The Spurs are currently 7th in the West and are not playing like an elite team. A lot of fans are getting frustrated and disappointed because of the Spurs' mediocre play and inability to consistently beat playoff caliber teams. Not to mention the pathetic effort on defense.
But for all their fault, the Spurs are still in playoff position. However, with the way they are playing, there are concerns the Spurs could have a "one and done" performance in the playoffs just like what happened against the Mavericks in the 2009 NBA playoffs. But it's good to point out that in a playoff series, the bench plays an important part for the team to succeed.
This year, the Spurs have arguably the deepest bench in the entire NBA and that could make a whole lot of difference for the Spurs. Outside of Manu Ginobili, two young players could play vital roles in the Spurs' playoff success this season -- George Hill and DeJuan Blair.
Let's talk about George Hill first. After a year under his belt, Hill's game tremendously improved, he is proving to be a reliable scorer and a capable defender. This season Hill has solid averages of 10.9 points and 2.3 assists in 26 minutes of play.
Another good thing about George Hill is his versatility. He can play both guard positions. This means he can fill the backup point guard spot or play along side Tony Parker.
As the season progresses, Hill continues to look more confident and is really coming into his own. He has scored in double digits in 10 straight games and is averaging 16.6 points and 3.0 assist in 36 minutes of action in the last five games.
Even the return of Tony Parker in the lineup, didn't affect Hill's performance. He led the Spurs in a win over the Clippers scoring 22 points on 8-for-11 FG in just 29 minutes of action. This clearly showed that Hill is more than just a backup point guard.
If Hill can give Tony Parker much needed rest in games, and at the same time provide additional firepower and defensive tenacity off the bench, that will be huge for the Spurs.
What about DeJuan Blair? He provides excellent rebounding and energy on the floor. His nose for the ball and ability to use his body to get inside position is unbelievable. What he lacks in height, he compensates with hard work and determination. And he has proved he can be effective with limited minutes.
For the season, Blair is averaging 7.5 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 54.7% from the floor in just 18 minutes per ball game.
Encouraged by his energetic play I even brought up the idea of giving more minutes to him in the early part of the season. To give him more time to adjust to the system and be more comfortable playing alongside Tim Duncan.
Right now, DeJuan Blair is proving to be a capable backup to Tim Duncan. And when the Spurs decided to give Duncan a break? Blair showed how dominant he can be when given the chance.
He also seems to get more comfortable with his role as the season goes on. During the last five games, his numbers improved to 11.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1 steal in 19 minutes of action. His field goal and free throw shooting percentages also went up to 60% and 81.8% respectively.
There is no doubt that George Hill and DeJuan Blair are helping the Spurs in getting some wins this season. If they can continue with their steady plays towards the playoffs, the Spurs could be a tough team to beat. The energy and hustle that these guys bring to the Spurs could go a long way.
Are you impressed with George Hill and DeJuan Blair’s performances so far? Do you agree that both players will play a vital role in the Spurs’ playoff run? Share us your thoughts.