I know that the off season is still a few months off, but I can’t help but wonder what moves will be made. I wrote on my personal blog several months ago about the need to get younger, and if you recall, just a couple years ago, San Antonio made a play for J.R. Smith at the deadline, but didn’t get the paperwork through in time. The big reminder for us today, is that Smith is a restricted free agent soon. As I’m sure we all remember, from a recent loss, Smith can play. His defense is slowly improving, he’s becoming a better team player, he loves the 3 ball, and he isn’t afraid to to play above the rim. As the Spurs get up in age, I feel there are some expendable players on the roster, not that they aren’t valuable to us, but their spot could be better used.
My key target with this is Finley. He’s been around for awhile, he knows the game, and he’s still got some gas in the tank, but with some of the new blood stepping up, namely Udoka, it’s time for some changes. I think Finley would be attractive to Denver in a sign and trade. They would get an experienced vet, we would get fresh legs. With Smith’s newfound defensive skills, and a solid perimeter shot, Popovich can use him. This allows Ginobili to start every night, while we still have a spark from the bench.
Bringing in Smith’s 3 pointer would also improve the flexibility with Barry. I love his court sense, his clutch 3s, but I don’t think he’ll be here much longer. Smith would negate our need for Barry, and Udoka pushes it over the top.
Smith has also demonstrated the ability, numerous times, to hit big shots in the clutch. This helps us as Horry approaches retirement, which could quite possibly be this year. With Horry leaving, a spot is freed up for either Mahinmi or Splitter, as I see no situation where Pop will spend an entire season working two young bigs into the system. It will be one at a time, so as not to disrupt things too much.
Finally, the single biggest advantage I see to bringing in Smith this summer, is the Olympics. Tim will stay at home, take some time off, Manu and Tony won’t. Smith can give us 30 minutes a night until the All Star Break, giving our two guards some extra bench time while they get their legs back under them.
And with that, I leave you with the 12 men I want to see on the court next year.
- Tony Parker
- Manu Ginobili
- Bruce Bowen
- Tim Duncan
- Fabricio Oberto
- Damon Stoudamire
- J.R. Smith
- Ime Udoka
- Matt Bonner
- Kurt Thomas
- Jacque Vaughn
- Ian Mahinmi