San Antonio Spurs 95, Charlotte Bobcats 91: Gregg Popovich Alvin Gentrys Larry Brown

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For the Spurs, it was their second ugly win in as many games. The box score would tell you it was a classic Gregg Popovich vs Larry Brown duel: the Bobcats were leading the Spurs 48-44 at half and the pace of the game was closer to calcifying than blistering.

The key play of the game came late: Manu Ginobili put the Spurs ahead 95-91 on a clutch driving layup. Game over.

Ginobili’s game winner was crafty. It was clutch. It was a clever hesitation dribble that bloomed into an off-the-glass fall away. But it wasn’t surprising. Hardly anything in this game was surprising, with the exception of one promising early season trend.

Most of what Gregg Popovich knows, he learned from Larry Brown. He would tell that to you straight. But Gregg Popovich won this game by taking a note from another former Larry Brown pupil, Alvin Gentry.

If you’d ask Gregg Popovich why the Spurs were swept by the Phoenix Suns in last year’s Western Conference Semifinals, he’d tell you the Spurs’ bench was beaten, and beaten badly, by the high-scoring, highly-efficient Suns bench. The Spurs’ bench couldn’t make a shot against the Suns, and Phoenix, for their part, seemed to rarely miss.

Alvin Gentry had put the pieces into play long before the playoffs. Earlier in the season, Gentry went with a rotation that saw the Suns’ “second line” begin 4th quarters. Gentry routinely rode the Goran Dragic-led Suns bench until the 6-minute mark of the 4th, gradually returning Steve Nash and other Suns starters to the floor. That carefully-groomed second line hammered the Spurs four straight games.

Fast forward to this season. Gregg Popovich is quietly constructing the Spurs’ second unit into a fierce machine. The Spurs’ bench is at least six players deep: George Hill, Antonio McDyess, Gary Neal, Tiago Splitter, James Anderson, and Matt Bonner. Gregg Popovich is using those cards to play Gentry’s hand.

With 3:57 left in tonight’s 3rd quarter, Gregg Popovich took a full timeout. The score was 64-62, San Antonio. Over the next 3:52, Pop subbed the Spurs starters out in favor of Antonio McDyess, James Anderson, George Hill, Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal. The quarter ended 71-69.

Gregg Popovich stayed with this second line for the first two and half minutes of the 4th quarter, finally subbing Manu Ginobili for James Anderson at 9:38.  76-73 Spurs. A minute later Richard Jefferson entered the game for Tiago Splitter. 80-77.

Popovich maintained the lineup of Gary Neal, George Hill, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess for the next four minutes of game time. The lead grew to 88-82, and Pop finally returned Tony Parker and Tim Duncan to the floor. All the Spurs’ starters, save DeJuan Blair, were called on to ice the game.

But for a span of almost ten minutes, Gregg Popovich relied on his bench to carry the majority of the floor minutes. And those bench players — primarily Gary Neal, who finished with 15 points on 5-7 from deep, and Antonio McDyess — took a small two-point lead and turned it into six.

The Spurs’ bench didn’t run away with the game, which makes Popovich’s gesture of confidence so remarkable. He stuck with his bench even though the score was tight. And that second line didn’t play flawlessly –  they missed shots, bumbled possessions, and clumsily ran through their offensive sets. They played decently enough, but it was far from great basketball.

It’s difficult to say whether San Antonio’s bench can mature into the  juggernaut of reserves that was last year’s Phoenix Suns. But it’s clear Gregg Popovich is going to give the bench time to grow. He’s going to lean on them in tough situations. Popovich has invested in the task of confidence-building. It’s a long term play that might become the story of the Spurs’ season.

  • Jim Henderson

    ThatBigGuy
    November 9th, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    “I would contend that he is being neutralized. His minutes are up, yet his rebound rate (20.6 vs 17.2) and rebounds per 40 mins (14.1 vs 11.7) are down significantly from last year. His points per 40 mins difference is awful (17.1 vs 7.7).”

    He needs time adapt to playing with TD and the first unit. TD is still more the focal point on our front line, so unless TD’s numbers come down a bit to accommodate Blair, Blair’s numbers will be down no matter how realistically efficient he could be (by the way, most coaches would be happy with an 11.7 per 40 rebound rate). But that does not mean that Blair is a poor partner with TD. They just need some more time together, and Blair needs to continue to work on his game. People don’t seem to understand that he’s just 21 years old. There are going to be growing pains, and they won’t disappear overnight. One cannot possibly properly evaluate a young player’s performance on just 5-6 games this season in the starting line-up.

    “Blair’s “jumpshot” stats are as follows: 0-2 15ft, 0-3 9ft, 1-3 8ft, 2-3 7ft. In my mind, only the 15 footers count as true jumpers, so he’s only really been out of rebounding position for 5% (2-40 FGA’s) of the time he took a shot. So his supposed increase in jumpers doesn’t seem to be real, nor does it affect his position and ability to rebound.”

    The fact is the sample size is MUCH too small to come to any even fairly firm conclusions.

    “He’s just having a lousy season all around and that truly bums me out because if he could revert back to rookie year form, we’d be somewhere north of formidable.”

    What’s with all the impatience? We don’t want him to forever stay the way he was last year. Look, the guy is just 21 years old. He’s got potentially 15 YEARS in front of him and you’re worried about his shooting percentage after just 6 GAMES? Let’s try and control our disappointment more, and gain some perspective here. Okay?

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

    It’s way too early in the season to “bench” Blair. He is still figuring out how he fits in amongst the starters.

    I like the touch passes. He finally knows where the other players are going to be on the court for different sets.

    I like his post up defense. He knows how to play defense when a bigger player tries to post him up. He’s very active and strong as an ox. His size is not a problem in this regard.

    More than anything else, I want Blair to finish stronger at the rim. If I see too many more missed layups or put backs I’m going to go mental. That is his game. He needs to use his width and strength to finish better. He has the shoulder width and arm length to be able to finish much, much better.

  • Jim Henderson

    ThatBigGuy
    November 9th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    “As you’ve pointed out before, he had 23 starts last year, so I don’t buy this argument.”

    23 games are not enough, at TWENTY years old. You’re expectations need to be tamped down some. And you appear to be completely discounting the intermediate to long-term perspective. Blair’s at a very impressionable stage in his young career. We need to give him as much confidence as we can right now. The best way to do that is to give him significant playing time against player’s that are comparable to or better than him. Playing him with the 1st team, and against opponent starters accomplishes this. Blair’s production & efficiency numbers will come up with time. bduran has even already detected a modest & short-term trend in that direction and its only been 6 games. And bduran’s right, scoring is not going to be Blair’s emphasis right now anyways with TD, RJ’s emergence, and the rest of our potent weapons in the line-up.

  • Jim Henderson

    Lenneezz
    November 9th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Yes, all fine points. But again, patience, it will all come in due time.

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ Jim

    There’s no disappointment at all. We’re 5-1, so all of our arguments are needlessly nitpicky by default. I think we could be 3% better with a confident Blair coming off the bench, while you think we could be 3% better once Blair works through his struggles. We’ll never be able to compare ideologies concretely because Blair can’t start and come off the bench at the same time. I know this, and so I just toss out ideas and stats to back up my assertions in a “Devil’s Advocate” sort of way.

    Just don’t call me impatient, disappointed, or lacking perspective. I am neither one of those three things and I would never assume you to be either.

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

    When it comes to Blair’s development, I have no problem giving him more time with the 1st unit. I just think he might need to get a bit nastier down low. God gave basketball players elbows and shoulders for a reason. DJB needs to use them to clear some space so he can finish. I believe in DeJuan and I think he’ll figure it out over time. Pop is doing the right thing by sticking with him, imo.

  • BigJ

    As Andrew noted on ESPN’s live game blog this was one of those games the Spurs managed to lose last year. It’s nice to see the win.

    I too am excited about the start. I’ll feel better about all things Spurs if they show the same consistency throughout the remaining 11 games this month where the competition steps up a few notches, especially with in the next two weeks.

    GO SPURS GO!

  • rj

    im becoming a fan of blair’s oberto impersonations. his interior passing is something out of the FIBA worlds. its good to see him set easy looks for timmy. splitter should eventually display the euro passes when he becomes more acclimated. this is a terrific article. withan aging core, we have to develop these rooks into contributors. what i hope is that since there are so many, one guy won’t feel all the pressure to become major factors in the playoffs. if only we implemented this with mahinmi and hairston, but i our new younguns are more nba ready

  • td4life

    re: D Blair

    I am glad to see him starting games. It doesn’t really matter who starts, and against big teams we match up poorly against, Timmy and Dice will get the key fourth quarter minutes in the fourth.

    We know DB can produce when paired with a Dice or Bonner, and after a dozen games coach Pop may move him to the bench or give him more second unit minutes. But we don’t want Dice to start, because he is such a steady hand, and we need to save him for the “real season,” and I for one don’t want Bonner to start, and don’t believe the Rocket needs to gain experience with the starters. The question is who will Tiago share the frontcourt with as he gets in shape. Also, Tiago doesn’t know the systems yet.

    If we keep playing like this, we are gonna lose badly against real competition, but hopefully we are growing with each game. In this role, DB may never have great stats, but it can only help him down the line… that said, I am not convinced that he won’t ultimately be an energy-off-the-bench material, or otherwise be get limited minutes playing his game in the paste regardless of whether he’s a starter or not (because I just can’t imagine a 6’6″-6’7″center carrying a team)… but now is the time to see what else he can be.

  • td4life

    don’t why “paste” is there instead of “paint”

    sorry for the other typos as well.

  • mac

    FYI:
    foxsports power rankings have the Spurs ranked 5th, and give appropriate love to Ginobili in the headline. Fox always seems to give more love to the Spurs than most other mass media. Jason Whitlock even calls the Spurs among the “contenders,” while naming the Hornets and Magic “pretenders.”

    On the other hand, they also say the Lakers are poised to get 73 wins (didn’t read the article).

    Hollinger, on the other hand, has the Spurs 13th in his power rankings, even though the his numbers should have them 11th ahead of the Mavs, I guess because of our creampuff schedule.

    For my part, I’d say the truth is somewhere between.

    As for Blair, I agree with rj’s take above.

  • mac

    Dunleavy hung 31 on the Nuggets, and the Pacers scored 54 in the 3rd. What the huh??

  • Bentley

    mac

    yeah and the fact that they made 20 straight shots and were one stupid josh mcroberts three point attempt away from shooting 100% for the quarter.

    wow.

  • rob

    I don’t get why so many say if only the Spurs would have played Mahinmi or Hairston more.

    The fact is they had their chance and though they might have shined in a single game or a single moment….they never could put together back to back or consistent enough play to warrant helping the Spurs.

    This should be evident in Mahinmis role in Dallas or Hairston now in europe. If they were as good as some thought they could have been…they would be on another nba team proving the Spurs wrong via their time on the court with that other team. It ain’t happening. So apparently the Spurs coaching staff knew exactly what they were doing.

    Look…just because players like Parker and Ginobili who have become all stars out of “who the heck are these guys” when drafted…doesn’t mean they all will become those type of players in this league just because the Spurs drafted them.

    They didn’t fit. They couldn’t perform on a consistent basis. And it’s time to let it go.

    Not every player selected is going to become a perinial all star for this team. Or even an integeral part of this team. And that happens with every team in the league.

  • Jim Henderson

    mac
    November 9th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    “On the other hand, they also say the Lakers are poised to get 73 wins (didn’t read the article).”

    Anybody that claims the Lakers will win 73 games this season has no credibility, and shouldn’t even think about quitting his day job. That’s almost as far-fetched as suggesting the Heat will win 69.

  • mac

    Jim Henderson,

    True that. But you know the modern media trend to say all kinds things just to be a little different and, more than anything else, get a reaction. I am sure readers on this site know that the foxsports crew is hardly spot on, despite their love of the Spurs.

  • td4life

    Paul Milsap and DeJuan Blair…

    I’ve said for for 2 years that I’d rather have Milsap on my team instead of any of the big free agent PFs of Boozer, Bosh, Lee, or Stoudamire, and payroll/cap was part of my reasoning… but I certainly didn’t expect Milsap to average (small sample size) 27 & 11 as he is this season. Tonight he had 46 and 9 (versus Bosh’s 17 & 9) in an overtime win in Miami.

    I used to think of Milsap as a Malik Rose type of player. And I often have to resist comparing Blair to Rose as well. Partially because of injuries, Milsap got a lot of development in his young career. At this point he has seems to have added a 3 to his game, and carried his team to tie the game tonight. Of the 3 players I have named here, Milsap is poised to have the best career largely because he has been given the PT and a large role. If Boozer and Okur hadn’t been so injury prone, his career would likely have been very much like Malik’s.

    The right coach for the right player has a lot to do with performance, as Okafor and Brand seem to be demonstrating this season.

    One thing, however, that seems to be overlooked when it comes to harnessing talent in many cases is the importance of getting heavy game time, and demanding roles. I don’t want to get caught up here with citing examples, or acknowledging the ample counter examples. But, honestly, why David Kahn isn’t just giving Wesley Johnson the PT, but chose to draft and trade for 3 other SFs doesn’t make any sense when they are a bottom-feeder either way. If we didn’t have a need for TP the year we drafted him, he might have had Barbosa’s career or worse.

    Malik used to complain excessively about his limited role and minutes. Given a chance, he might have been a double-double threat most nights, as he was in the playoffs when starting for TD against Seattle. He also developed a 3 pointer as asked, and then was told to shelve it and play a simpler, limited role. Milsap, by contrast, has been given the freedom to grow in ways few would have imagined.

    As I stated in another comment above, I am not sure that Blair won’t end up being a great Malik Rose kind of super scrappy back up. But I am dead set against condemning him to that future after his first few games as a starter. Maybe Mike Conley and Mario Chalmers were given too big a role for too long. Kwame Brown and Yi Jianlian certainly were. But I’m certainly glad Popovich is pushing Blair to see what he might someday become.

  • td4life

    regarding Dampier:

    the fact that someone like, at the very least, eric dampier is not on our roster makes me think we are not seriously trying to challenge the lakers… I know that it’s more accurrate to say that Pop&RC are happy with our current roster of bigs for all competitive purposes.

    On the other hand, let’s be realistic, dampier wouldn’t add much, when you consider that we are already trying to integrate two young bigs and 3 rookies. To best utilize Damp, we’d have to play him and let the guys get used to one another. A young guy who is humbe and hard-working makes more sense if you are just gonna throw him in there when the others are in foul trouble in moments few and far between. But whatever… I’ve said it over and over again: get used to the guys we’ve got, until next summer.

  • Jim Henderson

    I’m sure we’d all love for Blair to reach his potential as a player, and the sooner the better. But what is the most realistic upside path for Blair, and how long could it take for him to get there? I think the comparisons to Paul Millsap of the Jazz are pretty uncanny. Millsap is in his 5th year with the Jazz, his first without Carlos Boozer (and Okur is out injured still). But let’s take a peak back in time, to the months leading up to Millsap being drafted in the second round, at pick #47 (Blair was 2nd round, #37). The following are a few excerpts from Draft Express on Millsap (age 21 – same age as Blair now) in the Spring of 2006.

    February, 2006

    “Millsap has one position and one position only at the NBA level: power forward. He is too wide and not skilled or athletic enough to consider making him a 3, and is a couple of inches too short to keep him at the center position which he currently occupies.

    He’s clearly uncomfortable operating outside of 12 feet, possessing very basic ball-handling skills and not enough range on his jump shot, at least not on a consistent basis.

    “Millsap hasn’t really been challenged to improve his offensive skill level in college because of the competition he’s gone up against. He can bully his man in the paint and get 2 points almost whenever he pleases, so there is no reason for him or his coach to make things more difficult on him.”

    June, 2006

    “As one of the players with the highest expectations coming into the camp, Millsap was somewhat disappointing here, although he played solid at times. His athleticism did not look as good as it once did playing in the WAC conference, and his body carries too much weight for his size. To reach peak physical condition, he will have to drop about 15 pounds and work on becoming quicker and more explosive around the hoop. On the offensive end of the floor, Millsap lacks touch around the rim, though he has a few nice moves. His footwork is slow but solid, but it does no good when you are unable to finish inside. On one occasion, he backed his player down and tried to spin the other direction to finish a hook with his left hand. It was a nice move, but the hook was so off that it barely hit the right side of the backboard. Right now, Millsap is good at drawing fouls, and knows when he has his man off balance enough. This led to a number of free throw attempts, but his shooting stroke needs a lot of work. During one game, he went 1 of 8 from the free throw line. In addition, Millsap doesn’t have the face the basket game that a power forward needs. If he had the size to play center, he would be fine, but at 6-7 he will have to develop some touch from the mid-range area.”

    From DraftExpress.com http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Paul-Millsap-299/#ixzz14rIAVjFW
    http://www.draftexpress.com

    In fact Blair & Millsap’s college careers were quite similar. Both were undersized centers and rebounding champions in their respective conferences, and were “lunch pail carrying” stars on their respective teams’. Compare their college stats per 40 at Draft Express if you’re interested. And remember, Millsap’s conference, the WAC, is not as strong as is Blair’s,The Big East.

    Let’s briefly compare some physical measurements on Millsap & Blair:

    …………….Height….Weight…W.Span…S.Reach..MaxVert.
    Millsap: …6’7.25″ …. 258……. 7’1.5″…… 8’9.5″ … 32.5

    Blair: …….6’6.5″ …… 277…….. 7’2″ ……. 8’10.5″ … 33.0

    Blair has trimmed down considerably since he came into the league. There’s no way he goes for 277 lbs. now. I’d say 265, max. He’s still a bit bigger in girth than Millsap, otherwise the basic physical measurements above couldn’t be any closer.

    Basic Rookie NBA Season Stats (Blair came into the league a year younger than Millsap):

    ……………..MPG. ….PPG. …RPG. …SPG. …BPG.

    Millsap: … 18.0 ….. 6.8 ….. 5.2 …… .8 ……. .9

    Blair: ……. 18.2 ….. 7.8 ….. 6.4 …… .6 ……. .5

    2nd year, Millsap:

    …………….. 20.8 ….. 8.1 ….. 5.6 …… .9 ……. .9

    3rd year, Millsap:

    …………….. 30.1 ….. 13.5 …. 8.6 …… 1.0 ….. 1.0

    4th year, Millsap:

    …………….. 27.8 ….. 11.6 …. 6.8 …… .8 ……. 1.2

    I’ll let you look up his stats so far this year (his 5th in the NBA) through 7 games. But if you haven’t heard, in tonight’s game Millsap pretty much single-handedly abused the number one defensive rated Miami Heat (through 7 games) tonight on the road in Miami. His line for the game is at the following link if you haven’t seen it, and are interested:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore?gid=2010110914&old_bs=1

    The point of all this is that it often takes quite some time for “lunch pail” guys like Millsap & Blair to truly find their mark in the NBA. Many stars today didn’t waltz into the league ready to dominate like Tim Duncan, but ultimately become all-star caliber players. And Millsap may just be making another leap in year FIVE, if the first 7 games this season are any indication (now without Boozer, and Okur out with injury). Blair’s at the very beginning of year TWO, and he started a year younger than Millsap. In addition, he’s got the GOAT PF to share space with on our front line.

    Utah developed Millsap well, and Millsap has a great work ethic, just like Blair. The only reason Millsap hasn’t earned a starting role sooner was because they needed some height on their front line, and went with the experienced Okur. I think Millsap has been starter material for some time, but they could not afford to start two undersized power forwards (Boozer is lucky if he’s 6’8″). We don’t have that problem with TD at 6’11″. I think Blair would still develop if continued to spend much of his time this year as a reserve, but I think his overall understanding of the game would mature faster as long as he can perform well-enough to remain a starter. And I think he will.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Hobson
    “Dampier would be a decent pickup if we could get him for a decent price. I’d like to get a younger player to build on, but that may not be likely. It does interest me why several teams have passed on him over the summer. He can’t have much more gas in the tank at his age.”

    I agree with you that it would be ideal to get a younger player who could develop. But unfortunately that is not available. I mentioned Dampier since he is available and would plug a short term hole. Even if we could bring him in late like a PJ brown type of role. That would help out against the bigger teams. Also I hear one of the problems is that he would want a multi year deal. I would be willing to do 1 year guaranteed with a 2nd year team option.

    @Jim
    “If he’s truly okay with having variable playing time and averaging about 15 mpg. I’d love to have him. It would also require Bonner to be a situational player with very limited minutes.”

    That would be ideal. Bonner should only be a situational player or a trade chip.

    @td4life
    I would have to disagree with your assessment of Dampier’s value. Dampier is a playoff tested veteran who could give us a few rebounds, points, and fouls against the bigger front lines. PJ brown came in late in the season and helped the celtics win a championship. No one is saying dampier is going to be the savior. But to say he wouldn’t add much I think is an understatement. Also it would be beneficial to bring him in later as so he is more fresh to do the dirty work in the paint during a long playoff run. This also allows popovich to incorporate his 3 rookies into the system and then only have to plug in Dampier come playoff time.

    I think it would be beneficial to have dampier putting a body on bynum, shaq, howard, or whatever big guy that eats up space, rather than have duncan wear down guarding those guys. Splitter does not have the bulk to guard the bigger guys, neither does mcdyess , and blair not enough height.

  • Jim Henderson

    spursfanbayarea
    November 10th, 2010 at 12:26 am

    I agree with your take on Dampier.

  • Jim Henderson

    td4life
    November 9th, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    “Paul Milsap and DeJuan Blair…”

    I guess we were thinking about the same topic about the same time. I recently submitted a rather long post on the Blair/Millsap subject. Unfortunately, my comment is “awaiting moderation”, probably because I included a couple of links with it. Hopefully it will come through soon.

  • Flavor

    Lakers are good, but some of you are closet laker fans I swear…. as Pop would say, at the end of the day it’s basketball…. I say: numbers lie…

  • Flavor

    Ps: damper is not going to bother anyone who is going to be in the playoffs….

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    All,

    In my estimation the Spurs would do well to swing big between now and the trade deadline. The team is solid, but probably not tier 1. Dampier is just a waste of space. But in order to get a good player back, they’ll have to give one up.

    If I was R.C. Buford, I’d test the trade value of DeJuan Blair and George Hill. They’re both fine players, but they’re replaceable. Blair is, I think, a big question mark given the length of contending frontcourts. Would Milwaukee give up Luc Richard Mbah a Moute for Blair? Thaddeus Young is playing fewer minutes because of the arrival of Evan Turner, would Philadelphia consider a deal with the Spurs? Is Blair and a first round pick enough for, say, Anthony Randolph? Greg Oden?

    I’m just throwing out ideas. But the Spurs are an impact piece away, with precious few minutes currently available for an impact player, if they landed one. They’ll have to create minutes in a trade too.

    In my estimation, they have two pressing needs: a defensive-minded combo forward and a shot blocker with length enough to mess with Gasol, Howard, Bynum, KG, Perkins, Bosh, etc…

    The rumor involving Anderson Varejao is interesting, but there isn’t a trade that makes sense for him. Not that I see, at least.

    If they can’t find a quality player who fills one of these needs, they should just stand pat. Every team has a hole or two. Their current roster is alright.

  • td4life

    Varner–

    “In my estimation the Spurs would do well to swing big between now and the trade deadline. The team is solid, but probably not tier 1.”

    Amen.

    I whole-heartedly agree. Over the past year, I have suggested parting with assets to acquire Tyrus Thomas, Tyson Chandler, Turiaf and others. Most Spurs fans are unwilling to let go of upside. I think the Clippers have to listen to trade offers for Kamen at this point, whereas his injury history should make them less likely to consider parting with Jordon. I am not saying he’s the move for us, but trades are always out there. (If I am the Clippers, I’d look at trading pieces with Cleveland… but maybe a savvy 3rd team could orchestrate some deals to their own advantage?)

    After the SA FO’s conservatism, I see no reason to expect that they’ll “swing big” now, but am happy to see you write this even if it’s only when you are down here with the in the cheapseats with your microphone turned off, in your casual wear, sans bowtie.

  • Tyler

    @Tim Varner

    This will be an interesting year concerning trades. With the upcoming CBA negotiations, a team might be able to grab some valuable pieces. And what better position to be in – our owner is privy to all the negotiations.

    And I do agree. Of all our young pieces, and even though I really like him, I think what Blair brings to the table is the most easily replaceable.

    Of the players you mentioned, I see Oden and Varejao as the best fits. Obviously Oden comes with the most risk, but also the most upside. Trading for him (he is in the last year of his contract) would truly be swinging for the fences. However, I’m sure Portland will take a wait-and-see approach with him; they’ll wait to see how he looks when he return from injury. If he looks good, the price may go up beyond what we can afford. And with as many bigs as they have, Hill might look more attractive.

    As for Varejao, he’s tailor-made for the Spurs. I always thought he was the 2nd best player for the Cavs. He does the little things that don’t show up in a box score and would be dynamite on this Spurs team (not to mention we’d shatter the record for flops as a team with Manu, Varejao, and Splitter). But as you touched on, I don’t see how we make this deal happen without a 3rd team.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    Oden is interesting, but, as everyone knows, problematic. He and Varejao also represent a contract problem: the Spurs would probably have to give up Bonner and Dice to make the contracts work. To my mind, that’s too much. And Cleveland and Portland–and so we’re not mistaken, we’re just spit-balling here–would want more value back.

  • Bankshot21

    Blair’s insertion into the starting line up is not similar to Millsap’s. As some have stated, Paul got the nod once the better players were injured. It was insertion because of necessity. With Blair it is purely experimental. We know Dyess is playing better and saw many of the starts last season. Blair know’s if he ef’s up there is a more talented big able to come in and replace him. That’s good for his confidence? 1st you all said 2 games wasn’t enough to gauge his worth…then add on 2 more games and 4 poor games isn’t enough to pull him…tack on 2 more and we’re up 2 six games played this season and its still not enough. That’s not including the nose dive his stats took in the preseason. I love the kid, I just want to see him out of the starting line up. Its not the best way to utilize him. And those of you opposed I can see why. The 1st few preseason games were nice but it was fool’s gold. A few bad games is too small a sample size but a few good preseason games isn’t? Come on people. Put your glasses on and read the writing on the wall.

  • td4life

    Varner mentioned Thaddeus Young.

    He is an example of a guy who has been underdeveloped on his team, and is certainly in a bad roster situation this year. Meanwhile, Al Thornton is surprising some people now that he’s finally getting a chance, after some more roster juggling in DC and with Josh Howard still injured. I like both of these players and still think they both have upside, but the only way I consider going after a one-position guy at the SF spot, is if we part with a guard to make way for Jamces Anderson’s minutes there… don’t think Philly or DC need guards. What’s more, if we believe that RJ will continue to play well, I’d much rather we acquire a big guy if we are gonna part with real assets in a trade.

  • td4life

    Bankshot21,

    one of my main points was that Utah was lucky that they were forced to develop Milsap, who may be a ultimately be better a fit for them than the big money guys Boozer, Kirilinko, and Okur. If he had spent his early career as scrappy sub, he likely would never have ever become anything more than that. If Sloan had the foresight he would have been wise to develop Milsap regardless of the health of his roster, as Pop is doing now. Why would Sloan have done that? Because Okur and Boozer are not enough. Neither are Splitter and TD (not even with Dice who’s in his last year before retirement, and who was acquired to be saved for the playoffs.)

    I doubt DB puts up great numbers this year regardless of which unit he plays with, but I am not oppossed to him developing his intangibles even if he returns to a lesser carreer path later on… and with his head and heart, I think he can eventually be able to improve his d and shoot the ball pretty well. Because Splitter and this Duncan are not the Twin Towers, we need much more than a scrappy sub. Unless you are gonna trade the guy, develop him.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Tim
    So you want to give up on our only young talent that we will have post big three. If you want to swing big and go for one last title, thats okay. But you are not going to get a big impact player by giving up blair or hill. Their both on rookie contracts and make less than a million. You can not get equal value in return in trading for them.

    Randolph is the biggest tease out there. He is the classic “potential” guy. He should, could but never does. Reminds me of a tim thomas. Should have been super great. Had all the potential in the world. Potential is a scary word.

    If you wanted to get varejo you would have to give up 2 starters for one. A trade of blair and mcdyess works number wise. Although Varejo would help us defensively we would definitely miss out on mcdyess clutch plays, and sweet mid range jumper.

    If you want to swing big, then you should consider trading parker. We are loaded in the backcourt. We have Hill, Neal, Ginobilli, Anderson who we could play in the backcourt. A trade of parker could get us either a stud defensive sf or a shot blocking big without having to change to much.

  • Bankshot21

    Development does not equate to starting. Playing against the oppositions best players is getting him into foul trouble. He is not going to be given te benefit of the doubt given his reputation as a scrappy player against the better talent. He will almost always get the bad end of the call. Him and TD can not crash together. Why waste his rebounding ability alongside an already legendary rebounder in TD. Like I said…I like the guy’s game, I just feel that currently it better suits the need of our bench.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    @spursfanbayarea.

    We’re not very far apart in our assessment, although I think Parker is a much better player than Hill. I’m suggesting we move a young player for another young player, not that we trade away young for old. Notice that all the player’s I mentioned trading for are relatively young. Blair for Young is an example of two teams swapping promising young players that fit better on the other’s roster.

    If Blair doesn’t soon improve his play, he’s the Spurs’ 5th big. He could excel on another team, one that is not in win now mode.

    Young–again, these are just random examples–could play small ball 4 and back up Jefferson. Anderson can move between the two and the three. Pop could still find him minutes. But I don’t think anyone is expecting Anderson to play big in the playoffs. He’s a rookie. The Spurs need a more proven player for the postseason.

  • mac

    Jim and td4′s points regarding Milsap and Blair is well taken.

    Rondo was considered the weak link when the Big 3 were assembled in Boston, and he started to come on big as they started their first playoff run.

    Perkins was another guy, they were plenty of cries to marginalize him in favor of bringing is C-Webb. Perk took a little longer than Rondo, with some vets taking over for him when it mattered most, but he was their starter, and became a much more important part of that team’s chances in subsequent seasons.

    I agree withBankshot21′s last comments to an extent, but I think the others are arguing that moving DB from to the PF spot offers more long-term upside than playing him with Bonner or McDyess would, even if it’s a bigger experiment.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    Here’s the thing: DB can not play power forward until he’s able to consistently knockdown a jumper. Otherwise, he’s a center. He’s made progress, but he’s a year or two away. Until then, he’s a center.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Luc Mbah a Moute for Hill works on the NBA trade machine, as they have the exact same salaries. Hill would be an inprovement at guard and we’d get a guy who can guard 4 positions. However, we’d be playing 4 on 5 offensively as he’s terrible on O. Hollinger predicts a +1 win increase for us.

    If we trade Blair for Mbah a Moute, we’d increase our win total by +3. However, the Bucks have 3 guys ahead of him on the depth chart. They only have 4 total big men, so they might be in the market for a rebounder with good passing skills.

    Mbah a Moute could give us a Bowen-like defender, but could we keep him in the game during the clutch? As we stand now, Anderson and RJ are average defenders but they are legitimate threats to score. Maybe Chip could give Mbah a Moute a corner 3 in 2 weeks?

  • Jim Henderson

    Timothy Varner
    November 10th, 2010 at 6:20 am

    “Dampier is just a waste of space.”

    Not in the playoffs. Our primary bigs are too inexperienced, too small (short and light) and/or too old to effectively go up against LA or Boston this year. Dampier could help rectify all of these weaknesses to some extent. He’s got at least one or two productive years in front of him in the right situation. And we don’t have to give up anybody else of short or long-term value to get him. Barring a major trade, inevitably involving TP, the only way we pull off a miracle and win this year is to have effective front court match-ups by committee to tag team the likes of LA & Boston’s front lines.

    “If I was R.C. Buford, I’d test the trade value of DeJuan Blair and George Hill. They’re both fine players, but they’re replaceable. Blair is, I think, a big question mark given the length of contending frontcourts.”

    Paul Millsap was replaceable when he was 21 years old too. Do you think the Jazz are ecstatic right now, in year five, that they held on to him, and developed him? As I pointed out in a previous post, Blair and Millsap are quite similar. Over time, length has not been a problem for Millsap, and Blair has a longer standing reach, and a higher max vertical. I’m not trading my best “very young” assets for guys like Young & Moute. And why would we need Evan Turner? With RJ on a long-term contract and playing like he is, Manu set as the go-to SG for 3 years, and the potential there is for Anderson, why bother giving up potentially very valuable long-term assets for Turner, a totally unproven NBA player?

    “Is Blair and a first round pick enough for, say, Anthony Randolph? Greg Oden?

    Would not do that for Randolph. And considering Oden at this point is opening up a can of worms. If Oden comes back, has an injury-free year, and performs well, I do the trade. If he does, Portland doesn’t. And Portland might not even do it now, and I doubt I would either. Too injury-plagued early in his career to take on that risk. Blair is dependable (only player to play all 82 last season), has a great attitude and work ethic, and is coachable, all important intangibles that are easily taken for granted.

    “In my estimation, they have two pressing needs: a defensive-minded combo forward and a shot blocker with length enough to mess with Gasol, Howard, Bynum, KG, Perkins, Bosh, etc…”

    This is something many of us have been harping on for months. But what are the best solutions? I for one am not prepared to mortgage my future for the still remote chance of winning NOW. Nobody is going to give us a young star big without getting one of our stars, and a star big is what it would take to give this team a reasonable chance of taking out LA. For example, nobody is going to even give us a guy like Roy Hibbert for Blair & Hill. Ultimately there’s no getting around it, we’d have to package Parker to the right team to try and get back what we need to truly compete with LA, and even that would involve some luck — and risk, unless we get the perfect pieces in return.

    Tyler
    November 10th, 2010 at 8:10 am

    “Of all our young pieces, and even though I really like him, I think what Blair brings to the table is the most easily replaceable.”

    Again I ask, is Paul Millsap easily replaceable? Do you know anyone in the league that does what he does? Certainly not for 7 mil. per year. Blair is VERY similar to Paul Millsap at the same age. But the problem is, most Spur fans on here want to mortgage away our future with the pipe dream of winning a title before decline really sets in with TD/Manu. WRONG strategy, particularly if one cares about the overall long-term health of the franchise.

    “Obviously Oden comes with the most risk, but also the most upside. Trading for him (he is in the last year of his contract) would truly be swinging for the fences.”

    Yeah, with the heavy risk of striking out ….. “looking”.

    “As for Varejao, he’s tailor-made for the Spurs. I always thought he was the 2nd best player for the Cavs.”

    I like Varejao, but he’s almost identical to what we hope Splitter becomes in the very near future. Why go after him? Too short-term thinking for me.

    Bankshot21
    November 10th, 2010 at 8:20 am

    There’s no use reasoning with you. You just don’t get it. I’m done.

    td4life
    November 10th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    “one of my main points was that Utah was lucky that they were forced to develop Milsap, who may be a ultimately be better a fit for them than the big money guys Boozer, Kirilinko, and Okur. If he had spent his early career as scrappy sub, he likely would never have ever become anything more than that. If Sloan had the foresight he would have been wise to develop Milsap regardless of the health of his roster, as Pop is doing now. Why would Sloan have done that? Because Okur and Boozer are not enough. Neither are Splitter and TD (not even with Dice who’s in his last year before retirement, and who was acquired to be saved for the playoffs.)”

    Exactly! That’s what talent evaluation & player development are all about. Someone truly gets it! Well said.

    spursfanbayarea
    November 10th, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Very solid post. Spot on.

    mac
    November 10th, 2010 at 9:52 am

    “Perkins was another guy, they were plenty of cries to marginalize him in favor of bringing is C-Webb. Perk took a little longer than Rondo, with some vets taking over for him when it mattered most, but he was their starter, and became a much more important part of that team’s chances in subsequent seasons.”

    Very good example. Another one gets it. Nice job, Mac!

    Timothy Varner
    November 10th, 2010 at 9:43 am

    “If Blair doesn’t soon improve his play, he’s the Spurs’ 5th big. He could excel on another team, one that is not in win now mode.”

    What’s with the impatience with Blair after just SIX games? What, you’re willing to give him 10, 15, 20 games, when his potential is for 10 very good YEARS? Blair does things that don’t show up in the box score that other player’s don’t do. Regardless of schedule, we’re 5-1 with him in the starting line-up. How can you argue with that? We don’t want him to excel on another team, do we?. We want to develop him to excel on this team. Every team is in “win now” mode. And every team needs to be smart about how to get there. A few have a clearer path (e.g., LA), ours is muddled, and nobody’s going to clear that up by pulling out a machette. If we wanted a remote but reasonable chance to win a title this year without trading TP, we should have signed a guy like Lou Amundson. But as you know, we punted instead, and re-signed Matt Bonner.

    Timothy Varner
    November 10th, 2010 at 9:59 am

    “Here’s the thing: DB can not play power forward until he’s able to consistently knockdown a jumper. Otherwise, he’s a center. He’s made progress, but he’s a year or two away. Until then, he’s a center.”

    I disagree. Until DeJuan gets a more dependable mid-range jumper he’s a center on offense, and a PF on defense. At this late stage in TD’s career, he’s a PF on offense, and a center on defense. They compliment each other fine until DB continues to show progress on his game. Trading Blair (won’t get back equal value for what his long-term value suggests) or pulling back on the intensity of his in-game development is not the answer.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    Ladies and gents,

    I’m fan of Blair. I think he’ll be a good player. I don’t want anyone to read my trade hypotheticals as a vote against Blair.

    But I also think that very few players are sacrosanct. I’d take back someone else’s good young player in exchange for our good young player, if the deal made sense. That’s the point. I shouldn’t have brought names into it. That always complicates stuff.

    Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is a blackhole on offense, but he’s probably the best perimeter defender in basketball. He might not be able to score a point on the court, but his defense scores points with me. And he can legitimately guard 4 positions. Would I give up DeJuan Blair for that? Probably.

  • Jim Henderson

    “But I also think that very few players are sacrosanct.”

    Sure, but that’s not really the point here. The point is not that I or anybody else wouldn’t trade Blair for virtually anyone. After all, he’s not Tim Duncan. The point is, are we going to get equal value back for him, and not just over the SHORT-TERM, but for the LONG-TERM as well. I say it’s unlikely at this point.

    “I’m fan of Blair. I think he’ll be a good player.”

    The thing is, he’s already a good player at age 21. He could become a VERY GOOD player, perhaps even an occasional all-star someday. And we’re not going to get enough back to let that kind of promise go at this point. What do you think the Jazz would have gotten for Millsap 4 years ago? Not that much.

    “Luc Richard Mbah a Moute ….. Would I give up DeJuan Blair for that? Probably.”

    I like Moute, but I like Blair better. I would not do that deal. Hill for Moute, maybe, because of “need”, but not Blair. And besides, it’s very unlikely that Moute would be enough to put us over the top this year.

  • SAJKinBigD

    About Dampier: I live in Dallas, and the dude’s got attitude issues and hands of stone. I’d honestly rather have what we have than bring him in here – crud, bring Richards in as-is and I’d be happier than seeing Erika Dampier on the court in Silver and Black.

  • Hobson13

    Wow! This discussion about trading for a talented, young Big is very interesting indeed. For much of the past several years, I have been for and even suggested numerous trade scenarios. Many of the trades I’ve suggested would have drastically altered the look of this team. However, this year, I’ve changed my tune. While I still believe we have, at best, a 1 in 3 chance of beating the Lakers in a playoff series, I can see the light at the end of the Big 4 tunnel. Pop and RC have assembled a relatively impressive group of young players that will lead this team into the future. The team the FO is attempting to build for the future has become quite obvious.
    PG – Hill
    SG – Neal
    SF – Anderson
    PF – Blair
    C – Splitter
    And I am sure we will add another piece in next summer’s draft. It’s taken our team the better part of 4 years (since the 2007 drafting of Splitter) to assemble these young guns. We can’t trade our future for one last desperation heave at a Finals appearance. That’s the quickest way to ensure the franchise goes to the toilet for 3-5 years.

    Here is an article that was written TODAY by David Thorpe. http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=thorpe_david&page=Rookies-101110

    In this article he mentions some of the top 11 rookies so far this season. Guess what? Three of these rookies are named James Anderson, Gary Neal, and Tiago Splitter. I would argue that we have the best FO in the league when it comes to finding hidden gems and this year many of these gems are about to finally pay off. We are f&*@ing 5-1 and we’re wanting to discuss trading Hill or Blair? These two haven’t even played that well so far. Can you imagine what this team will look like when they do click on all cylinders?

    ThatBigGuy
    November 10th, 2010 at 11:42 am
    “Luc Mbah a Moute for Hill works on the NBA trade machine, as they have the exact same salaries.”

    You can’t be serious about this. Why do we need another SF when we have RJ and JA? Luc is such a poor shooter that he can’t even imagine making an open 3pter. Hill is a superior player in every way.

    Jim Henderson
    November 10th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I agree with 98% of what you said. A 21-year old Millsap and the current day Blair could almost be clones. Don’t know if Blair will ever have the shooting range, but Millsap will never have Blair’s size and strength so it all about evens out.

    You’re right about Varejao. He and Splitter are basketball twins. We gain nothing by trading for him.

    I disagree with you slightly on a trade involving Blair for Randolph. IF we were desperate (one would have a difficult time making that case with a 5-1 record) then I would look hard at making that trade. I would not, however, even consider trading for Greg Oden. It’s becoming too difficult these days to pretend he’s not a big, fat bust.

    Bottom line: C’mon guys, let’s allow at least 20 games to pass before we’re willing to entertain the idea of trading away our young pieces for a wild shot at a championship. We may not win a ring this year, but this is the most excitement I’ve felt for the Spurs in a number of years.

    P.S. I’ve got a feeling about tonight’s game. I think Blair has a breakout game tonight. There, I said it. If I’m wrong, everyone can sue me tomorrow.

  • Tyler

    @ Jim Henderson

    I know you love Blair, but using one example (Millsap), even though they are similar, does not prove the point. It’s by no means assured Blair will turn out to be as good as Millsap, which from what you’ve posted on the subject, appears to be the trajectory you believe Blair to be on. That’s fine. We can agree to disagree, but I don’t think Blair is destined to be that quality of a player. And in terms of the players mentioned above, Varejao and Oden, I don’t think Blair will be as good as either (assuming all players in the equation are healthy, which I admit, is a serious risk, especially in Oden’s case).

    And I don’t quite know if you’re addressing me or not, but I’m definitely not advocating we “mortgage away our future with the pipe dream of winning a title before decline really sets in with TD/Manu” as you assert. Again, the players that were mentioned, Varejao and Oden, would be great not only this season, but well after the Big 3 retire.

    “I like Varejao, but he’s almost identical to what we hope Splitter becomes in the very near future. Why go after him? Too short-term thinking for me.

    Now I’m confused. You’ve been an advocate, like many on here, for a shot blocking big. Yet, you would be against one the best low post defenders in the game? He was second team all-defense last year! He has the ability to guard just about anyone 1 on 1 in the post w/o help! He’s a major reason Cleveland had one of the best defenses in the league under Mike Brown. And he just turned 28, he’s got at least 4-5 more quality years in him. How is that short term thinking?

  • Tyler

    To be clear, I’m not advocating we actively shop Blair or Hill, but the idea that they are untradeable (even though they are young and have potential) is crazy. Falling in love with your own draft picks is a huge mistake too many GM’s make.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Tim
    “Young–again, these are just random examples–could play small ball 4 and back up Jefferson. Anderson can move between the two and the three. Pop could still find him minutes. But I don’t think anyone is expecting Anderson to play big in the playoffs. He’s a rookie. The Spurs need a more proven player for the postseason.”

    It seems you are contradicting yourself Tim. You say that we can trade a young for a young which is fine. But then you say we need a proven player for the postseason. Young is not a proven postseason player. He would struggle more so than D. Blair would. Also then we would have to incorporate two very young wings into the playoff rotation which would be even more difficult to do. Not to mention severely disrupt the defensive rotations.

    @Jim
    “Not in the playoffs. Our primary bigs are too inexperienced, too small (short and light) and/or too old to effectively go up against LA or Boston this year. Dampier could help rectify all of these weaknesses to some extent. He’s got at least one or two productive years in front of him in the right situation. And we don’t have to give up anybody else of short or long-term value to get him. Barring a major trade, inevitably involving TP, the only way we pull off a miracle and win this year is to have effective front court match-ups by committee to tag team the likes of LA & Boston’s front lines.”

    My sentiments exactly.

  • Jim Henderson

    Hobson13
    November 10th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I agree with much of what you said. I’ll just pick a few relatively minor bones with you.

    “We can’t trade our future for one last desperation heave at a Finals appearance. That’s the quickest way to ensure the franchise goes to the toilet for 3-5 years.”

    No kidding! Well said.

    “Don’t know if Blair will ever have the shooting range, but Millsap will never have Blair’s size and strength so it all about evens out.”

    But you can’t possibly even offer a reasonable guess about Blair’s ultimate shooting range at this at this point. It took Millsap over four years to increase his range to where he showed a glimpse of 3-point range with his last-minute heroics against the Heat last night. A lot of that is confidence & familiarity, which takes time. Millsap was 2 for 2o from three over four years before last night. But the fact is Millsap is methodical and relentless, and is constantly working on his game. Blair is the same way, but he’s still in the VERY early stages.

    “P.S. I’ve got a feeling about tonight’s game. I think Blair has a breakout game tonight. There, I said it. If I’m wrong, everyone can sue me tomorrow.”

    That’s fine, and I appreciate your enthusiasm. But we need to tamp down our near-term expectations. It puts too much pressure on Blair. I’m not concerned or anxious about Blair putting up a big game. It will come when it’s supposed to, but it WILL come. Just don’t ask me when. Nobody’s more prideful and sincere about his own game than Blair. He’ll get his game going in due time. In the meantime I’m satisfied with his performance so far, even though I know he can do much better, and I’m as excited as the next fan to see that happen. And it would behoove us to watch with glee, and focus on the unique things that Blair provides (touch passes, strong outlets, key steals, the improvements in position”D”, etc.), rather than always focusing on our dreams of seeing him as a more impact player instantly. I’ll state the obvious: he’s not a 21 year old Tim Duncan.

    We need to focus more time on critiquing our porous perimeter “D” to figure out how we can win some games against better competition, and less time worried about a 21 year old semi-project’s impact on a veteran team that stands 5-1 six games into the season.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Tyler
    No one is saying that they are untradeable. But the idea we would get better by shopping them is not a good point. Very hard to get fair value for two potential starters who make less than a million. For their production and their cap cost they are extremely valuable. But if someone were to offer say a blake griffin for blair, obviously we would do it in a heartbeat.

    It is way to early to just give up on our young players who have shown promise. It would take an amazing deal to make me give up on our young core. Right now we are just a few small pieces away from competing for the title and being set up for the future. The front office has done a great job keeping the spurs competitive and retooling at the same time. Kudos goes out to popovich and buford. Now please go sign dampier which shores up our problems and doesn’t require us to give up any pieces.

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

    Did many of you forget how Duncan would abuse Erika in key situations.? I’m not talking about Timmy 5 years ago when he’d drop 40 on Damp whenever he wanted. Even recently, Timmy would embarrass Damp when the chips were down. Let’s not forget who got the key minutes at center last year? Haywood got the minutes and for good reason. He’s not this defensive presence that can bear down and get key stops. If he was there would have been plenty of suitors already.

    I won’t even talk about the complete lack of offense or even decent hands to receive passes. Sorry, but I’m not sold on Erika as the big body that we need.

  • ThatBigGuy

    @Hobson13

    I wasn’t really advocating Hill for Mbah a Moute trade. I just ran the numbers and found it to be a trade that works financially and talent wise (same with Blair for Mbah a Moute). Mbah a Moute is awful on offense, as I stated, but he is a freak defensively. We’re all pretty much in agreement that we could use a shot-blocking big and a perimeter defender. Mbah a Moute fills the roll of perimeter defender. Hill’s salary just happens to match, hence the trade proposal.

    I’d be hesitant to do this trade in real life because Hill is solid defensively AND offensively at 2 positions, which I find to be worth more than a D only guy who can guard 4 positions. When you factor in Tony and Manu’s injury histories, it makes Hill even more valuable to us. You could convince me faster to offer ’10-’11 Blair for Moute right now because of Blair’s struggles. Would I trade ’09-’10 Blair for Moute? I’m not sure about that.

    The toughest thing to do right now is determine if RJ or Anderson have the ability to keep Kobe/LeBron/’Melo from scoring 45. If we had played some of those guys and held them in check, I’m not sure we should trade our young talent for Moute. But if we had played them and given up 45 to each, you’d have to look into a Moute trade.

    I guess what I’m saying is that we need a piece or 2 to win and we know that, but we haven’t had quite enough time yet to see who is the least valuable to us now and in the future.

    I don’t envy the FO right now.

  • Jim Henderson

    Tyler
    November 10th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    “I know you love Blair, but using one example (Millsap), even though they are similar, does not prove the point. It’s by no means assured Blair will turn out to be as good as Millsap, which from what you’ve posted on the subject, appears to be the trajectory you believe Blair to be on. That’s fine. We can agree to disagree, but I don’t think Blair is destined to be that quality of a player.”

    “Destined” is a strong word, and I never suggested that Blair would in fact get to where Millsap is now. That said, anybody that knows how to evaluate physical talent & ALL the intangibles should know that Blair has a pretty decent chance of getting close to Millsap over the next 4 years, and perhaps even succeeding him. And I’m not willing to give that potential up for some unproven NBA player, or some slightly above average player with more limited upside, or a center with substantial talent that carries with him an unbelievably risky injury history.

    “Now I’m confused. You’ve been an advocate, like many on here, for a shot blocking big.”

    Varejao is NOT a shot-blocking “big”. He’s averaged ONE shot block per 36 minutes for his entire career. DeJuan Blair is as good of a shot-blocker while just starting his second year at age 21. As I said, Varejao is what we expect Splitter to become in relatively short order: a tall, disruptive, heady, excellent low-post defender that does lot of little things well, but is not real dominant at anything. Thus Varejao’s addition would be at least partially redundant, not to mention his contract is rather expensive.

    “How is that short term thinking?”

    What do you plan to do with Splitter?!? If you want to trade Splitter for him we can talk, but with that idea you’re essentially saying that Splitter will never get close to Varejao, otherwise you’re sacrificing our future because Splitter’s THREE years younger. Also, their contracts don’t match, so we’d have to give up another decent player to get him. And I’m not willing to give up on Splitter that quickly.

    “To be clear, I’m not advocating we actively shop Blair or Hill, but the idea that they are untradeable (even though they are young and have potential) is crazy.”

    Did anyone EVER state that they were “untradeable”?! NO!

    “Falling in love with your own draft picks is a huge mistake too many GM’s make.”

    I’m not falling in love with my draft picks, and I doubt the Spurs are either in this case. I just happen to know how to evaluate talent, and understand the importance of player development, especially with those types of player’s that possess all the key intangibles necessary to see dramatic improvements in their game in due time. And Blair & Millsap are FULL of those intangibles.