Are The Spurs Too Deep?

helpwanted.jpgAs we have watched the first 7 games of the playoffs, we have seen some thrilling play by Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan.  We have seen Barry do his thing, come off the bench to make 3s.  We have watched Vaugn, in backup duty, hold down the fort against two of the best point guards a  gainst the league.  We have seen buzzer beating shots, a blowout in Phoenix, stellar defense, amazing offense, and a young team  from New Orleans shred us.  Twice.
As I watched two games against those Hornets, I asked myself, are we too deep? We have the obvious, Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan.  They do their thing, but like any great players in the NBA, they do have a bad night on occassion.  Bowen is there for defense, and he does it well.  Every great team has a guy who made his name off of playing D, and the Spurs have Bowen, and to a lesser extent, Udoka.  Mark Cuban has been gracious enough to pay Finley to occupy the 2 slot for a few minutes each game, until Popovich says Manu can play.  Vaughn has played in the system long enough, that he isn’t going to mess it all up when ‘The French Flash’ needs a breather.  Now, for the rest of the team.
Let’s start with Bonner, who is inactive for the playoffs.  Every time I see David West doing his thing, I can’t help but  wonder why Bonner isn’t playing.  He’s had a moderate amount of success against that type of player.  He’s not stellar, he’s not going to completely shut them down, but he doesn’t let them get out of control either.  Bonner can also shoot outside.  He’s like a poor man’s Robert Horry, from his younger years, but without all of those rings.  But whose spot should Bonner have on the roster?
Stoudamire.  Mighty Mouse is doing an excellent job of playing cheerleader this year.  He basically keeps the seats warm, until somebody has a huge lead, and then he’ll play the last 4 minutes of the game.
This brings me to Oberto and Thomas.  Thomas was brought in to help out on defense in the post, which he has done when he isn’t in foul trouble.  Oberto seems to have forgotten what it is he’s supposed to be doing out there, as he’ll make a basket here and there, but disappears most of the night.  Perhaps he’s already thinking about this summer’s Olympics.
Horry is still here as well, Mr. Intangible.  Well, I’ve said it before, intangibles are well and good, and brains count for a lot in basketball, but so does production.  This is one Big Shot who hasn’t done much offensively so far.  A 3 here, a 3 there, a nice pass there, and 11 defensive lapses down there.  Face it, he’ll probably hit a buzzer beater to win the game before the year is done, but he can’t move fast enough against West or Chandler, or Amare, or Gasol, or Garnett, he’s just being used when he’s playing D.
So what am I getting at here?  Well, we need SOMETHING different.  I still like the idea of young legs coming in here, but in San Antonio, you do need something resting atop your neck if you want to get playing time.  This offseason, there will be options.  The Hornets have shown us, very obviously, that aside from the Big 3, nobody can create anything.  J.R. Smith will be available.  So will Corey Maggette.  These guys can still create.  Mr. Clipper is a pretty decent defender, and Smith improved his defense this year, and the Spurs coaching staff will only help him progress. Stoudamire and Oberto haven’t brought that much to the table so far in these playoffs, so we can let them leave.  Either of those perimeter guys should be able to fill in nicely.
Barry isn’t getting any younger, and his defense has become suspect, so adding a guy who can shoot the 3 makes him expendable.matchup.png  We’ll let him leave with Horry, and somewhere out there, is a young big guy, who is a ferocious rebounder, particularly on the offensive side, who is also an athlete that can really get up and down the court in a hurry.  This is who we need on the other side of the Big Fundamental.   He’ll get points off of putbacks, and Duncan won’t have to shoulder the rebounding the way he did against Phoenix.  Who knows, maybe the Spurs brass can pull a Lakers and get Dwight Howard or Al Jefferson for some spare parts.
Is this post a bit far fetched?  Absolutely.  Will we see a lot change before next season starts?  Probably not.  Does something need to change?  Most definitely.  The Olympics are coming, Manu and Tony will be a bit worn out next year.  We need some younger legs to help carry the burden.  We aren’t going to get anyone who can challenge the Big 3′s dominance, but someone else who can create their own shot would be nice.  A young guy who can rebound, run, and defend would be great too.
San Antonio will continue to look for players who fit the system, won’t disrupt the culture, and are smart.  Maybe T.J. Ford will become available cheaply.  He may be banged up, but he passes, creates, and will only play 15 minutes a game, at best, behind Parker.   Maybe another unknown from Europe will be drafted, to blossom into more than anyone ever imagined.  Whatever happens, we need someone on the depth chart who puts numbers on the stat sheet, in addition to the intangibles.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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