Who needs to step up next series?

We’re still waiting to see who the San Antonio Spurs will be playing in the second round, but whether Matt Bonner and Tiago Splitterit’s the Memphis Grizzlies or the Los Angeles Clippers, it’s going to be a tough series. Both teams will provide some matchup issues for the Spurs, so they’ll need some guys to really step up.

Big Men not named Duncan

Both the Clippers and the Grizzlies are going to have a real advantage down low. Tim Duncan has been playing stellar and proved how valuable he was in the sweep against the Jazz, but guys like Diaw, Bonner, Blair and Splitter are really going to have to step up. The Grizzlies showed last year how devastating their core of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph can be. Duncan can’t guard both of these guys and he’ll definitely need some rest. Pop will surely want fresh legs in the post at all times so the Spurs’ big men will have to step up.

It’s the same story for the Clippers. You have to keep Blake Griffin out of the paint and always have a body on him. Reggie Evans has been logging more minutes for the Clippers in the postseason because he’s been playing better than DeAndre Jordan, but both of those guys are very athletic and can cause problems if they’re not held in check. The next series will be another tough test for the Spurs’ big guys. We’ll see if they’re up for the challenge.

Manu Ginobili

Manu had some rough games against the Jazz. He didn’t seem to really get it going until Game 4. Will that momentum from the final game carry over or will he go back to the slump? Luckily the Spurs didn’t need him that much in their first round series because guys like Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard really played well, but they will next round. Manu’s offense is so important to the Spurs and the Grizzlies and Clippers are both very good defensively. I think his veteran leadership and dynamic scoring ability are really going to prove invaluable in the next round.

Tony Parker on defense

This is more for if the Spurs play the Clippers next round, but anyone who has been following the Clippers-Grizzlies series has seen what Chris Paul is capable of. If CP3 gets going, then the whole team gets going. So much focus is placed on the point guard’s ability to score, that he can distribute at will and he’ll find other ways to kill you. If Parker can hold down Paul, then the rest of the offense stalls and the Clippers are a much easier team to beat.

On the Grizzlies’ side, Mike Conley is no pushover either. He won’t need as much attention as Paul but he can still get it going. No matter who the Spurs play, Tony Parker’s defense will be important.

Of course the Spurs are going to need a solid effort from everyone to get past the Grizzlies or the Clippers, but if Manu, Tony and the big men are able to play past their potential, I think the Spurs can win in 5 or 6.

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