Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Lingering Problem

The Spurs have had this problem forever, well, it seems like forever, and it's something that's pretty hard to address, but something that we as Spurs fans need to continually realize. It comes on and off, and it's forgotten often when we win, but it's the most frustrating thing in the world. Some of you might have guessed what I'm talking about in the wake of the harsh 92-85 loss to the Chicago Bulls. It wouldn't hurt so much if this were a gritty, duke 'em out, the other team just played better than us, kind of loss to the Celtics or Lakers or even someone like the Nuggets. This was the Bulls. If you look at the box score, you can't even say that Derrick Rose or Luol Deng beat us, why? 6 players scored in double digits, Brad Miller was one free throw away from making it 7. Sure, Duncan had 28 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks and while that's great for the older Duncan, that's always been kind of par for him over the course of the years.

So what is this problem? Is it injuries? Obviously not since Manu is playing like Manu and everybody is healthy. While Pop is running an 11-man rotation, and there's a little confusion in working out a solid rotation, that's not really the problem either. What's the problem? Inconsistency on offense. This has always been an issue, and it's almost cliche to say that the Spurs are dependent on their role players. Yet while it's cliche, it's true, it's probably true of all contender teams, but I would say more so of the Spurs than any other. Duncan will get his own, that's just how good Duncan is, but we can't be asking Duncan to take over games, there's no doubt that Timmy probably could, but he's so respected that defenses throw a ton of attention on him, and honestly, it's not super fair to ask him to do that as sort of insurance when the other players can't deliver. It's something that is one of the most frustrating thing as a Spurs fan to deal with, and it's something I hope we can address soon. If we look back at Spurs success, the games we've won have often just ended up being whether or not our bench/role-players stepped up. Duncan doesn't often carry us through games, and I don't think it's fair to expect him to, and I don't know that it's fair to ask that of TP or Manu either. When the Spurs won it has been when players like Jarren Jackson, Avery Johnson, Sean Elliot, Steve Kerr, Nazr Mohammed, Robert Horry, and now Roger Mason and Michael Finley have stepped up to deliver. We need the players on our roster; McDyess, Mason, Blair, and especially Jefferson to step it up, keep it stepped up. Welcome to the big leagues fellas. This is what being a contender is about, sure McDyess and Jefferson have been there (Detroit and New Jersey respectively) but it's high time they remember what that's like.

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