Clipper Cure All

Did San Antonio learn so this from Golden State and decide to turn it on in the third quarter?

Aldridge is steady with his 20+ ppg, and is vaguely looking like Timmy on the score sheet. Pay tossed in some threes but Rudy Gay and Dejounte Murray are battling for the Most Fun Spur to watch.

Rudy Gay can score and that is great fun to watch. He showed some extra range was fun but the he followed that with a heat check. For we playoff-minded folks, the Rudy Gay they gets into pass lanes and uses length to bother teams is the one that will change a series.

LMA and Pau were not the most highly rated defensive players coming into San Antonio yet have held their own (in spots, in Pau’s case).

As Captain Jack once said, “The Spurs staff helps you be a great defender” and all that is needed is mental and physical effort.

So far, everyone looks about where they need to be. Now that the IG rumormongering is that the Klaw will be returning next week, things are looking up.

Brace yourselves, Kawhi is coming.

Gm 3: Spurs 105 Rockets 92

Patrick Beverly annoys me in video games. I played as the Thunder and my cousin as the Rockets, and when he put Bev on Westbrook he frustrated me with steals and tough defense. This was a couple of months ago and ever since I have irrationally not liked the real version either, after having previously had no opinion of him other than that he looks like a mechanic 1.

In Game 1, we knew Patrick Beverly was going to bother Tony Parker after giving the presumptive MVP a hard time in round one. And so it came to pass. TP didn’t have his best game, getting ripped and even blocked (by Lou Williams, no less). Was it Beverly or was it just a bad game? A little of both, probably.

Tony got the better of The Mechanic on Wednesday but obviously will not be able to continue this little battle. Enter Dejounte Murray, rookie PG with no fear. Before the game he reportedly told Pop “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”

As it was, he may have been mentally fine, but The Mechanic was in the dude’s chest for every minute of the first quarter, getting two steals, forcing Murray to think about things and get a little rattled after a while. Dejounte lost the ball while turning on a fast break with no one around him.

Beverly does not let you get comfortable with your dribble, and his style of defense takes some time to adjust to. Tony Parker needed a game, and Dejounte Murray probably needs one as well. The good news is that people can adjust to anything after some time. The Spurs adjusted to Memphis’ physicality and size but then needed time to adjust to the Rockets pace and space. So it goes.

My gut was telling me the Spurs were in for a beating tonight. Tony Parker is and will be missing and this is the first game that adjustments begin. This is not a regular season rotation experiment, but a playoff game wherein the opposing coaching staff is doing scouting for all of your options full-time. The game three bump happened only for Harden, who scored 43 points and found his three point shooting stroke again. The Spurs missed something like 100 jumpers (actually they shot 9/26 or 34% from the field, including 1/8 from three) in a quarter that Pop called “the worst display off offense I’ve ever seen.”

The entire first half was ugly, although the Spurs played better in the second. The squad managed 43 at the half (to the Rockets 39). That is only four points more than they managed in the first half of game one. While the Spurs offense was not producing buckets, it was patient and focused. That, remember, was the key to winning the second game.

LaMarcus Aldridge made a welcome appearance as an All-Star quality forward in this one. He was assertively shooting his turnaround, his catch-and-shoot 20-footers, and even tried a couple of threes. The team made a concerted effort to get him the ball in his spots, and out of timeouts, so credit is due all around. Pau is a great passer and has been great sneaking good passes to him for buckets. He did so last game, and slipped the bounce pass to Aldridge late in the fourth that was was an three point play.

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Kawhi finished 9/20 and missed two free throws. This, in his terms, was an off-night but he managed to be amazing anyway. After 19 years of overlooking the consistent greatness of Tim Duncan, I am making it a point to appreciate the Kawhi brilliance.

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Of course the other guys stepped up and made plays. Jonathan Simmons had that above, a clutch end-of-quarter three, and a great pass to LMA for a bucket. Outside of Trevor Ariza’s 12 points (five of five from deep) the Rockets were outplayed by the Spurs bench + other guys. It made all the post Game One reaction to the blowout seem knowing and not simply just player-speak. “It was just one game, we have to go out and do better.” That seemed trite but as Chris Paul might say, what do you expect them to say?

It remains no less true after this game, also. To win a series you need to win four, and so far the Spurs have simply won two. There is more work to do. Mike D’Antoni should make adjustments, but I have seen some people question his ability to do so.

The one adjustment they did make coming into Houston, was to attack Pau more violently.

Rockets Adjustments

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Harden, after missing more than a few layups in the second game, looked to dunk the ball more often instead of laying it in. That isn’t to say that James did not get layups this time because he did. Ariza was more forceful also. Tellingly, as was highlighted by the ESPN crew, the Spurs forced more midrange shots than the Rockets typically enjoy.

Look at the shot charts for game one and game five. Look at those midrange attempts.

Shot Chart Comparison

Remember the difference in playoff games is a handful of shots, usually. Taking even five more shots at midrange is better for San Antonio than the Rockets shooting five more threes, or five more layups.

Of course it also helped that the Spurs have insisted on not letting James Harden bait them into cheap fouls, where he can go to the line and rack up free threw attempts. He was more than a little frustrated with the calls he wasn’t getting and that is great.

Defense

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That is quality defense. Grant Hill commented on how the Spurs were using their anti-Suns defense from the mid-2000s. Then, then stuck to the Suns’ shooters and played two vs two. Then it was Nash/Amaré and now it is Harden/Capela. The Beard had 43 last night, and it was not near enough. When he tried to force a pass here and there, Patty got a steal, or nothing happened. Ryan Anderson, he of the 16 points per game average in San Antonio, managed just two.

In Game Four the Rockets will shoot a little better, but so should the Spurs.


  1. Every time my cousin got a steal with Bev he shouted ‘THE MECHANIC’ and I laughed and got angry at the same time. Lesson: Do not play video games. 

Kawhi Goes Off; Spurs Lose Anyway

Kawhi made seven of the Spurs’ nine made threes. Danny Green six (of six) of the twenty-one misses. Patti Mills went 1/4, Manu 0/4. Memphis made twelve of twenty-seven spread out over a handful o players.

The running subplot for the Spurs has been: Who will help Kawhi? Tonight Tony Parker was that guy, helping with 22 points on a series of nostalgic drives to the cup. Manu had his fourth straight blanking and Danny Green’s jumper was dry.

LaMarcus put up only 13, but had an efficient night and looked aggressive. He even had some highlight dunks.

So how did the Spurs lose this thing even though Kawhi nearly did everything in his power to try to steal it? Well, they had no answer for Conley that doesn’t involve putting the Klaw on him (which means Parker has Carter 🙃). That’s not a game-ending proposition, but not hitting open jumpers is. Mills missed the open looks that keep the offense humming and Danny Green couldn’t buy a bucket.

When Kawhi is more human, the Spurs are set up to get blown off the court. The Grizz former D-leaguers are getting buckets and making plays, while the Spurs are missing jumpers. Manu missed a rhythm three, and on the following defensive possession lost his man for a corner three. That’s how you lose.

After all that, we have to acknowledge the tough-as-hell Grizz squad that would otherwise be fun to root for. That old-school bully ball is what the Spurs have recently adopted to much success, but as Bane said “Ah you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it.”

LMA and Pau are getting bullied — not into submission — but to the point where they don’t have an obvious advantage. Without the inside-out threat, the offense is a little out of rhythm. That’s the only explanation I can muster for Manu’s disappearance.

Mills had a chance to push the lead to four in OT but was blocked and Gasol got a three-point play the other way. That’s good hustle basketball on their end, and the type of play that it seems only Kawhi is making the Spurs’ way right now.

Before the series I called a tough six-gamer but was swayed a bit by the easy first two games. The silver lining is that this reminds me of the Mavs series from 2014. Yes, that was the year that the same Vince Carter hit a three that put Dallas up 2-1.. That tough series propelled the Spurs on to the best basketball seen until the Warriors copied it.

Spurs and The Thunderous Comeback

Hubie Brown talked about Kawhi’s jump stop to get a shot off in the last minute.

That the Klaw managed to get a shot off is unremarkable in and of itself, what made it worthwhile was that it was a good shot, a fadeaway jumper that he makes with regularity. It missed — but the carom wasn’t wild or unpredictable to his teammates. LMA grabbed the board, was fouled and took the lead from OKC and the Spurs stole it. That is the difference from say, Danny Green taking a shot at that moment, and Kawhi Leonard. It is also what makes a contested midrange jumper valuable.

In any comeback there are big moments that are seemingly memorable, but get lost. A hustle play, a big rebound, a turnover. This one had plenty and Manu was a part of a good chunk of them. Floating jumpers, falling down assists, huge buckets, great passes — Ginobili had a great game that I honestly will forget come late May. So it goes.

Also remarkable? The recent defensive prowess of LaMarcus Aldridge. He has quietly become a force inside against even the Warriors and Thunder. He managed to get a couple of huge blocks in this one, including the one below. He had a sequence against GSW yesterday where he challenged a shot and got a block to save a fast break situation.

Meanwhile Pau was huge offensively, which is what he was signed to do. Whereas we all were thinking the big man that would expand his range would be Aldridge, continuing the trend from last season, it has actually been Pau. It has been more than fantastic, as Pau has hit the kinds of shots and made the kinds of plays that change games. They also are a part of the comebacks that are oh so necessary to pull off. He had a stationary give-go with Manu that got himself a three and later forced a foul on Kanter that resulted in a couple of freebies. Those are winning plays that make up for his lack of footwork. Interestingly, the way that Russ Westbrook plays means that Gasol is not so vulnerable at the basket. He is good at challenging vertically and so the Thunder roster does not do much to pull him into vulnerable PNR situations where he struggles.

Watch LMA be a Classic Defensive Center

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Other Stuff

I bet you feel a little bit better about blowing a 20+ point lead against GSW after overcoming an even bigger 20+ (because it was later) against OKC. The Thunder are not as good a team as Golden State, but the Spurs got beat down last time they went to Oklahoma City and this served as some measure of a psychological win.

The Spurs do not need a psychological win you say? Well witness Kawhi viciously attacking the basket to seal the game. That kind of passion is at least something. Is it just straight competitiveness? Sure, and that kind of competition loving makes a player want to avenge a previous loss. I think the Spurs were a bit hungover from the loss and also were angry. It was an ugly win and these are my favorite kind because everyone has to dig deep and learn a little more about themselves.

Still, the Spurs beat a one-man team and had to scrape and scratch to do so. These last two games had about 3 periods of solid, good, Spurs basketball. That’s out of eight, mind you. There is room for improvement as the team heads toward the postseason. While the Warriors all but sealed first place, there is always a sliver of hope for the top seed, if not the desire to have a good run of form going in to the next phase. These two things should hopefully give the team some incentive to pick up the pace a bit.

Election Week Delayed Me; Now Some Thoughts

This was a tough week to deal with. Aside from that, the Spurs had lost back-to-back at home.

Against the Rockets at home, there was another first half deficit to over come, some poor defensive rotations, and a chance to win the game at the end.

Right now we are falling into one of two camps: the first is the It’s Early And Everyone Is Hurt the other is Getting Used to All The New Guys. There is some overlap here and I am in that Venn diagram middle.

Everyone is excited about the starting lineup getting together for the first time and the real season beginning.

All that is well and good and probably true. I do not want to put a lot of stock in this transition, but it does concern me that the Spurs are not winning the games they won last year, the games they should win, and instead are giving away large early leads.

Some of it can be blamed on the schedule, but there is not a one-to-one thing going on is there? The Utah home game was inverted, and so we cannot blame the loss on travel, and the Clippers were on a back-to-back also.

So . . .

Right now the GSW look better and more cohesive after Curry found his touch. They still are missing fully operational Klay Thompson, but they are winning. The Spurs are losing. They are struggling with non-Spursy plays.

Houston

On Wednesday the Spurs went down early, fought back, battled back in the third and lost on a last second shot.

There was a sequence in the third quarter where Kahwi was saving himself guarding Corey Brewer and then did not attack James Harden on the offensive end. Sean Elliott noticed it and said it was a missed opportunity. It is the kind of thing that LeBron James would have noticed, with his ridiculous Hoops IQ, and a thing to watch Leonard improve.

There were little things where he was trying that one hand floater and it was just a little off all night. Still, he scored 34.

Gasol increasingly looks like a liability, as Pop had to sit him for comebacks a few games already. I am a little worried about this. This is the kind of thing that is exaggerated in the postseason.

The little things Danny Green did were great to see. He only went 2-8 from three, but ad two straight great defensive plays early in the fourth that were sorely missing from the early Spurs run.

The Spurs were sloppy / unlucky all night and so were the Rockets. James Harden Harden’d and that killed them. He was efficient and got other guys shots, while our guys were struggling for the easy stuff.

Detroit

The story was Gasol getting 21 points, but he had a more even matchup, as Andre Drummond is a more traditional center than any other team has. Still, the Spurs managed to look a bit disjointed as the second unit was weird, and went into half down three.

I liked that there were not as many obvious transition defense breakdowns, but then again Detroit is not really the type to get those. They are lengthy, and tough, and that kind of thing is the Spurs’ strength.

Tony reappeared, giving all of us Parker skeptics a few pangs of regret. He has lost a step, still is too streaky with his jumper, and probably is not as amenable to losing the limelight to Kawhi as he lets on. He still knows this system and can run this team better than Patty Mills.

Bala Pat is faster and has a much sweeter shooting stroke, but he lacks the patience and change of pace that Tony has. It is a subtle thing, but things are a little calmer when TP is in.

Speaking of the old guard, Manu hit back to back threes in the third to push the lead to 8. The first he ste the offense, calming the team after a stretch of frantic play (play that he was a part of). He posted LMA via Simmons, then hit the catch and shoot rhythm three. The second, he did a classic Manu wherein he pump faked 84 times and fired an off-balance shot going to his left.

The game was close but not really in doubt. Tobias Harris attempted to cut the Spurs lead to six but was rejected by Gasol. This is telling in that Gasol was not able to defend Chris Paul or James Harden at the rim. But Tobias Harris is obviously not in their league. So it goes. Spurs win.

at Houston

Shea Serrano wrote a bit about this game through the prism of watching it with his kids.

My earliest memories were watching the Spurs vs Rockets with my little brother and the both of us listening to Stan Kelly’s nasally voice say “2 minutes!”. Good times.

The Spurs brought out the year’s projected starting line up of Tony, Danny, Kawhi, LMA, and Gasol and it looked good early. Everyone was surprisingly fresh which continued that weird streak of unexpected performances in games.

James Harden is good.

You can tell a really good player by how open his teammates get in his presence. Kawhi Leonard is getting to that point, but right now he still gets enough single coverage to do what he likes, wich partly explains his remarkable consistency to work these dudes nightly. Since he has been able to create his own shot — last two years basically — he has taken his game to new heights but has not quite gotten to the Harden levels offensively. This is fine, but just evident when Harden’s forays into the lane focus the entire defense and create wide open shots for role players.

Yes, Harden is light years away from KL defensively.

The Spurs controlled this game the entire way and Parker’s presence was the big story.

“He gets us organized,” Popovich said. “He hasn’t been with us so much this season. He’s just a stability factor, and that was a big help.” Pop

George Hill Gets Revenge

Utah was on more than a few sleeper lists. They are young, athletic, and added some veteran leadership in three vital spots to boost them. We did not see Bobo tonight, as he sat but we did see George Hill hit some big shots in the fourth quarter to pull it away despite another 30 from Kawhi.

The Spurs got punched to start this one, allowing 38 first quarter points. Everything looked righted when they went on a 15-0 run in the second, only allowing the Jazz 16. I felt the confidence of a fan of a team that destroyed GSW in the opener and won 67 games last season.

I was wrong to feel such confidence. George Hill was hitting tough shots, Joe Johnson got some clutch points late in the fourth as the Jazz closed things out with 33 in the period.

Sean Elliott attributed the Jazz effort to lax defense and the Jazz taking advantage of Spurs mistakes. That’s simplistic and probably about right.

The Spurs had it close until about midway through the fourth until self-inflicted turnovers.

We get the Jazz on Friday in SLC, so the revenge factor is in play. I can’t think they’ll shoot this well, especially if they are not getting such wide-open looks. There were some rotation problems that allowed some Jazz role guys great shots.

During the middle portion, the Spurs looked more like the team that started the season. The ongoing problem (for me) is that every team has had some great looks for long stretches. GSW was blown out but they missed some great looks to start.

With all these new guys, it makes sense that there will be blown assignments. No one is overly worried, but I will point out that George Hill and company scored a lot down the stretch while Pau Gasol was in the game.

That is still an issue.

Everyone Is Watching You Kawhi

Kawhi scored sixteen in the fourth quarter of the Heat game in Miami. The Spurs had a long trip and rested LaMarcus. That might explain the loss of a 16-point first half lead but a good portion could be assigned to the Heat. Hassan Whiteside had a nice game as they try to get him to play worthy of his contract.

It was good game for Pau, who was able to show the scoring touch he is known for, flipping various floaters, jumpers, and of course moving the ball well.

USA Today’s Sam Amick featured the Spurs today, and discuss Pau’s transition. Any Spurs newcomer has a hard time, and without Tim to set the tone, it can be a little different. This discussion got me thinking about the extreme good fortune the Spurs have enjoyed (that is helped by good scouting and development). Former MVP David Robinson tutored Tim Duncan, transitioned into a role player, and retired. Then two-time MVP Tim Duncan guides Kawhi Leonard, recommends he get to the line, and retires. While Tim was already an MVP when Dave retired, Kawhi was the two-time defensive player of the year and MVP runner up. Oh an a Finals MVP. Good enough.

Despite the always-frantic and frustatingly good play by Goran Drajic, the spurs pulled it out by going to their best player. He smoothly dominated again. It is incredible. Nearly every major publication that follows the Spurs has written something on the guy and for good reason. He is still defending at the highest level, but adding a next-level of efficiency this season.

It is so hard to add anything to your game without sacrificing the time and effort required to perform at others. Mike Jordan was a good defender, but let Scottie Pippen do the grunt work against the league’s best. KL is out here defending the best, going against the opponent’s best, and succeeding even more than he was last season.

Ridiculous.

Jonathan Simmons Show

Raise your had if you saw the Spurs obliterating the Warriors at Oracle Arena AKA ROARacle, AKA the second toughest place to play in the league over the last two regular seasons, AKA the spot where San Antonio was hosed by 41 combined last year.

Outside of the crazies, no one saw that coming. Privately I said a 35 point win … for the Warriors.

Quick And Dirty Analysis

The Spurs used their size (two 7-footers!) to bully the Dubs for offensive rebounds. And on defense, they pressured shots at the rim. The stars on both teams were bright — KD had 27, Draymond Green had 18, Kawhi had 35 (career high), LMA had 26 and 14. But the Spurs role players stepped up. Jonathan Simmons had himself the game of his life, scoring on his first six shots and blocking reigning two-time MVP Steph Curry on a chase down in the first half.

Implications For The Rest of the Year

The Spurs played hard and were locked in the way a team trying to prove something usually is. The Warriors played like they won the title and had a ring ceremony to begin the night. That is only somewhat reaasonable since they probably felt like they won the off-season championship by signing Kevin Durant. That is understandable.

They were nigh-guardable offensively in the first half. Kevin Durant showed signs of being the defensive powerhouse that he displayed in last year’s playoffs, but the sheer size of the Spurs lineup, combined with the hustle of the role guys suggested that the Warriors have a book on them now. Go big, beat them up inside, have an MVP candidate run the offense (LeBron, Kawhi, Russ).

For the good guys, everything was coming up Spurs … unless you look at Pau Gasol’s +/-, which was a ridiculous -13 for the game. In a 29-point blowout win, that is completely insane. The Dubs targeted his defense nearly every time he was on the floor and found success more often than not. This was all as feared. He is slow laterally, and while he challenged shots at the rim, he is not useful enough in other situations to make him worth playing. The thinking was that he could balance those defensive deficiencies with offense. It was a reasonable assumption, given that last year’s Spurs could not score worth a damn against this GSW team. Later against OKC it was similar.

Tonight, none of that mattered.

Other

That Jonathan Simmons unnecessary dunk was disrespectful hhahahaha. I loved it. No one can tsk tsk the dude because going hard all the time is how he got to this point. Anything else is being untrue to himself. Dunk on ’em, Simmons.

Begin Anew

Life and basketball both move on without you.

The Spurs will move on without Tim Duncan. So it goes.

The 2016-2017 season is upon is and while the Spurs sport familiar faces, they have a new set of circumstances: inner turmoil.

LaMarcus Aldridge might be traded? What? Ever since Zach Lowe (see below) mentioned it, it has been brought up. The surprise is two-fold: it is the Spurs that are having this issue. And the Spurs just signed the dude last season.

But LMA might not have been happy before the All-Star break last year

The “rumblings in NBA circles” about Aldridge wanting to go to the Cavs last year do not make any sense. If his concern in San Antonio is an offense that doesn’t revolve around him, why would he want to go to Cleveland and be the third banana?

CBS Sports

Right. That does not make sense. But it still could be true. I never fully understood LMA’s unhappiness in Portland. More than a few dudes who follow the league mentioned that it was weird that LMA started doing the things he refused to do in Portland — rolling hard to the rim, defending, deferring on offense — but did in San Antonio with gusto. Or maybe it was only perceived gusto.

Really, it seems like LMA is frustrated that he is not the leading scorer and All-Star around whom the team revolves. Also, he does not feel ‘coddled.’

Wut.

While he says the right things about winning, he does hint at his discomfort with his numbers.

“To be seen as still valuable and still one of the top players in the league even though I’m not averaging 25, that’s pretty nice,” he said.

Winning is the objective, but Aldridge admitted, “When you do something for nine years, that’s who you are.”

This is a storm that is just beginning to brew. Let’s check in on other things.

What else does Zach Lowe have for us?

  1. The Clippers, not the Spurs, will be the No. 2 seed in the West

It’s ridiculous to worry about the Spurs. Their defense can survive without Tim Duncan; they allowed 98.6 points per 100 possessions when Duncan sat last season, a mark that would have led the entire stinking league. They beat younger, stupider teams just by making the proper play every time on both ends.

But I’m a little worried about the Spurs. Their defense and rebounding should take a hit with Pau Gasol sliding into Duncan’s starting spot alongside LaMarcus Aldridge. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are a combined 73 years old, and San Antonio didn’t add anyone to soak up some pick-and-roll duty. (Scouts love Dejounte Murray, but it’s hard to see him playing much as a rookie.)

Zach Lowe’s 30 Crazy Predictions

That is good analyzing. This Blog maintains a sense of unease at the thought of relying on Pau Gasol for anything other than offense. We watched him in the Olympics, and while he put up nice numbers, he could not move his feet well defensively. As the New Looming Threat is the same old Warriors, the prospect of Gasol and Aldridge having to guard Draymond and — gulp — KD?

I am starting to see why the Spurs would consider trading LMA. I disagree on the Dejounte Murray note. I think he gets significant minutes. Barring some miraculous jump in production from any of the back end of the roster or an injury, DM should be getting the third PG minutes that translate to lots of playing time in blowouts and back-to-backs.

He is the athlete we gave up (George Hill) and the youth that we do not have any more (Tony Parker) at the premier position in the league. He is still learning his place in the league but his ability combined with the confidence (cockiness?) provide some of the swashbuckling swagger that Manu just does not have every night. Also, he still has Tony, Manu, and even Patty to learn from. That’s something to be hopeful of.

Roster Moves and Prepping For A Rebuild

The Spurs are making moves.

> Happy to tell you guys that I’ll be coming back to the Spurs for another season. #backhome

— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) July 7, 2016
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Manu is back.

Tim is probably (eek) going to retire. Pau is coming to the River Walk. Boban, meme star is gone, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein and so the Spurs “replaced” him with Dewayne Dedmon, formerly of Orlando, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo’s The Vertical

While Dedmon doesn’t compare amazingly well to Boban statistically, he is intriguing. Intriguing the way Boban was, just in a different way. Boban was freakishly big. Which feels insulting to write about a human but I mean, just look. The Spurs simply couldn’t match the Pistons offer sheet and picked up a bargain big man who will be useful. He can run the floor and finish above the rim fairly spectacularly. While the Spurs are losing Tim (likely) and West, they are gaining mobility and height, and youth. Remember Pau is five years younger than Tim.

That’s the positive outlook of the post-Durant scramble to build rosters. While here in San Antonio we are used to “rebuilding” years of 50+ wins, feeling outside of the championship favorite cool person table is not fun. If you want to feel a little better about it just remember that the 2011 Mavericks pulled off an upset against a super team. So did the 2004 Pistons. So yeah. Hope.

More on Dedmon: He’s a hard worker who has improved every year he’s been in the league. He is pretty good on the pick-and-roll and likes to block shots spectacularly. While that is fun, having an energy guy to run the floor and get easy buckets is basically a poor-man’s Steven Adams. A two-year deal for $6 million is a steal. I love this move for days. From Yahoo:

Dedmon has carved a niche in the league becuase of his defenisve motor and ability to finish at the rim.

I’ll take that.

Meanwhile, the Spurs are looking to fill out the roster with some of those draft-and-stash guys we’ve seen glimpses of the last few years. Guys like Livio Jean-Charles. He’s also young, can run, and could use some time learning from a future HOF center and a All-Star C/F. You know, guys like Pau and LMA.

The team is also expected to sign Davis Bertans this summer. He’s a shooter and has some game. Basically younger, more mobile Matt Bonner.

Bertans, Charles, and Dedmon are the makings of a lottery team if we started these guys or depended on them for major minutes. They should be a part of a younger, more athletic bench that supports the MVP-candidate, All-Star PF, and HOF Center, and aging Spurs Legends as they lead this team to somewhere in the 50+ win range. Although I may be underselling it a bit, apparently.

Wins Projections based on roster moves:

> Here’s a very (very) early wins projection for the 2017 season based on the current @Rotoworld_BK depth charts. pic.twitter.com/D4nGWW0SvV

— Kostya Medvedovsky (@kmedved) July 6, 2016
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