spursonthebench2

The 2003 Bench vs. The 2009 Bench

After a summer of retooling the roster heading into this 2009-2010 NBA season, the Spurs assembled a team that is arguably the most talented and deepest in recent years. It’s no secret any team with championship aspirations has to have a strong supporting cast.

During their previous title runs, the Spurs had players that fit their roles and provided a spark off the bench to get it done.

The 2003 championship team had what some Spurs fans would call the deepest bench in the Tim Duncan era, and who can blame them.  The bench consisted of players such as Speedy Claxton, Steve Kerr, Steve Smith, and Malik Rose.  That bench played a significant role in helping the franchise win their second title.

However this 2009-2010 bench has the potential to be better than the bench of 2003. With players such as DeJuan Blair, Manu Ginobili, Roger Mason, George Hill, and Michael Finely coming off the bench, let’s see how they would stack up against a proven championship bench.

Check out the stats.

2003 Bench statistics

PLAYER

FG%

3P%

MIN

PTS

OFF

DEF

TOT

AST

STL

BLK

Malik Rose

.459

.000

24.5

10.4

1.9

4.5

6.4

1.6

0.72

0.51

Manu Ginobili

.438

.345

20.7

7.6

0.7

1.7

2.3

2.0

1.39

0.25

Steve Smith

.388

.331

19.5

6.8

0.4

1.5

1.9

1.3

0.53

0.17

Speedy Claxton

.462

.000

15.7

5.8

0.7

1.1

1.9

2.5

0.73

0.23

Kevin Willis

.479

.000

11.8

4.2

1.2

2.0

3.2

0.3

0.28

0.28

Steve Kerr

.430

.395

12.7

4.0

0.2

0.6

0.8

0.9

0.36

0.04

Danny Ferry

.355

.350

9.4

1.9

0.3

0.9

1.2

0.3

0.11

0.14

2009 Bench statistics (through 14 games)

PLAYER

FG%

3P%

MIN

PTS

OFF

DEF

TOT

AST

STL

BLK

Manu Ginobili

.378

.341

23.4

14.1

0.8

1.9

2.7

4.2

1.00

0.56

George Hill

.427

.394

27.4

12.1

0.8

1.6

2.4

2.1

1.07

0.50

Matt Bonner

.471

.474

20.7

8.4

1.3

3.4

4.7

1.4

0.14

0.14

DeJuan Blair

.583

.000

14.6

5.6

1.6

3.6

5.2

0.9

0.14

0.36

Roger Mason

.409

.326

19.4

7.0

0.1

1.7

1.8

2.5

0.36

0.21

Michael Finley

.429

.391

18.6

4.9

0.2

1.3

1.5

0.9

0.29

0.21

Theo Ratliff

.462

.000

8.8

1.6

0.6

1.2

1.8

0.3

0.00

1.22

I could have easily added Antonio McDyess or Keith Bogans in current the bench lineup, but both have been starting of late.

The stats above gave us an idea on how the two benches performed and what they can produce. Now let’s dig in a little deeper and take a look at the individual match-ups.

bonner Steve Smith vs. Matt Bonner

Both players can shoot the from three-point land. While Smith might have more basketball skills than Bonner, Matt shoots the ball at a better percentage.

Danny Ferry vs. Roger Mason

They are basically spot up shooters.  Ferry is a decent shooter from  behind the arc in the limited minutes he received in 2003. Mason has proven in the past (except for the 2009 playoffs) that he can make big shots. In the first few games of the season, Mason has struggled with his shot, but he is slowly returning into form in the Spurs’ last few games.

Steve Kerr vs. Michael Finleykerr

Both are smart veterans who can hit big shots in big games. But Kerr has more rings than Finley and his performance during Spurs 2003 title run against the Dallas Mavericks showed his worth off the bench for the 2003 team.

Kevin Willis vs. Theo Ratliff

They both can play with limited minutes. Willis was a big man that provided hustle and energy off the bench, while Ratliff provides additional spark on the defensive end and can block shots.

2003 Ginobili vs. 2009 Ginobili

Manu Ginobili won his first NBA championship in his rookie year, but it could be argued that even at 32; Manu is a better player than he was in 2003. Now if he could only stay healthy.

Malik Rose vs. DeJuan Blair

rose

They are undersized big men that play with a lot of energy, hustle and grit. Both can rebound the ball with their hard work and aggressiveness. Rose enjoyed his best season as a Spur in the  2002-2003 season averaging 10.4 points and 6.4 rebounds and was a fan favorite.

Blair on the other hand is still a rookie but is learning fast. He is gifted with long arms and big hands and can snatch every possible rebound within his reach. He is also a crowd favorite. He can produce with limited minutes but should we ask more minutes for Blair?

Speedy Claxton vs. George Hill

Both are steady backup point guards. Claxton’s numbers are not impressive at first hillglance, but if a player can average 5.8 points in just 15 minutes of action, he must be doing something right.  Also his veteran presence in the back court in the 2003 NBA Finals is something that shouldn’t be ignored.

George Hill is on the rise. His improvement from last year is quite impressive. This guy can play defense and plays with a lot of poise while on the court.

The 2003 bench deserves a slight advantage mainly because they helped the Spurs win a title. However, the current Spurs bench is looking strong. If everybody gets on the same page, there is a major possibility they can do the same for the Spurs this year. But that remains to be seen.

So what do you guys think? Is the 2009 bench better than 2003? Please give us your thoughts and opinions.

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