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.


  1. Bill Walker? Luc Richard Mbah a Moute? Anthony Randolph? The Spurs can't really afford to trade away any contracts, except for their scraps. That limits their trade possibilities. Good post, though.

  2. Yeah, it's hard to find anything without a salary dump. There are a lot of players I want, but I'm leery of giving up any of our pieces since we're playing such a big rotation, this really only leaves Chris Quinn and maybe Gary Neal available to trade. I'm still not sure why no one has looked at Pavlovic, but there must be a good reason. I may be crazy, but isn't Ricky Davis supposed to be a free agent or something? He's essentially a the epitome of a poor man's Stephen Jackson.