X Factor: Gooden must step up in Manu’s absence

By Jeff Garcia
With Manu out the Spurs need to see everyone step their game up heading into the first round against the Mavs. Sure the usual suspects will step it up but who will really need to show up versus the Mavs for the Spurs to have a chance at getting into the second round?  Drew
Gooden will need to help out the Spurs in the middle, especially trying to contain Dirk and his 25.7 points and 9.7 rebounds.  Towards the end of the regular season, he looked more and more comfortable backing up Timmy providing points in the paint. However his rebounding numbers need to improve.  A guy his size should be getting more boards.
But trying to slow down Dirk shouldn’t be the only use of Gooden.  He will help keep Tim out of foul trouble and will definitely help guarding the Mavs big men of Brandon Bass, Erik Dampier and Ryan Hollins.
Gooden will need to have an impact on the series to help the Spurs finish the Mavs off quickly.  The one thing that can hurt the Spurs more than help is if this series goes 6 or 7 games.
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Michael is the founder and editor of ProjectSpurs.com. He has a long history in journalism, sports and online media. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others.