leading the upstart Hornet’s to the most impressive record in the NBA through eleven games, after finishing last season in the draft lottery. He’s one of the very best in the league at making his teammates better.

  • SG

    What do you guys think of Danny Green? Could he own the back-up SF spot? Seems like his defense is there. He’s athletic, can move his feet and has long arms. I hope he turns out into an elite defender who can hit an outside jumper. We really need help at the 3 spot….Prefer not to see three guard line-ups. Small ball is what killed us last year.

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  • Bankshot21

    Midway through reading TradeTP’s post I was about to rush to ask him to name 10 better PG’s then I paused figuring someone will have had to have already asked him. I’m not even a TP fan but what he’s doing this season thus far is all nba worthy. Can he keep it up? Time will tell. Jim, even with Bonner’s 0-6 night he’s still leading the league in 3pt percentage. He’s had more on nights than off nights.

  • Jim Henderson

    Bankshot21
    November 21st, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    “Jim, even with Bonner’s 0-6 night he’s still leading the league in 3pt percentage. He’s had more on nights than off nights.”

    Overall, so far, during the early stage of the “regular” season (after just 6 games for the red rocket), Bonner is shooting the ball very well. However, he will undoubtedly continue to “regress to the mean”. His career average over 6 full seasons is 40% (a career season high of 44%), and so expect some cold nights mixed in ahead over the next month or so (this year thus far at 64% is obviously unsustainable).

  • tarzan

    All Spurs players are playing well so far.
    But my man is Manu Ginobili. A healthy Manu is needed if the Spurs wants to see any hope of advancing toward the NBA Chanpionship.
    He is the horse for the Spurs.
    Parker is playing very good this year; he and Manu connect well on the floor.
    If Spurs continue playing like this , they’ll be unstoppable.
    When you have a healthy,talented and experienced team like the Spurs…watch out.

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  • http://www.operaforthemasses.com David G

    Speaking of Tony Parkers improved playmaking I always thought his lack of “true point guard” skills was indicative of the Spurs offense than Tony Parker. He’s always been asked to watch Tim Duncan in the post first, score for him self second. Now with Duncan in decline and a much more offensive team Tony is being asked to create offense for others more and he’s responded with 7 to 8 assists a game.

    I also think the Spurs superior ball movement and the Spurs always making the extra pass has robbed Tony Parker of an assist or two per game of his average over his career. I’ve watched Parker beat his man off the dribble, get into the lane, make the defense sink in, pass the ball out to an open teammate, only to see that open teammate pass to a even more open teammate for a three’s hundreds of times. A lot of teams the first man would have shot that shot.

  • grego

    @SG There is not enough play time to indicate if he could be that guy. What he does provide is more size at the wing, which is nice.

    Everything that he’s shown so far shows the promise. His future looks decent since Spurs don’t have anymore wing prospects.

    Although Hill not really being a PG sort of ruins it. If he were more of a ball handler, the Spurs could go with a lineup of Hill/Anderson/Green for instance. That would be a pretty athletic/quick backcourt.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com/san-antonio-spurs-116-cleveland-cavaliers-92-where-the-spurs-frontline-is-deeper-than-yours Knight7475

    I agreed, Pop should give Tiago more minutes. This guy can make a difference and everybody knows that. All he needs now is more confidence and to achieve this is longer playing time.

  • Tim in Surrey

    UnbeLIEVable! Am I referring to how the Spurs are playing? Yes! Or am I referring to the continuing complaints about the way the Spurs are playing? Yes!!

    First of all: Wow, this is fun!

    Second: Jesus, I think some of you guys would’ve criticized Phil Jackson after a Bulls loss in 1996 or second-guessed Bill Sharman when the Lakers lost for the first time in 34 games in 1972. I’m not criticizing everyone, of course. But I go away for a couple of days, the Spurs win a couple of games (including an easy road win at Utah), and I come back to posts where one guy is listing his “four biggest disappointments” of the season and several others are complaining about Pop’s rotations–even calling him an idiot!

    Some of us thought the Spurs would be a lot better this year than last year, some didn’t. A few of us (myself included) thought they would be legitimate contenders. But nobody expected THIS. They’re 11-1, and the only loss was to the other team that’s 11-1! Maybe Tiago hasn’t played as much as everyone would like, given all the advance press about him. But he did miss training camp and, as Jason pointed out, he’s coming from a league where they play fewer games with shorter durations. So it makes lots of sense to bring him along slowly.

    The miracle of all of this is Jesse’s main point: We knew the Spurs had quality and depth on the perimeter (especially once it became clear that Jefferson had improved). But is there another team in the league that, when at full strength, could afford a DNP-CD for a player of Splitter’s calibre? Would that even happen with the Lakers? No. Maybe Orlando could. Maybe.

    Anyway… sorry for the rant. I’m just stunned by how well everything has gone, considering my optimistic outlook for this season (which was probably as rosy as anyone’s) was based not on a fast start but on the expectation that the team would improve over the year–which I still expect to happen! It’s amazing to consider what might happen when they actually get Anderson back and acclimated to the system, when Tiago, Blair, and Neal have had a few months in their new roles, and when the defense really comes together. Because they’re already outclassing most of the league WITHOUT those things. If all of that happens and they remain relatively healthy (he said, unwittingly reciting a powerful injury-producing incantation), this could be the best Spurs team ever–and who thought we might be saying that?

  • http://www.bpifanconnect.com Alix Babaie

    Tim in Surrey, well said! Instead pissing and crying about how this should be better or that player should be doing this or this player can’t sustain his shooting, be thankful (especially during this Thanksgiving holiday) for what this Spurs team has given us. This team has proven, through some adversity and the growing pains of becoming a cohesive unit with some new players trying to play their roles, that they are a legitimate contender that can hang with the best teams in the NBA.

  • td4life

    Jim Henderson–
    Lamar Odom is their PF, and is putting up 14.6 on .577 to go with 10.6rpg and 3.9apg. Gasol is the lakers center and his been for most of his time since landing there in the trade, this season he owns the position. Granted Pau plays on a much more complete team, but the fact is he is not making mistakes. Dwight meanwhile is slightly overrated defensively, check out the relationship between his blocks and goaltending mentioned in the link Scott Sereday provided in his article.

    http://nbaplaybook.com/2010/03/06/the-value-of-a-blocked-shot/

    Dwight’s offense is coming along, it needs to for him to take over the title of “best big man in the game” from the best center in the West. Howard’s development has been slowed by the myopia of his organization and by his own buying into the hype he gets nationally. Pau is as much their center as Tim is ours.

  • Tim in Surrey

    @td4life –

    True enough, but that’s only because Bynum is injured. When he’s healthy, Gasol plays PF and Bynum plays center, with Odom as an insanely good backup at both forward spots.

    I’m with you, however, on Howard’s defense. He is very effective overall, partly because of his own skill and partly because of the scheme SVG has built around him, but I think the “intimidation” factor is greatly overblown by the media. And both Orlando’s defense in general and Howard’s ability to “intimidate” are bigger factors in the regular season than in a seven-game series, when teams have time to prep for a specific opponent. Orlando has some really impressive strengths as a team but also some very significant holes. In the 2009 finals, LA ran a clinic on how to beat Howard specifically and Orlando in general. While Howard has improved a bit, he still hasn’t solved his weaknesses. Personally I think Gasol is deadlier.

  • Jim Henderson

    td4life
    November 22nd, 2010 at 9:06 am

    “Lamar Odom is their PF, and is putting up 14.6 on .577 to go with 10.6rpg and 3.9apg. Gasol is the lakers center and his been for most of his time since landing there in the trade, this season he owns the position.”

    Sure, Pau has been center a good deal because of Bynum’s injury problems, but the fact is he has the mobility & versatility to play PF, and when Bynum gets back that’s where he’ll spend most of his time.

    “Dwight meanwhile is slightly overrated defensively, check out the relationship between his blocks and goaltending mentioned in the link Scott Sereday provided in his article.”

    Regardless, he’s still the best defensive center in the league, and has won two straight defensive player of the year awards.

    “Pau is as much their center as Tim is ours.”

    Not really, not when Bynum’s healthy, and because Pau is in his prime now, TD isn’t.

  • viper160

    It is great that basketball season is happening. Spurs fanatics, yes this years Spurs are better than last years Spurs. Lets all recall that the Spurs last year found numerous ways to loose games. This years Spurs are better, but lets remember that this team does in fact have some new players-just like every year that the Spurs start a season. This years version of the Spurs still has the big 3, we still have RJ, Antonio, Matt, DeJuan, and George. The new additions are Splitter, Anderson, Neal, and our newest signing from Cleveland. This team is playing great and we all like the win streak , buts be realistic there will be loses and we will all be screaming for changes. Pop has his own agenda and could care less what we think because he knows which buttons to press when he needs to. Tiago needs time to adjust to the NBA season, including the highs and lows of the season. Health is big issue for any NBA team so the better Pop manages minutes for everyone the better for this team come playoff time. Right now the Spurs are winning and even with our draft pick sitting out for 2 to 3 months recovering from ankle surgery the Spurs are playing competitive ball. Lets enjoy the ride while the team is winning, but lets also remember that it is a long season.

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