Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Unfettered Optimism: New faces and young guns

Tim Duncan retired. It's kind of the end of an era for the Spurs. Strange to say it, but essentially the Spurs are sort of officially in a rebuild phase. Yes, we still have Tony and Manu (albeit on the last legs of their careers), yes we did sign Pau (also last legs), but Timmy was the cornerstone for the franchise for arguably his entire 19 year career. Yet this is what makes the Spurs amazing. For most NBA teams the word "rebuilding" means that you're bottom feeding in the standings, looking for that lottery pick that will change your fortunes (e.g. the 76ers). It's interesting to note, that no team with a top five pick has jumped from lottery to the playoffs since 2003, no rookie has had that sort of impact since Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade (not gonna count Darko even though he technically won a championship his rookie year, because frankly, Larry Brown hated playing rookies). Currently, as stars of the early 2000s (e.g. Duncan, Kobe Bryant, and Dirk Nowitzki, sorry but Kevin Garnett hasn't really been super relevant for the better part of the last decade) begin to fade into the sunset most teams are either rebuilding (e.g. the Lakers now that Kobe is gone) or anticipating a rebuild (e.g. the Mavericks once Dirk is gone). That's what happens when you lose a pillar of the team.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Looking forward for the Spurs

Tim Duncan has retired.

It feels like I should probably do a post entirely on that subject. He's been the cornerstone to this Spurs franchise for the past 19 years and a fixture in the NBA for what seems like an eternity. He will always be remembered as one of the classiest and most professional players to ever suit up. That, and possibly the greatest power forward of all time.

That being said, it's time for the Spurs to continue moving on into the 2016-2017 NBA season. This offseason saw a bunch of players getting paid (I see you Boban) due to the spike in the salary cap. The Spurs have opted to re-sign Manu Ginobili at a one year $14 million contract. While this seems high, I think it's appropriate to consider it "back pay" for all the team friendly pay-cuts he took in his prime. Furthermore, Spurs have added veteran center Pau Gasol; Davis Bertans, a 6-10 Latvian sharpshooter acquired in the Kawhi Leonard - George Hill trade; Dejounte Murray, a 6-5 super athletic point guard the Spurs drafted out of Washington late in the first round; Ryan Arcidiacono, a 6-3 point guard that was a key part of the Villanova NCAA championship team; Dewayne Dedmon, a defensive-minded 7 footer who has been around the league; and Bryn Forbes, a 6-3 sharpshooter out of Michigan State.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Letting them Play": Officiating the Last Seconds of an NBA Game

Officiating an NBA game is hard.

Heck, officiating any sort of organized sport is pretty difficult. Someone is probably going walk away from some play unhappy. At some point in time during the game there will be a guy that thinks the dude with a whistle is an idiot.

The NBA game of basketball moves so quickly that it's difficult to get all the plays. Invariably, something gets missed. Yet there are rules to the game for a reason. I'm not advocating we become hidebound and call every single rule, but I think the whole concept of "letting them play", especially in late game situations is, well, frankly kind of dumb. You undermine yourself.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Unfettered Optimism: The Emergence of Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard is my new favorite player.

I didn't follow basketball much growing up. Sure, I watched the Jazz-Bulls finals in the 90s (rooting for the Mailman) and part of the Lakers' finals runs in the 2000s. One team that really stuck with me though, for some reason, was the starting 5 of the 1999 San Antonio Spurs championship team. As I grew older, I began to respect a player like David Robinson much more. That lead me to Tim Duncan. I was enamored with the seemingly simple way Duncan played. The footwork, the rebounding, the post-play, it was simple, but elegant, it was all stuff you would hear about how to do in a basketball camp.

Even as the team transitioned to being the Tony Parker show, I still staunchly held to the long-held ideology, that if the Spurs ever needed a bucket, you could just throw it into Duncan in the post, and everything would work out fine.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Spurs Trade Deadline Speculation Mania

So the trade deadline is coming up (this Thursday) and there are trade rumors and speculations flying around. That means that the Spurs will likely be noted for how they will not do anything and thereby successfully have navigated the NBA trade deadline. That being said, it doesn't mean that the entire Spurs nation and beyond isn't speculating what brilliant move that R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich will come up with.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Why are we considered "boring"?

A blowout is a blowout right?

Then why is it that we are so fascinated by the Warriors destroying the Suns or Nets but not the Spurs obliterating the Jazz or Hawks? I mean let’s think about it, let’s take a look at the last 5 games where both the Spurs and Warriors have the same exact record 4-1. The Warriors played the Nets, Pacers, Celtics, Bucks, and Suns. The score differentials were +16, +8, +5, -13, +25 respectively. Sure, we can give them some slack for most of those games being away, sure we can say that they had a back-to-back (and their loss came on the second night of one), but I don’t think those things are huge mitigating factors, and besides, if you are gassed on the second night of a back-to-back after going to double overtime in the first game, it’s both a credit to the opposing team and kind of your own fault that you got the two extra periods anyway. The Spurs played the Raptors, Lakers, Hawks, Jazz, and Wizards. I would posit that the strength of schedule based solely on the opponents is comparable. The point differentials were -3, +22, +25, +37, +19. I mean, that’s crazy. Look, I think both teams are great, the margin of difference in point differential is less than 0.2 so I don’t want to take anything away from either team, but I am curious as to why people would be more willing to watch a Golden State 50 point victory over a San Antonio 50 point victory.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Unfettered Optimism: From BoBo to SloMo

Look, let's be honest, if you're nickname in college is "Slo-Mo", which is universally short for "slow motion" I'm not entirely positive that it's a compliment. I know this is supposed to be one of my super optimistic, "Spurs are going to be awesome" posts, but I want to get out of the way first, that I have many rather significant reservations about this year's draft pick Kyle Anderson. I don't deny that he perhaps has the unique skill-set that the Spurs may be looking for, that is, a big man who can sort of play like a point guard, and thus many pundits have been hailing the Spurs' draft pick as the second coming of Boris Diaw. Now, I'll be the first to admit, that there are times when I get overly optimistic, and while Boris Diaw 2.0 isn't exactly some claim to superstardom, I want everyone to just slow down for a second. I know the Spurs just obliterated the Heat in the Finals, and I know that the Spurs have a strong history of finding diamonds in the rough of the late first-round of the draft (i.e. Tony Parker, George Hill, Luis Scola, Leandro Barbosa, etc...), but let's take a step back and take a look at what we have here before we start handing out any accolades.