OKC 112-Spurs 106: Spurs 0-1

It’s cool y’all. We’ll go 81-1!

I was just as hyped as you were to find out we got LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency. The Spurs were declared obvious winners, and obvious favorites in the season to come. As the summer wore on, I became a little skeptical and so did the NBA writership.

Tony Parker looked to have lost a step in Euro Basket. This would be a non-issue if it weren’t part of a larger negative trend in his performance. The former Future of the Franchise has clearly been surpassed by Kawhi Leonard. That KL has deserved every bit of his promotion to number one option from 3-and-D guy says as much about his ability as it does about the Tony’s.

Tony’s decline wouldn’t be such an issue if his particular set of skills weren’t such a big part of LaMarcus Aldridge’s game. He thrived on pick and pops, and on isolations. With Tony and Manu more limited, who is going to run the PNR with LMA? 1

So we are left with isolations. He had a few last night but he came up short late, when the Spurs desperately needed a score. After a miss and an OKC three, Pop went to Kawhi and he managed a three point play.

When the Spurs lose, everything will be questioned. When they win, everyone will be happy. This isn’t new, nor is it unexpected. LMA got only 12 shots last night … but he only made four of those. He wasn’t just missing shots, but just off. For an example, witness that last terrible shot from Danny Green 2. The ball fell right to LMA and he … dropped it? The only excuse I can muster for him is that he thought the ball was going to hit the rim?

Meanwhile, Kawhi was cooking. He easily had his best regular season scoring game. He is cleary the number one option because he’s the most comfortable and most effective. I expect LMA to challenge that as he gets more comfortable in the offense.

There is a line of thinking around NBA bloggers LMA made the wrong decision, that the Spurs will not be able to overcome the new changes, and that the loss of depth will be concerning. While these are all possibilities or even likelihoods, they aren’t yet evident. It really has only been one game.

Teams degrade over a season as much or more than they “gel.” Really bad sign if a team comes out the gate looking off in month 1
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) October 29, 2015

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Now the question is, did the Spurs look off to you? Me either.

* * *

1. I mean _effective_ pick and rolls. [↩](#fnref:p132157676517-2)

2. Wow. That was a glaring example of my earlier point. That was an awful use of the pick and roll. [↩](#fnref:p132157676517-1)

G6: Missed Opportunity

I don’t like wasting great nights from role players. Marco Belinelli had an incredible game last night (23 points on 7-11 from three) much like Doc’s kid had in game four. The Clippers didn’t waste his out-of-nowhere performance, but the Spurs wasted the Italian Bomber’s.

This was partly because in Game 4 LA big guns went off. Chris Paul had 34. The Spurs’ big three didn’t perform. Kawhi and Tim had 12 each. Tony had eight. Manu had only three points on 1 of 6 shooting.

Popovich called the team ‘soft’ and while I’ll defer to him, it was mostly about effort. The Spurs didn’t play like they cared as much as LA. To be fair, no one plays as hard as a team that is going to be eliminated. The Clippers pulled out all the stops. The Spurs played like they were shocked (shocked!) to be going against such a committed team.

I don’t belive in jinxes. That isn’t to say that there might not be something we can’t put our scientific fingers on that makes us feel like we jinxed things. I don’t know. You don’t know. I never had the feeling like SA was going to completly shut down the Clippers last night. This Spurs team is good, but it isn’t the same one from the last two years. Manu is a shell of himself. Sure, Kawhi has taken a leap in ability and consistency, but he isn’t getting Chuck Barkley to shout his name. Danny Green, for one, isn’t playing at the same level that made San Antonio embrace him. That thing that SAS had the last couple of years has been gone all season. They didn’t get right until late in the season, and while we all figured it was just a bit delayed, the things that made them lose early on are the same things that are making them lose now. Timmy is consistently ballin’ like he was early, but he’s being left out to dry by an inconsistent supporting cast. Which makes this whole thing feel like 2002 in more ways than one.

I say these things because I know the Spurs better than I do the Clips. LA has been fantastic in spots, and certainly look like they have a Hall of Fame point guard passing to a dynamic, athletic inside combination, all coached by a championship-winning guy. This series could easily have been over were it not for a fortunate bounce the Spurs way in a couple of games. Games One and Three were one-sided, Two and Five were toss-ups. Four and Six were solid wins by good teams on the road. Surprise: Those wins were by LA in SA. That is scary, as I’m realizing slowly the fact that this means the Spurs have been outplayed this series.

Right now the Spurs will be the desperate team staving off elimination on the road against a Chris Paul-led team in which he likes to throw lobs to athletic big men. Lets hope we get a flashback to 2008.

LeBron Throws the Ball off Tim’s Knee: Spurs 7-4

Last we looked the Spurs were 2-3 and still building. Since, they’ve beaten the Clippers and Warriors1 away, which ended an undefeated streak, and ushered in another day in the Kawhi Era. He practically won the game against LA down the stretch, poaching Chris Paul twice late and pouring in 26. He dominated late with his defense against Golden State, also. He made some big baskets and got some big assists. This is the Kawhi Leonard Spurs we are seeing.

His big steals late are worth so much more than big baskets late.

They then made a stop at Staples to beat up on the Lakers. Seeing Kobe struggle was great, as I mentioned on the Gonzo in SA Show. Still it is another reminder of how long ago this was:

many a San Antonian’s heart. It seems that Kobe feels the same way.

A pit stop in Sacramento ended with a loss. The kind that Pop said was probably due to road trip fatigue. In those kinds of games you at least want to be close. They were. Just a well-short Manu three point play to tie it short. I’ll take it.

Thankfully the Sixers front office is taking. They didn’t put up a fight.

That led to tonight’s big showdown with LeBron. The media sorely wants LBJ to think of the Spurs as a rival. I don’t think of him as a Spurs rival. He certainly didn’t break anyone’s heart tonight. That is sort of requisite of being a rival. Or at least maintaining a rivalry.

And so it goes. Spurs look good despite Belinelli sitting out with a hurt groin, Splitter being out with a back injury, and no Patty Mills. He’s at least doing commercials. A 7-4 record is about as good as you can ask for at this point in the season. Memphis showed a bit of mortality, tonight so they look catchable. Maybe because Half-Man Half-Amazing was crying during the intros.

* * *

1. Former Spur Steve Kerr said of the Spurs: “I retired 12 years ago and the three main guys and the coach are still there." [↩](#fnref:p103094039672-1)

Spurs are 2-3: Slow Build

The Spurs have had an interesting week. After coming back against Atlanta, and seeing a version of the system they run, they turned around and let Houston win another Regular Season title, for which I’m sure there’ll be a ticker tape parade in H-Town. They then followed that up by falling short against a young, talented Pelican1 squad.

So what is the deal? Well, outside of everyone not being ‘right’, there was the standard benching of starters against Houston. Still, the bench is usually good enough to work through these lower tier NBA squads right? Right. But this is not the usual bench. Belinelli was out against New Orleans and Splitter is still out with a bad back.

I saw someone tweet that Austin Daye and Aron Baynes are not Marco and Tiago. That kind of sums it up. Still the Spurs are who they are and battled back against a young, inexperienced Pelican squad. Diaw worked over Anthony Davis but that wasn’t enough for kill his will. Davis still scooped in the eventual game-winning points.

Even the reigning Finals MVP isn’t in mid season form. He pulled up for the game-winning three too early, let Holiday block his shot, got the rebound and nearly won the game at the buzzer. Most of that possession is talent but if he pump fakes and then fires he has a more makable shot. I mean, when the three left his hand there was 3 seconds left in the game.

He has got to be aware of the time there.

Aside from injury, there is a general lack of crispness overall. No doubt you are thinking2 that there is a post-title hangover. There is, but it is natural. Pop has never coached a team back to the Finals after winning one, and he has most definitely hasn’t coached a team to three straight Finals appearances.

But he hadn’t coached a team to back-to-back Finals appearances before last year either. Things don’t happen until they do.


I had a mini-argument about Pop’s proclivity toward benching starters in back-to-backs. It wasn’t good argument from the other side, but it is one I’ve seen before.

  • The Spurs are hurting the NBA

Nope. The NBA is hurting the NBA with 82 game seasons packed into a relatively short amount of time. There is enough data that shows the chief criticisms of the league could be addressed by shortening the schedule, or spending the games out.

  1. Players don’t play hard in regular season – They are marathoning and not sprinting, as they do in the post-season. Duh
  2. There are too many games – Yep
  3. No fundamentals/ etc – This is a waning criticism, but one that still remains. We’d likely see more stars playing more if they had legs to play more often at a higher level.
  • The Spurs are being unfair to fans

Nope. See above. They are using some game theory here. Saving their better players for the end of the year where more people watch anyway.

  • What about Houston’s fans?

Such is the peril of buying an early season game. It is why playoff games are priced a bit higher.

Next

Spurs take on LA Clippers in Los Angeles and then the 5-0 (as of this writing) Warriors with the league’s second-leading scorer in Steph Curry. Things won’t get much easier from here on out. Splitter will be seeing a back specialties in LA, though. Interesting.

* * *

1. So weird. I don’t know how long it will take me to get over calling them the Hornets, despite there existing another team named ‘Hornets.’ [↩](#fnref:p102217157162-1)

2. As I am [↩](#fnref:p102217157162-3)

Opening Night: Spurs 101 Mavericks 100

The Spurs are 1-0. Tonight was about the rings and getting into the swing of things. If you’ve watched any preseason Spurs basketball (I haven’t, because I’m not crazy) you’ve likely seen a team that is mostly concerned with recovering from old man-edness, from an enjoyable summer, and in Kawhi’s and Patty’s cases, actual injuries.

Popovich is sporting a sweet new beard that makes him look like Sean Connery in League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

his summer national team hiatus, but I don’t mind it if he does.

The rings look awesome. Apparently they were handing out commemorative rings, y’all. So jealous right now.

The Game

The cook at the local burger joint said to his fellow employee: “This is Spurs basketball. It’s supposed to get your heart racing.”1 It was near closing time and I was finishing up my beer as the Spurs were pulling away in the fourth quarter. Little did I know that by the time I made it back for the final minutes it was indeed a close one.

It was enough to remind me that in May, these Mavericks2 were one game away from ending the Spurs season way too early. Such is life. Dallas looks good. New face Chandler Parsons maybe looked a little out of shape, after all. He finished with just five points on 2-10 shooting, including clanging the potential game-winner off the front of the rim. Should he have passed it to Spurs-killer Monta Ellis? Likely. I’m sure Monta thinks so. I’m sure I don’t care. I’m sure that I’m glad he didn’t.

How about Belinelli scoring again? Now that the Finals are over he’s back to the guy we saw last season. He’s draining threes and moving well. He finished with a team-high +13. Tony Parker predictably led the team in scoring with 23 and Ginobili shook off his poor preseason slump.

These guys have been doing this for ages and know how to plan for the NBA marathon. I wasn’t surprised nor outraged by the poor preseason play as that didn’t matter as much as tonight’s game did.

There is plenty to work out – the turnover at the end had Pop angry, not to mention the fact that the guys blew a seven-point lead with 3 minutes left. That the Spurs were able to pull out a solidly played game without a couple of starters (not to mention an important sixth man) is unsurprising and comforting. They are the same old Spurs, it seems.

Praeterea

  • Hey how about Tony cashing 4/4 three pointers?3
  • Peter Holt looks like he is near a heart attack at all times.
  • Chandler Parsons has only been a Maverick for one game and I already hate his face.
  • Kyle Anderson’s hair is crooked.
  • It is funny that they dramatically revealed the 2014 NBA title banner … when it looks exactly like the 2007 one right next to it.
  • Kawhi got fresh braids. #FinalsMVPLyfe

Altri Pensieri

Sitting in the cafeteria on campus this evening trying to catch up on school work, I overheard a brief conversation between a man and a woman working at the food outlet. He asked her if she liked the Spurs and whether she was excited about tonight’s game. She chimed in excitedly, half interrupting his question, confirming she was a fan and that she knew she’d be missing “their first big game” on account of work.

Although I also consider myself a fan, I wasn’t aware until that moment of the game tonight. I proceeded to google their schedule and saw that they’d be facing the Mavericks and we’re just nearing tip off. After indulging that mild curiosity I returned to work. That’s sort of how my fandom works.

My husband brought me back to the game, suggesting we find a place to eat after school where we could watch the remaining half. The Spurs won 101-100.

I think we played well, but not well enough considering the close margin by which we won. Ginobili was hitting a lot of 3s, which always makes the game more exciting to watch, but the rough spill he took later in the game that took him a minute to walk off reminded me that he doesn’t have as many games left in him as we might like. Plus he’s super bald. 😉

Also, I like Pop’s beard. It’s very… winterly. #GoSpursGo

* * *

1. Maybe. I can’t quite remember. [↩](#fnref:p101232167662-4)

2. Well not _these_ Mavericks. But enough of them. You know what I mean. [↩](#fnref:p101232167662-1)

3. One of which was the game-winner. [↩](#fnref:p101232167662-2)

Why you’re wrong and this NBA Finals matchup is awesome

I don’t know if I’ve seen a whole lot of “meh” for this series, but then again I’ve been away (relatively speaking) from the echo chamber that is the Internet, where one thought gets reflected back that it drowns out everything else, skewing what you think is consensus opinion.

Aftermath

This was the greatest series that I’ve seen. For ESPN talking heads and twitter NBA fans that only check the score via hashtags this counterintuitively legitimizes all the other Finals wins. The Spurs took the defending champs with the best player on the planet to seven games (and nearly squeaked out a win in six). Make no mistake, the Spurs were not the better team. San Antonio’s best player is 31, the same age as Miami’s second-best player. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are 37 and 35-going-on-36. It was through guile and savvy that they nearly stole the series in Game Six with an amazing display of basketball. That the Heat rallied and made a miraculous comeback says more about their ability than it does about any choking. Like San Antonio learned in 2012, sometimes you can’t out scheme youth, athleticism, and talent, even when spotted guts and experience. Yet the fact that the Spurs, Spartan-like, battled and earned the respect of any and everyone does more for their legacy than the sweep of LeBron’s 2007 Cavaliers ever did. Much like I will always remember that Allen Iverson dropped 48-points on the seemingly unbeatable 2001 Lakers more than I will remember that LA wen’t on to win four straight, I will remember the series where we nearly pulled out an improbable win over the favored1 Heat.

There aren’t many things I can rightfully be angry about while being a Spurs fan. It has been a great run for these last sixteen years. Before 1997, there were some solid seasons. Really, all the way back to Ice Man, the Spurs have been good-but-not-great on average. Tremendous. It hasn’t been complete and obvious glory, though. No back-to-backs that get automatic love. No great Finals series before this one against the Heat. No charismatic players to rally around. We have had to learn to love the not-so-obvious stuff: the wedge-roll, the extra-pass, the well-timed close out without fouling. That kind of thing. It isn’t sexy in the traditional sense. The defense-centric teams that won titles early in Tim’s career won respect from insiders but didn’t captivate anyone north of Waco. The NBA titles were met with begrudging acknowledgment. We both remember the slights: The asterisks, the boring label, the small market sneers, the yeah-buts. This series erased all that. It took a herculean effort from the best player in the world and a return to HOF form from the second best player on their team to eliminate our guys. Throw in a HOF last-gasp three pointer from Ray Allen to boot. The Spurs ain’t no chumps and there no one can deny that.

That kind of thing can get you really philosophical. The kind one gets when faced with non-traditional success (like losing in the NBA Finals.) To wit:

The Game Proper

Tim has made that layup thousands of times and missed it hundreds. Narrow it down to important games and he has made that hundreds and missed it dozens. Last night, he missed it. So it goes.

Basketball is a cruel sport. It is a game of trends, of runs, of averages, of reverting to the mean. Sometimes your shot leaves you. You try to stay confident, work hard to get in position, have good form, but it doesn’t matter what you do. Your shot will come back in it’s own time. You stand in all your old favorite places waiting for her to return. For it to be like it was before, when you’d do a rain dance that would barely move the net. Ask Danny Green and Shane Battier. Shane was reunited with his shot at the most opportune time. Danny’s left him sometime in Game Six. What can you do? You do what all the great shooters know to do: keep shooting. Sometime it isn’t just your shot. Sometime it is confidence that disappears. When that is gone you feel like you just learned the game, standing in the middle of the court wondering what the hell you are supposed to do next. Conversely, sometimes you feel like Neo. You see the next five moves; you, the court, the ball, your teammates are all one thing that you can control. It’s awesome. Ask LeBron and Manu. They know.

Basketball is cruel and that’s why they play best of seven and not best of one and that’s what makes Game Six so painful. Danny Green’s run was ending, while LeBron’s and Wade’s were starting again. One more game meant one more shot, one more chance to revert to the mean. Oh you didn’t know that LeBron shot a Nowitski-like career best from midrange and three point range this season? Didn’t know that Miami shot an NBA-record 55% effective field goal percentage? They did. The Spurs’ gamble nearly worked. It was bold, it was savvy. It didn’t work.

Like most things, all you can do is your best. The rest is fate and she can be unkind. The Spurs did their best. Fate was a tiny bit unkind these last two games. So it goes.

* * *

1. Heat were favored by seven going into game six, and six going into game seven. [↩](#fnref:p53519666189-1)

Basketball Super Bowl

There is nothing like a game seven. It is known. The NBA gets a terrible rap for being a league of loafers (it is more akin to guys running a marathon than being lazy) and so for casual folks, seeing two teams fueled by desperation and finality is enthralling. Whereas I have a higher appreciation for the Association, I empathize with these folks. I’ll pretty much watch any Championship-deciding game. Drama!

If the Spurs are anything like me1 they are feeling pretty good today. All punches-to-the-gut heal in time. That time can be a day-plus. You know this as well as I do. Any loss, to a brother, friend, HS rival, blue-haired lady at the bingo hall, puts an ugly feeling inside you that can only be completely removed by a win. Sure, time will heal that would up but it will leave a scar. These losses are like snake bites in that the only real way to guarantee a full return to mental health is to quickly act. Those mixed metaphors are meaning to say it is good that we are playing so soon after, in the same place, with the same guys.

Kenny Smith, TNT Analyst tells the story of how the Suns came back on his Rockets and erased a 20 point lead to win a playoff game twice. Houston felt terrible, were angry and disappointed. Then they remembered how easy it was to get up 20 points. Similarly, after all the self-reflection, cathartic sharing of terrible losses during late night meals, and poetry writing (wild guess), the Spurs have to be thinking to themselves “Wow, we got up 10 points (and 5 etc) in the fourth quarter in a must-win game against the best player on the planet and his sidekick with the misspelled first name.”[^2}. The question remains: can the Spurs muster the requisite physical energy to win this game? That is the big question. They may be mentally ready, but sometimes you just can’t overcome playing 40+ minutes when you are 37-years-old.


Re: The Worst Spurs Loss Ever.

I don’t consider this one the worst. Though I had a similar feeling to Game 7 vs Dallas in 2006, after Manu fouled Dirk and the Mavericks dominated OT, that was In-Their-Prime Spurs. Expectations were higher. This team was expected to limp out at the hands of Memphis/OKC/Denver. I maintain that life post-2007 has been a bowl of gravy. I don’t have nearly the same level of hate for the Heat as I did the Mavericks. No one on Miami punched any of our guys in the nads, ya’ll. No one there made fun of the River Walk. It just isn’t the same.


Re: Illegal Substitution

The fan o’ drama inside me would have loved to see them replay the final 5.2 seconds tonight with Miami’s prize being an immediate game 7. A psuedo-NBA FInals double header! If the Spurs would have won, we’d have seen all those Miami attendees got home sooo disappointed. I’m cruel. I would have loved that.


Re: Finals Ratings

People are fickle, don’t know much about basketball, and are sheep. This explains everything that is popular on television. In the same vein, this is the reason that there are unattended quality football and basketball games being played in your local area. _Ahem__UTSA_

Go Spurs Go.

* * *

1. Slow, rec-league-caliber desk jockey, confined to his halficle for 8 hours a day, who looks forward to Starbucks and Taco Tuesday. No? Nothing like that at all? MMkay. [↩](#fnref:p53443728146-1)

Season Preview

In my brief time as Air Alamo guy I wrote in last year’s season preview that Spurs fans should not be mad at the situation, that OKC had too much youth and athleticism, and we shouldn’t be surprised when we got dumped by a young squad of athletes, whether that was Memphis again or OKC’s youth troupe.

I was still sad when we were eliminated- especially by the way we were dumped. I’ll even admit that I didn’t take my own advice and was the tiniest bit surprised. I thought we had unlocked the secret of eternal basketball life. Instead OKC used our powers of ball-sharing against us and undid all the good that was built up throughout that weird lockout-shortened season.

This year we have the same squad. Whereas the 2011 champion Mavs have the all-reject roster, the 2012 favorite Lakers retooled with a HOF point guard and the most athletic 7-footer in the game. The Heat replaced shooters with a HOF shooter and a former $100 million man. The Thunder still have the best scorer in the game and a lot of talent that can score and is willing to share the ball. Overall we are one year older and the competition is one year more experienced.

This isn’t unusual. Our unwillingness to tinker is our greatest strength. The Spurs value the corporate knowledge, that oft referenced Popovich phrase. It has also served to render us invisible. There are only so many words that can be written about Pop and Timmy and the Spurs Way. Everyone is content to forget about the Spurs until June, when circumstances force them to re-pay attention.

This season we have something slightly different. The NBA press has long respected yet long awaited the end of the run. Fans here have anticipated The End for a while. Some, maybe even Tony Parker himself, have already declared the end as having come and gone. That debate is for another post. This season and in all the seasons to come instead of waiting to see signs of slippage and looking for a chance to retool, I want to see how far this thing goes. Don’t trade Manu. Don’t trade Tony. Don’t tank. Let’s be like Kramer and the car salesman. I want them to say that the Spurs and that other guy went farther with the same roster (or at least the same big three) than anyone ever dreamed. I want you to be there when it happens.

What will it look like? How far exactly can this thing go?

Let’s say it is the fourth quarter 5:39 to go. The score is tied 89-89. Where does the ball go? The guy with the hot hand? Tim? He hasn’t been the unquestionable choice since about 2006. Sure, he can win the games against the New Orleans’ of the world. Sure he can use his guile and experience to steal points from Anthony Davis and the like. How about Dwight Howard? How about Perkins?

Will it go to Manu? Depending on the night, depending on the week, he may not be up for it. He is in his mid-thirties and doesn’t dispense greatness with the the same frequency anymore. In the four straight losses to OKC he scored more than 13 points once.

Tony? He is 30 now. We know who he is. We know what to expect from him. He can score in bunches early. He can disappear late. It was fun to hate on him for a while because he had so much potential and would show little flashes of greatness occasionally. He is the youngest and has the freshest legs but he is not Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade or even James Harden. He is Tony Parker, sidekick.

The correct answer is the open guy. The system that go us here. It creates open shots. The flawless execution and ruthless corporate knowledge will render all opposition talent looking foolish and two steps behind. The obvious problem is the same one that was evident last year: we need Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Gary Neal and all the rest to not only carry the team in the regular season and early rounds of the playoffs as they did so well last year, but do so against the very best the NBA has in the highest pressure situations there are. It is an incredible specific situation to prepare for, and one that won’t appear for seven months.

It is a test of patience and focus. It is trying to beat a video game with no save points. You have to go straight through to the end perfectly. There is no room for slacking. The machine has to be well-oiled and running smoothly or some other team will be holding the Larry. There is no out. There is no guy to toss the ball to and say “Clear out. You are the offense the rest of the way.”

This is the most intriguing aspect of the following the Spurs this and every year from now until the gas tank is empty. It is far easier to manage egos of the Heat guys in their prime, supremely talented guys that can win a game single-handedly, or guiding young talents on the Thunder, who have the best scorer in the game and something to prove. The Spurs have 30-year olds to manage, young guys to groom, and role players to coach up just to have the slightest of chances. Other teams need role players to “step up” when the stars are having an off night. This Spurs team needs them every night or there will be no tomorrow.

Prediction: 55-27. Exit Second round in 6 games to LAL. Bastards.

Dreaming About KG

Impossible is nothing. 

If Sports teaches us anything it is that the impossible is only until it isn’t. In the unlikely scenario that Kevin Garnett, enemy of Tim Duncan, spends his final years in San Antonio it would represent a significant change of course, surprise some people, and make me exceedingly giddy. 

It would take some financial finagling. Hey, LeBron, Bosh, and Wade took pay cuts to get together. Duncan and Garnett have made all the money already. Both are über-competitors. If you told them that all it would take to win another, possibly last-chance title is a pay cut and some hatchet-burying?

The TD window is still open but only just. Tony Parker may just only be Regular Season good. He and Ginobili spark the new fast-break first offense. None of that has to change much. KG is a still-rangy big man that can pass and play the post better than Tiago Splitter.

And really, are we going to compromise a chance at a title for the development of Tiago Splitter?

 Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Manu Ginobili, Stephen Jackson – that there is a list of ballers that don’t quit, don’t get scared, and still can play. We don’t have young guns like OKC and Miami. I can live with a roster of bad asses.