Last week I had an opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with TNT/NBA analyst David Aldridge. With the Spurs lackluster play so far in the first half of their season and the future of Manu Ginobili on the minds of Spurs nation, I asked David his thoughts on these two topics. Enjoy!
Jeff: The Spurs had a great offseason, trading for Richard Jefferson, drafting DeJuan Blair, and signing Antonio McDyess. Yet here we are heading into the All-Star break and the Spurs seem to still be looking to turn the corner and get some consistency. What one thing can you point to as a reason for the lack consistency with the Spurs?
DA: I think it's their defense. Their defense is falling precipitously in the last couple of years. The way San Antonio won championships is it made it impossible for you to get to 90. You had to really struggle to score 90 points against them when they were good defensively. And so, they never had a great offensive team. This is the best offensive team they've ever had, but they don't win this way. This is not how they feel comfortable winning. This is not their system for winning. Their system for winning is with defense, and their defense has dropped. It's been a noticeable drop. And part of that is guys getting older, Tim Duncan's getting older. Obviously Bruce Bowen is not there anymore. He was a very important part of what they did defensively. And they really have struggled to find that right complementary piece, a big man for Duncan. Now they are using guys like Bonner and stretch more to shoot threes, but obviously I don't think I'm breaking any news here that Matt Bonner is not a great defensive player. He actually puts more pressure inside and puts more pressure on the rest of your team. You know, they just aren't as good defensively as they used to be.
Jeff: As we know, Manu Ginobili is in his last contract year with the Spurs and the Spurs still have not had contract extension discussions with Manu Ginobili. What seems to be the hold up and do you see the Spurs resigning Manu or perhaps trading him before the trade deadline?
DA:Well, the holdup is that they're not interested in giving him an extension. The Spurs have made it clear that they have a two-year window with this group that they have now because that's when Duncan's contract expires and they feel like this year and next year are the years they are willing to pay luxury tax to be competitive and try to win a championship. So they're not going to get Manu Ginobili a three-year or four-year extension. They're just not going to do it because they are looking at this year and next year, and then after next year they may as well have to break this team up and start moving people. I think Manu understands that. I'm sure he's not happy with it. He understands it and so he's going to go into free agency and see what's out there and if there are teams that are going to make him a good offer. I think he'll get some interest. I think there will be three or four teams that will have a lot of interest in Manu but it's a matter of whether he gives the Spurs the right opportunity to match whatever is out there or if he just walks. I think frankly the Spurs understand that they are in a position now where they have to prepare for the fact that he may not be there next year.
Do you agree with David's thoughts on these topics? Leave your comments.
Click HERE to read the complete Q&A with David Aldridge and his thoughts on other NBA teams.