When I take a look at the San Antonio Spurs big man situation I think about a bunch of clowns waltzing into a tiny car. You look at it and think there is no way they are all in there at the same time, but somehow it works.
For the first time since the ’01-’02 season, the Silver and Black will have three bigs playing significant minutes every night in the playoffs. As of now the Spurs have 96 minutes a night to hand out to five different players. So how will Pop break figure out who will get the minutes? Let’s take a guess in how he’ll do that.
Tim Duncan- 34 MPG- Over the last three seasons the Spurs’ captain has averaged just over 35 minutes a game and I think that will drop just a smidge this postseason. Timmy is coming off the career lows in minutes played and I think he was saved for the playoffs, but he’ll also be the first one to take a seat in any game that isn’t close so his numbers will drop just a little bit.
Matt Bonner- 23 MPG- I know some of you think I’m crazy to put down that Bonner will get the second highest amount of minutes for a big, but you have to look at how he fits into this Spurs offense and defense. Offensively, he’s the only big that is able to spread the floor like he does which means no one will cut into his playing time. He’s safe. On defense, while he may not be flashy or get a lot of blocks, Bonner is always in the right place at he right time and is a player with “corporate knowledge” and Pop just loves that. Matty is also someone they look to have on the court offensively in all their crunch time situations.
DeJuan Blair- 21 mpg- DeJuan’s minutes per game would actually be higher if I didn’t think that he would sit a game or two because he just didn’t matchup well with another team’s stable of bigs. He doesn’t need the ball on offense, which is why he is able to play alongside Timmy, unlike a certain Brazilian. I think his minutes are going to be the most stable of the next three guys, but it will all depend on the matchup.
Tiago Splitter- 9 MPG- Tiago’s inability to lineup on the court with Duncan is going to hurt him a lot for this playoff run. Especially when they have so many big guys that compliment “The Big Fundamental” on this roster. There will be nights when Tiago plays 25+ minutes but there will be far more nights when he is playing under 10. For all you Tiago fans out there, like Project Spurs’ Trevor Zickgraf, he does too many of the same things Tim does on offense and when they’re both in the game their tempo is really bogged down. In years, past that wouldn’t be a problem, but with the new run and gun of the team they need to be able to score at will. His game just isn’t ready to play big minutes in every playoff game just yet. Sorry Zickgraf, but at least you’ll still have that special fathead you ordered of Splitter sitting on the ceiling above your bed.
Boris Diaw- 9 MPG- This is where it truly gets tricky. Since joining the team Diaw has averaged 19 minutes per game, but he also sat out of two games all together. Pop always does appreciate the veterans, but at the same time Diaw hasn’t had as much time with this team as others have in the big man stable. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play nine minutes per game or nineteen minutes a game. It will all depend on the matchup.
At the end of the day, you can look at this Spurs team and be reassured that their bigs can play any style. They’ll have lots of guys that can contribute and they all have some comfort in the Spurs system. It’s the first time in a while that the bigs aren’t a glaring weakness for these guys going into the playoffs.
There’s a reason why clowns still do that overcrowded car gag, it’s because it works.