The point guard problem

A lot of attention has been paid to the issue of the San Antonio Spurs center position or power forward spot if you want to call Tim Duncan a center. With good reason, the Spurs, as we’ve covered in various articles, podcasts and writer’s roundtables, are still smaller than everyone is comfortable with.

There’s another problem though. The Spurs are even thinner at the point guard spot than they are at center. At least they have bodies at center, but at point guard, they don’t have a whole lot past Tony Parker.

We know about the George Hill trade, but now Chris Quinn has flown the coupe. Say what you will about Quinn, and I don’t have much to say about him, he was someone who knew how to play point guard and knew the Spurs’ system. On top of that, have you seen the free agent crop for point guards? It’s horrendous.

Zach Lowe, from SI’s “The Point Forward,” compiled a top 10 list of point guards and it’s ugly. The guys who do intrigue you are restricted free agents and the guys who don’t are past their primes or never had primes to begin with. Rodney Stuckey and Aaron Brooks would definitely be out of the Spurs’ price range if they were unrestricted, much less with the restricted tag that will cost even more to pry them away from their current team. Mario Chalmers probably would cost a little less, but the Heat aren’t going to let him go for nothing. J.J. Barea? Carlos Arroyo? Stop it. I’d put Mike Bibby lower on this list. T.J. Ford? Maybe because he’ll probably be cheap, but you get the point, there’s not much out there.

Internally, well there’s Gary Neal who has been getting as much attention as Parker this summer, but for things that are actually related to basketball. We’ve featured Neal on Project Spurs three times in the last week alone because of the work he’s doing out in D.C. in the famed Goodman League. Neal has pretty much become the Spurs’ de facto back up point guard. Unless he’s working on being a point guard this summer, which he could be, Neal is not a great option to be playing the point unless the Spurs are installing the Triangle Offense.

I tossed out the idea of starting James Anderson, so Manu Ginobili could be the second unit ball handler but if TP rolls an ankle or misses significant time like he has in two of the last three years then that’s another problem. I should also mention I’m writing this assuming Cory Joseph is probably spending a year or at least half a season in Austin.

So what do the Spurs do? They could make another trade. Cleveland has Daniel Gibson and Ramon Sessions in addition to Baron Davis and Kyrie Irving. Would Orlando end their experiment with Chris Duhon for a little more size? I’m looking at you Matt Bonner.

And maybe Charlotte unloads DJ Augustine because they don’t want to point guard controversy now that they have Kemba Walker. Maybe you can get Keyon Dooling or Shaun Livingston from Milwaukee for Bonner or Blair.

So what do you do Spurs fans? Do you hope Neal can turn himself into a point guard? Do you trade DeJuan Blair or Bonner for a back up point guard? Do you dip in to the putrid point guard crop in this year’s free agent class? What say you?

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