The San Antonio Spurs are at the half-way point of their season and it's time to see where this team stands heading into the second-half.
To discuss the Spurs' first-half of the season, I spoke with San Antonio's News 4 WOAI Sports Reporter Humberto "Humbie" Cervera to get his views on the Spurs in this Q&A. Enjoy and don't forget to visit woai.com.
Jeff: Here we are, midway through the NBA season and the Spurs (35-6) have the best record in the league. How much stock do you put in this team and are you surprised they have been playing this well?
Humbie: As I've said since the beginning, this team is one Manu ankle sprain from getting bounced out of the first round of the playoffs. So, I don't put a large amount of stock into this start. They've beaten a bunch of bad teams and when they had a back to back with two good teams they looked really bad. They're probably not as good as their record says they are, but they're also better than I thought they could be this year.
Biggest surprise in the first-half of the season: the play of Gary Neal or Tiago Splitter's less-than-stellar NBA debut?
Finding Gary Neal has been the biggest surprise so far. There's no way anyone, including the Spurs' staff, could have imagined the quality minutes that Neal has given them. He couldn't have been a better fit for the Spurs' system. As far as Splitter, I think a lot of us thought he'd have some growing pains. First he was hurt for camp and now he's learning a new style of basketball. I'm not expecting him to be 5-0 anytime soon, but I think he'll be a better Fab (Fabricio Oberto) by the end of the season.
After Tim Duncan, there seems to be some drop off with big men on the team. DeJuan Blair is a solid player but is undersized and can be exposed. This leaves Splitter who has started off slow, Matt Bonner who many feel is one-dimensional and isn't know for defense and Antonio McDyess is serviceable but how much can he give the Spurs. Should this be a concern?
The quality of play is the biggest concern for the Spurs especially on defense. They're worried about it and you can tell by the number of steals they have this year. Guards are being pushed to put more pressure on the ball handler and take chances trying to create turnovers. In years past, the Spurs had no problem funneling guards into their bigs. That's not the case anymore. I'd even argue that Tim (Duncan) isn't to be trusted defensively anymore. When you see Golden State attack Tim early on with (Andris) Biedrins in their game earlier this season, and be successful, there are problems.
Also, for all those Bonner haters out there. I think he might be the second best defensive post on this team. He's not going to lock down guys one-on-one, but he works hard, is good on rotations and RARELY blows an assignment. Just because he's not racking up lots of blocks doesn't mean he's one-dimensional.
Should the Spurs make a trade and if so for what position?
I'm not sure if they SHOULD make a trade. They could use more help in the frontcourt, but what they would have to give up would cripple the team. They need a big, but I think they're hoping Tiago will be their guy.
Overall thoughts on the team in the first-half and can the Spurs continue their winning ways in the second half of the season?
The Spurs are better than we thought they would be, but I still don't think they beat the Lakers (assuming they're at full capacity) in a 7 game series. I think they'll keep one of the top 2 seeds in the West, but expect a losing streak or three this second half.
HUMBIE.... You know I love you, man, but I wonder if you're watching the same Spurs everyone else is? You seem to be stuck in 2010. It'll get tougher here in the 2nd half, but if they stay healthy, with Duncan anchoring the post defensively, our backcourt gang will mob the rest of the league. And no mention of the Richard Jefferson turnaround?
" I'd even argue that Tim (Duncan) isn't to be trusted defensively anymore. When you see Golden State attack Tim early on with (Andris) Biedrins in their game earlier this season, and be successful, there are problems" Really Mr. Cervera? That's just one play in a lot of games. without Duncan in the post our defense will be a mess I can't believe you said that about TD.
I agree with you 100%, JMattHicks! I don't understand how Humbie thinks the Spurs are not as good as their record shows. Sure, they're not great defensively yet, but I have trust in Pop. I don't think they'll slow down until they have at least one of the top seeds locked up.
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@LFJeremy yo dude the show should be ocming up later today. listen for your shout out.
@LFJeremy Indeed. But Mike is in charge of posting it so bug him to get it done faster. LOL
@LFJeremy Of course dude! Should go up tomorrow anytime in the afternoon
@LFJeremy Hey bro. Mike and myself just gave you a shout out on the new Spurscast show going up tomorrow.
I like how Humble thinks the Spurs have only beaten bad teams. Actually they have the best strength of schedule of any team in the top 10 NBA teams.