Midway into the season and the San Antonio Spurs (35-6) continue their winning ways to the surprise of many.
With winning streaks of 12 and 10, sitting atop the NBA standings, a much improved offensive attack, and only suffering a two-game losing streak, Spurs fans might think this team would receive high marks at the midseason.
However, there is some room for improvement and concerns heading into the second half of the season.
In the meantime, just how well did the Spurs play in the first half of the season? To answer that question, let's see how the Spurs fared as I hand out my midseason grades for the Spurs by position.
Tony Parker is having one of the best seasons in his NBA career, he is facilitating and leading the Spurs' offensive attack and is having a career high (6.9 apg) in the assists department. George Hill has improved on the defensive end and is making a case for the Sixth Man of the Year award while rookie Gary Neal has made the Spurs' bench stronger and has been a pleasant surprise so far. Midseason Grade: A+
Manu Ginobili is playing like an MVP and is currently leading the Spurs in scoring and steals (18.9 ppg and 1.8 spg). The only problem is there isn't much depth and the shooting guard position. George Hill is splitting time between the point guard and shooting guard spots and rookie James Anderson had a good start to his NBA career earlier this season before getting injured. Midseason Grade: A
Stats wise, there is little difference between Richard Jefferson's first and second seasons. However, he is more consistent on both ends of the floor and is shooting better from the field while having a career-high (42.4%) in three-point shooting percentage.
Likewise, the Spurs have no consistent backup at the small forward position, they started the season with Bobby Simmons, and Alonzo Gee as backup small forwards and then later on turned to Ime Udoka before getting released by the team. However, they recently signed Larry Owens from the D-League to backup Jefferson. Midseason Grade: B
Surprisingly, the Spurs have used the same starting lineup all season unlike last season when Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich had numerous starting lineups.
First off, I know Tim Duncan has always been considered a power forward but this year more than ever, it is clear that Duncan is the Spurs' only legitimate center despite starting at the power forward position. Duncan is a having a career low in points, rebounds and minutes but he can still bring it on a given night.
Matt Bonner is also helping out as the teams' "stretch 4" and is shooting a career best 50.4% from behind the arc. Antonio McDyess is also been productive off the bench in limited minutes. As for getting the job done and effort, the Spurs power forward rotation may have exceeded expectations. The problem? The Spurs could have matchup problems in a playoff series because of their lack of size at this position. Midseason Grade: B+
DeJuan Blair has had an up-and-down season since being named as the starting center for the Spurs but has done a pretty good job recently. Let's not forget he is the smallest starting center in the NBA which could be an issue going forward in the NBA season.
Rookie Tiago Splitter still can't get consistent playing time and hasn't panned out as expected. Yes, the Spurs are winning with this frontline rotation in the regular season, but they can do better. Midseason Grade: C+
Overall, the Spurs have done an excellent job during the first half of the season but that doesn't mean their work is done. This team has some room to improve and maybe adding a rotation player or two will help them towards a strong second half push and bring that needed momentum heading into the 2011 playoffs.
What do you think? Agree with these grades? Leave us your thoughts.
Some people obviously overreacted with how the Spurs treated Tiago Splitter in the first of half the season. Anyway, great post as always. Go Spurs Go!
This is getting really old about Tiago. He isnt getting playing time because he plays the same role as tim (low post). Everyone looks at what Dejuan has done poorly, how about looking at what hes done well (rebound, putbacks, using his quick hands). It's pretty obvious the best 2 bigs the Spurs have right now are Dice and Timmy, hence always finishing tight games together. It's hard for Pop to play Timmy and Tiago together much because they clog the paint for TP and Manu thus leaving our offense stagnant. It would probably help our defense but if you look at it logically our defense has been great recently. The last three losses can not be blamed on interior defending (Orl, NY & Bos have all shot the lights out on jump shots so seriously calm down everyone) Tiago will get more time when Pop starts to rest Tim in B-2-B situations so chill.
Great article Robby, I think you gave out the grades fair and square. I also agree that we need to add at least another player to give the Spurs more depth towards the playoffs. And please someone tell Pop that he has to give Tiago the break he deserves.
The Spurs are doing something right! They are winning and if it ain't broke don't fix. But like most fans here, I think Tiago should play more and adding a player for the playoffs wouldn't hurt. I hope the Spurs add one or two more quality guys. If Larry Owens can play ball we should add another big just to give our bigs some rest when the need arises.
The Spurs are playing well but like what was mentioned in the article, this team has room to improve and even suggesting to add players for the stretch run. DeJuan Blair has done a fine job, but I also hope that coach Pop gives more playing time for Tiago in the second half of the season.
No one is making excuses, the Spurs have the best record in the NBA after 41 games. That means they are doing something right. Go Spurs Go!
It pisses me off that people are making excuses for this stupidity. Yeah just like I was bitching about it at game 15 people like you are saying its only midseason. Take care of business now or else it will be high % shooting to save our butts.
Its pop's pet project in Blair and he refuses to admit it aint working especially when it gets serious. His ego wont let him admit it. Not until next season like he admitted to not playing Hill in the playoffs. Oh well Go Spurs Go!
@Titletown99030507 You could be right about Blair and Tiago. I think that's why Robby gave the Centers just a C+ it's the Midseason Grades chill dude!
@Titletown99030507 I hear you, but I think he Tiago hasn't shown coach Gregg Popovich enough that is why he has not yet given enough playing time. I'm also hoping that he will be given his due to prove himself because I believe we will need Splitter in the playoffs. If the Spurs believe otherwise, they should try to add another big before the playoff arrives. Thanks for the comment and read.
You screwed long enough with the Blair wish project, end it already and move on to the real solution. How can you waste precious min on that tweener when you have the solution right there on your team. What a waste of time seeing some undersized center play inconsistent ball from game to game. I'm tired of seeing him start only to go sit his ass on the bench because early reach in fouls or hacks or getting shot over by the opposing big right off the bat. Why torture us and have to resort to throwing down bombs from 3 pt land. When thy don't fall in the playoffs and it starts to get serious in the paint and with Timmy tired as hell in the western conference finals or even finals what are you going to do? Splitter will be an after thought because you failed to do your job and prepare him for this game. Not with measly 2 min. trash time extravaganzas and DNPs. Last time I checked playing helps.
No Tiago hasnt panned out there Lim because he hasnt got the min Blair has had to appreciate to pan out. Retarded assessment. Blair the munchkin center still gets exploited after 41 games resorting to reach in fouls when he can't hang with the bigger boys which you'll see more of in the playoffs when the big boys come to play especially in a slowed down half court game that is evident in playoff competition. And yet the stupidity of not investing real time in Splitter is really asinine and mind boggling. Give him 41 games of 20 min per and you would see your C+ disappear to a respectable grade.
@JeffProjectSpurs Read my posts below.
@Daniel07 @Titletown99030507 What do you mean Splitter gets injured from time to time? He's only been hurt once and that was before the season which kept him out of the early developmental stage with the Spurs. And he doesn't commit the number of fouls your talking about because he's not on the court long enough. You make it sound like he's fouling out every game. Please the guy doesn't even play. Unfair statement. And yes I watch every game record them on my HD DVR watch over it again to analyze the game so I can back up my statements then I erase them.
It's Blair who commits a shit load of fouls he had 5 against Toronto and I was hoping he would foul out so Splitter can play some real min. He's the one who needs. I'd rather invest my time in Splitter than Blair and you'll know what I'm talking about after the Spurs season is over.
@Titletown99030507 This just shows you the SAS weakness is still at center. That's where Splitter was supposed to come in.
@Daniel07 read the above post.
@Titletown99030507 I think you haven't read this "Rookie Tiago Splitter still can't get consistent playing time and hasn't panned out as expected" the author knows that Tiago Splitter isn't getting much playing time. If you watched Spurs games there is a reason behind this. Tiago still commits a lot of fouls in limited minutes and is getting injured from time to time.
I think most of the grades given where OK, although I'm giving those Centers a B minus. Go Spurs Go!
We are undersized in the frontline and have little depth at the Small Forward position those are the two things we need to address going forward. I think the grades given was just about right, Blair is not really that consistent and Tiago Splitter is looking like more a "bust" than a stud.
@Troy28 How about that block Splitter put on Bayless in trash time against Toronto? Who plays hard in trash time? He does because he wants to play more.
@Troy28 If Pop had given Splitter those min instead Blair all Season then you would be the first to agree with me.
@Troy28 Tell that to Pop. He needs to get splitter real playing time on game to game basis. Crap Blair still has shitty games every other game and he's had all season to improve. Even Sean said it that his inconsistency has to improve. Everybody makes a big deal about this dude when he scores 20 points. Crap if he can do that every time he plays well hell I'd be a bandwagoner too. But the fact is he doesn't. It's all you Blair bandwagoners that think he's the second coming of Tim Duncan. Get real man, he better perform like this against the Lakers, Mavs with Dirk and Tyson healthy, Boston, and Orlando. That I gotta see. I'm just stating the facts man. Any questions?
Bonner shooting 50 percent from 3 point range? We should send him the to All Star 3-point shoot out. I agree with the grades you gave Robby, but like everybody else I'm giving the Centers at least a B - because we have the best record in the league right now.
It's hard to give grades by position because the players can play multiple positions. But this was a nice break down. Great article. I'd give the Spurs an overall A for the first half of the season.
Thanks everyone for the kind words, all of you have good points on what Grades to be given, when I was wriitng on this I was really thinking about giving the Centers a B - but I haven't seen much from Tiago and maybe adding another big man and wing for insurance/depth will help address that issue. Since Blair has been playing well lately. I decided to give them a C+ but when I think about again, Duncan has also played Center so I should have given them a higher grade because a JohnH mentioned "due to the center by commity attitude".
Keep the comments coming!
Good grades! I agree with most of them, except for the Center grades. I believe they deserve a B minus at least.
Gary Neal's official position on the team is actually point guard but he plays the shooting guard position, I think the SG spot deserves an A+ and the Centers with a B.
i would have to bump the shooting guard up to an A+ because Neal is a 2 guard not a 1 guard, also i would bump up the center to a B- due to the center by commity attitude of the spurs right now, though i think we need to get a big man to play center as a perminit role.
Gary Neal is a Shooting Guard and i think due to Manu Ginobili's production i felt it was more an A+ But overall quite good grades i would make some changes and classed Bonner and Mcdyess as centers but thats only because its how i see them
Nice Midseason grades for the Spurs. I give the whole team an 'A'. Top team in the NBA! Go Spurs Go!
Robby agree with most of your grades on the Spurs. But maybe we can give the centers a higher grade I give them a B at least.