Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The DeJuan Blair Project

According to Tim Varner, the window to this may be closing fast, and since Tim and all the commenters already blew this topic out of the water, I can kind just sit here and say, yes, I agree.  It's not that DeJuan Blair cannot fit with the Spurs (think Malik Rose circa 2003) but the simple fact that he's not.  I don't have a great frame of reference, but as currently stands, DeJuan Blair hasn't stood out to me to be much more than perhaps Jason Maxiell (circa 2005) with better passing and less hops.  Does that mean we trade him?  or do we keep working on him?  Well, I can't honestly say that I have a good answer to that.  For one thing, even if he doesn't have the skills necessary for a Spur he certainly does have the attitude, which sometimes is harder to come by.  However, this issue isn't one that the Spurs possibly haven't encountered before, but rather, one that comes at a fairly inopportune moment, that of Tim Duncan's closing championship window. 

With Antonio McDyess playing well, Matt Bonner shooting the lights out, and Tiago Splitter finally in a Spurs uniform, it's easy to think that Blair is now expendable, but as currently stands, the Spurs need so much going right to ensure success that it's hard figure out what a finalized lineup will look like.  In our previous championship teams Pop has generally used a relatively thin roster, but in today's lineup, we're seeing Pop throwing basically every available body on the floor.  I figure we won't see the 3 big rotation of old, and I'm sure that Pop is still tinkering around with what will work, and how to optimize it for not only the regular season but also moving into playoffs.  So what does that mean for the Spurs?  Can we develop Blair?  I'm almost certain that Spurs could groom Blair into the caliber of player that they need, but the problem isn't that, the problem is whether they can afford the time. 

Should we trade him then?  Blair is slated to make $918,000 this year, this means that the max we can trade Blair straight up for would be $1,247,500 of salary in return.  That's not a whole lot.  We could wait until December and try packaging him with Chris Quinn or Ime Udoka...  I'm not saying there aren't players out there we can't get with him, but realistically, what are we looking for?  I really don't have any straight up answer myself, but let's hash out some of the possibilities here:

The first and most obvious possibility is to just hang on to Blair and try to ride it out and hope that something clicks mid-season.  Personally, if this is the move to be made, at this point in time I would move Antonio McDyess into the starting lineup in place of Blair until Tiago Splitter has shown that he has adapted to the game, at which time, I would insert Splitter in as the starter next to Duncan.  Blair would essentially become something of a sparkplug off the bench, producing with energy, think possibly Carl Landry on the Houston Rockets. 

The second possibility is to trade Blair.  Now Blair as a player is fairly marketable, but as Tim states in his article he needs a bevy of shooters around him to be effective.  We're talking about an undersized center who makes smart outlet passes and can be a premier rebounder when it comes to positioning and hustle.  Here is a list of players that you could feasibly trade Blair for straight up:

Atlanta Hawks:
Jason Collins - C
Jordan Crawford - SG
Josh Powell - C
Etan Thomas - PF/C

I'm not keen on packaging anyone with Blair, simply because other than Quinn and Udoka, I don't know who exactly I'd really want to package.  Bonner thrives in our system and McDyess are both playing well, that leaves James Anderson, who I still have high hopes for, Gary Neal who is playing well, and George Hill, who would be the most value to other teams, but frankly, also would be one of the players I'd want to trade the least.  From the Hawks there really isn't anyone except Jordan Crawford who intrigues me, and with the impending departure of Jamal Crawford due to contract issues, I don't see them parting with Jordan quite that easily.

Boston Celtics:
Von Wafer -SG
Delonte West - G

Frankly, those two players to me we already have copies of in Gary Neal and George Hill, so I don't really see a reason to even think about this.

Charlotte Bobcats:
Derrick Brown - F
Kwame Brown - C
Dominic McGuire - SF

McGuire is probably the most intriguing of the trio that we could get for Blair.  While he's a long, athletic defensive wing, he doesn't really have much of an offensive game to speak of, and I personally don't have enough confidence in the playmakers off the bench to involve him enough to not have defenses take a vacation and hide horrendous defenders (read: Steve Nash) on him.

Chicago Bulls:
Taj Gibson - PF
John Lucas - PG
Brian Scalabrine - PF

Gibson is the primary person of interest, and I can't say I know enough about him to declare him immediately a better fit for the Spurs or enough about the Bulls to determine whether or not DeJuan Blair will be a better fit behind Carlos Boozer or if this would be at best a big step sideways.  My gut tells me that maybe, but probably not since they don't have a bevy of shooters that we think Blair needs.

Cleveland Cavaliers:
Christian Eyenga - G
Joey Graham - SG/SF
Leon Powe - PF
Jawad Williams - SF

Leon Powe is the most intriguing of the list and frankly, I don't see him as a significant upgrade over Blair, significant enough to make the move.

Detroit Pistons:
Jonas Jerebko - F
Tracy McGrady - SG/SF
DeJuan Summers - F

I like Jerebko, I'm sure the Pistons do too, he could be like the second coming of Walter Hermann only Swedish.  T-Mac of 3+ years ago is exactly what we need, T-Mac of now... ew. 

Indiana Pacers:
Josh McRoberts - PF
A.J. Price - PG
Lance Stephenson - SG

McRoberts is one of those that at first glance I kind of looked at and was thought, no way, but the more I think about it, the swap might be better fits for both teams.  It's purely a speculation move, and ultimately, might just be a lateral move, but I actually think Blair fits pretty well on the Pacers' current roster and McRoberts wouldn't be a bad fit as a Spur.

Miami Heat:
Carlos Arroyo - PG
Mario Chalmers - PG
Juwan Howard - PF/C
Jamal Magloire - C

This is the first official time, but certainly not the last time to say that George Hill would actually solve all of the PG woes that Miami has.  If he were healthy and we got Udonis Haslem somehow out of that deal I'd think about it.

Milwaukee Bucks:
Earl Boykins - PG
Jon Brockman - PF
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - F

I like Mbah a Moute, a lot.  Question is though, is Blair that much better than Brockman.  Yes he is better, but is he better enough to lose your best perimeter defender?  Mbah a Moute would solve problems like Jerebko or Hermann would've, not the ideal fit, but we can make it work.

New Jersey Nets:
Stephen Graham - SF
Damion Jones - SF
Quinton Ross - SF
Joe Smith - PF

If Brook Lopez is supposed to be the next Tim Duncan than Blair wouldn't work next to him.  Besides, aren't they developing Derrick Favors?  Plus, most of the players they can offer are ones I wouldn't want either.

New York Knicks:
Toney Douglas - G
Andy Rautins - G
Bill Walker - SG

How much more are we willing to add to this if we could get Wilson Chandler or Anthony Randolph?  Seriously.  Randolph is more of an upside potential thing, but he'd also be a great fit in San Antonio (though attitude might be an issue, or perhaps maturity rather).  Chandler would make a huge impact right away.  Out of the three straight up, I like Bill Walker, I don't know about his defense though.  For the record Tim Varner likes Bill Walker, for Blair?  Maybe we can get more.

Orlando Magic:
Malik Allen - PF
Daniel Orton - PF
Jason Williams - PG

When I think bevy of shooters this is the team, but then, isn't this what they have Brandon Bass for?

Philadelphia 76ers:
Tony Battie - PF/C
Jodie Meeks - G

I know Tiago already addresses this need, but Spencer Hawes anybody?  Worth a look I think.  Otherwise, don't go near this team.

Toronto Raptors:
Solomon Alabi - C
Joey Dorsey - PF
Sonny Weems - SG

While Toronto is kind of that "bevy of shooters" place, I really wouldn't wish that on DeJuan.  Besides, there really isn't anyone worth trading for on that team.

Washington Wizards:
Hilton Armstrong - C
Trevor Booker - C
Alonzo Gee - SF
Cartier Martin - SG/SF

We cut Gee for a reason.  No one else looks worth it, besides they already have Blatche and Yi.

Dallas Mavericks:
Brian Cardinal - PF
Dominique Jones - SG
Ian Mahinmi - PF/C
Steve Novak - SF/PF

We let Ian Mahinmi walk for a reason and Matt Bonner is way better than Brian Cardinal and Steve Novak.

Denver Nuggets:
Anthony Carter - PG
Melvin Ely - PF/C
Shelden Williams - PF

The only player I would REALLY want from the Nuggets would be Tiago Splitter's fellow Brazilian: Nene Hilario.

Golden State Warriors:
Rodney Carney - SF
Reggie Williams - SG/SF

Another bevy of shooters, this is a maybe depending on if Reggie Williams can defend, otherwise I don't like anybody.

Houston Rockets:
Chase Budinger - SF
Jermaine Taylor - SG

We're actually not too much in terms of salary off from being able to pull off a DeJuan Blair for Courtney Lee straight up.  Would I do it?  That's iffy.

Los Angeles Clippers:
Jarron Collins - C
Brian Cook - PF
DeAndre Jordan - C

DeAndre Jordan is an interesting look, but that's about it.  Matt Bonner is better than Brian Cook too.  I passed on the first Collins twin, the second one isn't getting my nod either.

Los Angeles Lakers:
Theo Ratliff - C

Theo's a great guy, but we didn't retain him for a reason.

Memphis Grizzlies:
Darrell Arthur - PF
DeMarr Carroll - F
Acie Law - PG
Greivous Vasquez - G
Sam Young - G

Darrell Arthur is a maybe, but frankly I don't see why Memphis would want Blair.  Not enough of a bevy of shooters.  Can someone please tell Memphis to trade us Marc Gasol for nothing?

Minnesota Timberwolves:
Wayne Ellington - PG

Um... no.

New Orleans Hornets:
Aaron Gray - C
D.J. Mbenga - C
Quincy Pondexter - SF
Marcus Thornton - SG

I like Quincy Pondexter, it might have something to do with being a fellow UW alumnus.  While I think he can thrive in the system, he, at this point, is not necessarily going to pan out more than James Anderson, who says we can't use them both?  We could, but I don't think the Spurs necessarily want two major developmental projects on the wings.

Oklahoma City Thunder:
Serge Ibaka - C
Royal Ivey -PG
Byron Mullens - C
D.J. White - PF

I like the numbers Ibaka is putting up, I'm sure OKC does too.  As much as I think Blair might help the Thunder, they really don't have anything I would want in return.  Not that they're willing to give up anyways.

Phoenix Suns:
Earl Barron - C


Portland Trailblazers:
Dante Cunningham - F
Sean Marks - F
Patrick Mills - PG

Cunningham is another one of those, I like him but so does the team that currently has him, players.  No one else interests me too much.  Patty Mills reeks too much of a poor man's Tony Parker for me to pull the trigger.

Sacramento Kings:
Donte Greene - F
Luther Head - G
Darnell Jackson - PF
Hassan Whiteside - PF/C

I like Greene, I think he has potential, but there must be a reason he's playing behind Omri Casspi and Francisco Garcia.  I don't know enough of his game to say for sure.  Jason Thompson is officially expendable, I frankly like him, not sure why other teams don't, but again, how much more are we willing to fork out for him?  At this point in time I can only surmise he'd be Antonio McDyess plus.

Utah Jazz:
Francisco Elson - C
Earl Watson - PG

It's not 2007 anymore so we're not going back to Elson.

Well that's pretty much my take.  If Blair is indeed on the block, the question then becomes first how badly Pop needs that 5th big (we could always bring back Marcus Cousin) to give Timmeh a break.  I'm still of the mind that we could use a "wing" player, someone who can play both SG or SF as a sort of defensive stopper, ultimately, someone like Ricky Davis (a poor man's Stephen Jackson who won't need the ball that much).  The options really are limitless, but also remember, there is a limited list of free agents we could probably get for the Veteran's minimum as well (the top choices in my opinion being Courtney Sims, Chris Mihm, and Marcus Cousin).  I really don't know.  I see the Spurs at least waiting until December when the free agents signed this summer can be traded, but honestly it's going to be a tough call.  I know we all like Blair, but he's obviously not a great fit.  The question for the DeJuan Blair project becomes: can he become one (a great fit)? or do we end the project by trading him to someone who fits better?  I'm not R.C. Buford or Gregg Popovich so I don't have to answer that difficult question, but these are the possibilities I see out there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fixing the Spurs on Paper

We're 12-1 and I'm still talking about needing to fix things?  Really?  Well, yes.  While we are 2nd in total points scored 107.82 ppg we are also 11th in points allowed at 98.08 ppg.  I don't know about you, but while 11th isn't bad, it isn't really something I think Pop is happy about.  I mean, from what I understand, and his "Law of 22" Pop only wants to be allowing 88 ppg, FYI that's 3 points below the league leader in points allowed, that being Milwaukee and New Orleans at 91.08 ppg.  I can go on how while we're 4th in rebounds allowed, how we're also 10th for rebounds per game, how while we are 5th in FG% per game at 47.3% we're 15th in FG% allowed at 45.7%, while we might be first in 3pt percentage at 44.4% per game, we're 29th in opponent 3pt percentage at 40.8%.  So yeah, we're 12-1, but we're also still a work in progress.

What exactly do I mean by "fixing on paper" then?  Well, to put it succinctly, instead of extensive analysis breaking down exactly what plays are working and aren't I'm simplifying and taking a general look at our roster as currently constructed and who (be it realistic or not) can help out.  Currently as constructed our lineups look something like the following:

PG - Tony Parker, George Hill
SG - Manu Ginobili, Gary Neal
SF - Richard Jefferson
PF - DeJuan Blair, Antonio McDyess, Matt Bonner
C - Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter

With James Anderson's injury, it seems like Manu and Neal are seeing some time at the SF spot behind Jefferson.  Ideally, by playoff time, I see our roster looking like so:

PG - Tony Parker, George Hill
SG - Manu Ginobili, Gary Neal
SF - Richard Jefferson, James Anderson
PF - Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner
C - Tiago Splitter, Antonio McDyess

While I can harp about how I want a versatile big man to play with Duncan (read: Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Horford, etc...) Blair, Bonner, Splitter, and McDyess are doing an excellent job shoring up the other big man spot.   What bothers me the most about the above stat, is that our opponents are shooting 40.8% from beyond the arc, and frankly, that is what I believe the Spurs really need right now, that is a wing defender that can lock-down opponents on the perimeter.  However, I don't want to tinker too much with the lineup as it currently stands, given that Manu and RJ both in the starting lineup works.  That's why I don't necessarily think the typical single position defensive specialists like Shane Battier, Tayshaun Prince, Andrei Kirilenko, Raja Bell, etc... is exactly what we need or are looking for.  While we definitely expect James Anderson to fill that role, and I think, in the few games he's played, he's done an admirable job, I think in the wake of his injury and the waiving of various attempts at mending the perimeter defense issue (Bobby Simmons, Alonzo Gee, Danny Green, etc...) this is where we need to improve.  Apparently, as I typed, the Spurs decided to give Ime Udoka another shot.  Not exactly what I had in mind, but Udoka is a known quantity, and he can't be significantly worse than Keith Bogans last season, small risk, marginal rewards, but a sufficient stopgap if that's all he is to be until Anderson gets back.  Personally, here's my list:

Free Agents:

Sasha Pavlovic (SG/SF, 6-8, 210 lbs, 27 yrs old)
It's really been like 3 years since I've seen Sasha Pavlovic play, yes, that was the last time the Spurs won a championship.  One of the big stories about the Cavs going through the playoffs that year (outside of LeBron decimating the Pistons) was the effective defense Pavlovic had against Vince Carter during the series against the Nets.  I'm actually not really sure why he still doesn't have a contract, which leads me to believer personally that his agent is asking for more money than he's worth possibly...

Damien Wilkins (SG/SF, 6-6, 225 lbs, 30 yrs old)
I don't know that James Anderson can't become everything that Damien Wilkins is and more, but in the interim, he's not a bad stopgap.

Outside of these two, there isn't really anybody I can think of in free agency that would be a significant improvement over Ime Udoka, though some honorable mentions might include Larry Hughes, Devean George, and if you're looking for potentially another project; Joe Alexander.

Not Free Agents:

I really don't know if these guys are even available for trade and even if they were whether we would have the assets to trade for them, but they're intriguing to consider.

Wilson Chandler (NY Knicks, SG/SF, 6-8, 230 lbs, 23 yrs old)
Ultimately the players we're looking for you can think of as something like Stephen Jackson lite, we want the defensive tenacity and three-ball, but it's not imperative that he have the ball handling skills of Jackson.  Chandler is a nice fit given his defensive tenacity and explosiveness, he's kind of everything that the Spurs have been looking for over the past couple of years; youth, athleticism, and defense.

Martell Webster (SG/SF, SG/SF, 6-7, 210 lbs, 23 yrs old)
The advent of Nicolas Batum (who honestly reminds me a lot of Tayshaun Prince) made Webster fairly expendable after Batum returned to the court from his injury.  Webster was noted for his defensive effort against Kobe in those heated Blazers-Lakers contests.  While he is one of those hot-or-cold shooters, I like to think of him as Michael Finley-plus.

I could throw in other names like Kelenna Azubuike, Courtney Lee, Anthony Parker or even completely non-realistic ones like John Salmons and/or Stephen Jackson himself.  That's my take.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Revolution of Richard Jefferson: Should We Worry About the Defense?

Would you believe me if I told that Richard Jefferson currently has the league-leading FG% of all wings in the NBA?  Would you believe me if I told you that he's 9th overall in terms of FG% in the league?  What if I told you he was the leading scorer of all players averaging 10-11 shots per game?  What if I told you he's taking 1-5 fewer shots per game than other players in the league averaging 18 points per game?

So what's my point?

Well, certainly it's a small sample size, but it's already a very promising one.  Jason Rogers has named Richard Jefferson as our X-factor player.  And he does have some rather compelling evidence for why Jefferson's performance (not Splitter or Blair's) will be crucial for the success (or lack thereof) as we continue through the season.  That's what an X-factor player is.  Most are aware that Lamar Odom is the Lakers' X-factor player, Josh Smith for the Hawks, the non-marquee player upon whom the team's success hinges, not to say that his scoring double digits will be a direct 1-1 correlation to wins and losses, but it's a good indicator.  There are a lot of ways to explain away Richard Jefferson's stellar 18 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.2 APG on 60.3% from the field and 52.2% from 3 point land.  Oh yeah, he's averaging 2 threes per game (that's made).

He's not being involved significantly more in the offense than he previously was, he's only getting about 1 extra shot per game from last season.  In a BDL Live Chat with Yahoo's Kelly Dwyer I asked about Jefferson's shooting and Dwyer said that Richard appeared to be getting his legs under his shots.  His set shot, I have to say, is very reminisce of Bruce Bowen and Mario Elie at this point in time, and this is something, now that he's comfortable with it, will only continue, perhaps not at a 18 PPG clip, but at a rate that will drive the Spurs' success.

How about his defensive game?  Certainly I can't deny that he's hustling , and maybe this should go in a different post, but I'm consolidating it here.  We can't deny that the Spurs have improved offensively.  They're now 5-1, 4th in the league for points scored per game at 106.67, behind only the Lakers (112.13), Rockets (112), and Suns (108.29).  While that's a nice number to look at, we're also 21st in points allowed at 103.  It's only because of that narrow 3 point margin that we're winning these games now.  Lakers are holding their opponents to 99.63 points per game while Houston and Phoenix are allowing 112.67 and 109.57 respectively, hence their losing records.  To me, it's more distressing to hear that we're giving up 103 points per contest than it is surprising to hear we're putting up 107.  Sure, if averages pan out we'll win more than we lose, but I know that's definitely not good enough.  I know that Pop has this "Law of 22" which is a goal of limiting opponents to 88 points per game (22 points per quarter).  Spurs are hot now, and a lot of that is Richard Jefferson's hot shooting, but it really comes down to defense, and so far it's been a little lacking. 

What's hurting us?  Well simply put, our perimeter defenders (as good as they are) aren't as good as our perimeter defenders were in our championship years (read: nobody defends like Bruce Bowen).  Tack on to that the lack of a shot blocking presence outside of Tim Duncan on the floor consistently, and it really hurts us when our wings are beaten on the dribble.  I'm not going to go into a list of every single big man I wish could play next to Timmeh, but I seriously hope that Splitter steps up soon.  While Blair may be a more viable offensive option at this point, his liability on the defensive end may cost us later.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Regular Season Game 4: Visiting the Suns

Incidentally the only full NBA game I've seen this season thus far was the Suns losing to the Blazers on opening night.

PG Tony Parker Steve Nash
SG Manu Ginobili Jason Richardson
SF Richard Jefferson Grant Hill
PF DeJuan Blair Hedo Turkoglu
C Tim Duncan Robin Lopez
Bench Gary Neal Goran Dragic

James Anderson Josh Childress

Bobby Simmons Jared Dudley

Antonio McDyess Hakim Warrick

Tiago Splitter Channing Frye

I don't normally consider any bench matchup to be "key" but in this case I think I'll make an exception.  Why?  Well, because Hedo has been downright disappointing (there's a reason they played Rashard Lewis instead of Hedo at 4 in Orlando) and Hakim Warrick has been a huge spark plug off the bench, connecting with a lot of electrifying pick-and-roll plays with Nash.  Ultimately what this game boils down to is containing Steve Nash.  He's the key cog that will keep this team moving, and everything else moves off of him.  Not much else to be said.  I'm holding out on George Hill since I expect Pop to be extra careful with him, especially this early in the season, where we have the time buffer to do so.  For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, George Hill injured his shoulder after an awkward fall due to a flagrant foul from Craig Smith on a layup.

Boxscore Analysis: Spurs 97 - Clippers 88

I wasn't really expecting to do this, but when I started to catch the game on the DVR mode on League Pass, the game actually ended and they blackout the replay for a bit, and I went to bed.  Sorry.  I watched the 1st quarter and that's about it.  So back to these notes.

- Eric Gordon went off.  I think someone commented that we're conceding the mid-range jumper way too much.

- Manu got two quick fouls early, not cool, but hey it happens.  He still got 14 pts and 7 assists in 27 minutes.  I like the efficiency.

- Gary Neal is a nice pickup.  Somewhere in between Roger Mason Jr. and Steve Kerr? 

- Blair is still struggling to find his role.  Just calm down and play your game.

- Splitter finally got some floor time.  He looked a little tentative. 

- 10 boards for 'Dyess off the bench.  Good production.

- Jefferson looks like a man reborn, this could be the start of something very good.

- We need to blow out more teams so James Anderson gets more playing time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Regular Season Game 3: Visiting the Clippers

It's entirely possible and exceedingly likely that I probably will be doing a box score analysis review of this game.  Just warning you in advance.  With that being said, come on.  It's the Clippers.  I really should be ending my analysis with just that.  Seriously though, I REALLY don't want to be the first team to lose to the Clippers this season.

PG Tony Parker Baron Davis
SG Manu Ginobili Eric Gordon
SF Richard Jefferson Ryan Gomes
PF DeJuan Blair Blake Griffin
C Tim Duncan Chris Kaman
Bench George Hill Eric Bledsoe

Gary Neal Rasual Butler

James Anderson Al-Farouq Aminu

Antonio McDyess Craig Smith

Tiago Splitter DeAndre Jordan

While I hesitate to give Griffin the definitive advantage over Blair, it's possible it's just me being a homer.  I've seen enough Griffin highlights to know that while he does have a very wild (somewhat uncontrolled) style of play, he certainly does know how to translate his freakish athleticism into production.  That being said, the Clippers are still 0-3 despite Griffin averaging 16.7 points and 11 rebounds per game.  It'll be interesting how Pop devises the defense to try to contain him, or even let him get his own while mitigating the damage from the other players, namely Eric Gordon.

This brings us to our key matchup.  While I believe that Ginobili has the decided advantage over Gordon, Gordon is a fairly potent threat offensively, and thereby needs to be carefully guarded.  His shot wasn't falling against the Mavericks but I don't expect him to take significantly fewer shots.  Manu and RJ need to just continually make him work on the defensive end, either drawing silly fouls or just getting to the rim.  Hopefully that flusters Gordon enough that he can't focus on the defensive end.  That being said, I want Anderson and Jefferson and Manu, whoever is guarding him (maybe Hill too) to just be aggressive with him, don't let him get easy shots.  Force him to take shots with a hand in his face. 

Finally, this may be the first game we get to see Splitter in action.  I hope that he gets decent burn what with Bonner out and all.  I think he'll be a definitive difference maker, and will make the matchups very interesting.  I'm eager to see how he gets things moving on both ends of the court.  While not a tremendous rebounder, I hope that his shot altering ability combined with Blair's natural affinity for snatching the carom will work together very nicely.  I'm excited to see if he develops a particular mojo with any one player on the roster.

Boxscore Analysis: Hornets 99 - Spurs 90

You'll probably be seeing more of these than you'd like, which means I'll probably be writing more of these than I like, but frankly, I'm not going to get to every game, and I don't actually have television, which means I won't catch any of the nationally televised games either (blacked out on League Pass).  I'm already kind of flailing to catchup with everything, so if you didn't get your news fix, Tony Parker signed an extension.  Yay.  Okay, so what this boils down to is what I can read from the box score.

Saturday I was a little busy so I didn't watch the game, but I was needless to say, disappointed that the Spurs lost to what seems to be an aimless Hornets organization.  Of course with that in mind, I noticed that the Hornets are now 3-0 in the regular season... hrm... Well anyways... here are my notes:

- The fact that both Timmeh and Tony played under 30 minutes leads me to believe that Pop ceded this game fairly early on

- Paul only had 5 assists... I don't know what to make of that.

- Paul, West, Thornton, and Green all scored in double digits, going a combined 4-6 from beyond the arc.  I'm led to believe that we were killed on mid-range jumpers.

- DeJuan Blair was only 2-10 and blocked 3 times, methinks he's forcing things a little offensively, especially considering he didn't shoot a single free throw.  Though 11 rebounds is nice.

- Team only shot an overall 38.8%... yeesh.  Are we settling or forcing?  Either way, not good.  Maybe shots just weren't falling?

- Manu had 23 points but had to take 19 shots with 42% shooting to get it.

- Only TP (50%), RJ (63.6%), and Gary Neal (50%) shot anything resembling a respectable FG%.

- The bigs (McDyess, Duncan, Blair) went a combined 7-28.  I know Okafor is decent defensively... but David West and Jason Smith?

I think this is a degree of inconsistency with the role players we have to get used to.  I'm glad that Jefferson is showing great efficiency in the first couple of games of the season and I hope that continues, because that will be a great benefit, but with Timmeh seeing reduced minutes and decreased production thereby, we're going to need other players (namely Hill and Blair) to step it up.  Hopefully having Splitter back soon will help.