CaptainLate I assume you're not the real James Silas but if you are, loved your game but a ridiculous take.
1) Because Manu was able to rest and focus on conditioning and getting physically healthy for the first time since who knows when, because the Spurs signed Marco who will take some pressure off Manu and also allow Pop to rest Manu more, and because Manu is the quintessential competitor and has had all off season to stew over the Finals loss, he's going to have a nice, productive year.
2) I don't see any Spurs fans who have been following the Spurs for any length of time, except a few bitter folks who still blame the entire Heat series loss on Manu (conveniently forgetting the other factors that contributed significantly to that loss), wanting to see anything but the best for and from Manu. The guy continually took lesser pay in his prime for the betterment of the team, and he continually sacrificed minutes for the betterment of the team and continually did whatever Pop asked him for the betterment of the team. We won't see his like again here in SA. He should be getting nothing but love, respect and best wishes from fans.
3) Who knows what he will do, and Duncan for that matter with a couple of cryptic things he's said about playing through his full contract. He's definitely going to the HOF, but I just don't see him retiring. I think he walks away when he knows he's left it all on the floor and his body absolutely refuses to do what his brain tells it to do.
Injuries for ANY of our guys are unpredictable. I don't believe this is past patterns being indicative of future events with Manu. He's rested. He's well. He has more help. Less will be expected of him. Who saw Timmy having a chest contusion? Sports are like that. I think a lot of Manu's injuries in the past were related to him playing year round combined with his style of play. He ran himself into the ground.
We'll just pray for our guys to stay healthy. If they are, I think we're back in the Finals for Redemption time.
What year was the last season Manu played w/o a significant amount of games lost due to injury?
Prediction 1: By the end of this year many fans will be griping about that $14mil contract he was given at his age, with his poor NBA Finals performance and the number of games he misses in 2013-2014 b/c of injury.
Prediction 2: He will retire after this year and await the call to be inducted into the HoF.
Vaya con Dios, Manu!
I think we'll see a lot of different combinations of players on the floor with the second unit the first quarter-half of the season.
I thought Pop would play Baynes earlier because he could bang with Gasol. That was a surprise. Still, I think Pop is going to tinker with things which allows him to both rest guys and possibly showcase guys he may want to move.
Mills, imho, showed exactly why he is needed more than Joseph. Joseph on his very best day couldn't do what Mills did and can do-fill it up at a ridiculous pace. Both require either Marco or Manu to be on the floor with them since they don't move the ball as well as a true point guard would (hence the need for a vet backup pg), but Mills has a skill set that is just priceless on the offensive end.
I'd like to see, in small stretches, against teams like Golden State for example, Parker and Mills in the back court, with either Marco or Manu at the 3 and Kawhi at the 4. I also think that kind of lineup could be effective against Houston, forcing them to go smaller because that is one line up that can push the ball at a ridiculous pace, move the ball well, and fill it up.
Can't do that with Joseph.
I was a little surprised to see Ayers with the second unit, and Baynes basically on the third unit. I thought Baynes did very well in preseason, and he did well in the playoffs last year in limited minutes. Maybe Pop is just getting Ayers some more playing time ... but I'd like to see more of Baynes. I think Baynes can play very good defense, but is also good enough on offense that he actually has to be guarded. Ayers ... I don't think he will ever be that helpful on offense.
What's wrong with this picture: Kawhi gets a foul for slapping away Miller's hand and Allen gets squat for thrusting his dagger elbow into Timmy's chest. Say what?
Was pleased with the overall effort, but disappointed in our front court's inability to protect the rim when the Grizzlies made their run in the second half. Wow, Timmy REALLY does make a HUGE difference. I'm less worried about Tony Allen hitting 3's; (how often is that going to happen?)
I saw Jeff Ayres and Aaron Baynes look uncomfortable on offense, rushing shots or overpassing. Wished there had been more matchups with Gasol against Baynes. I expect Tony Parker to have much better games than yesterday. Marco and Red Mamba met my expectations in their limited minutes. Patty Mills was a show stopper. He put up offense, but you could also see his effort on the defensive end as well. Manu looked like himself again! Kawhi Leonard is a complete basketball player.
My sense about the Timmy injury is that they are just being cautious. He would have continued if this was a playoff game. As long as it's not a knee, ankle, or anything with the words "ligament" or "torn", I'm not too worried. All in all, it was okay for the first game of the season.
I like having an early season road trip with two back-to-backs to test our mettle as a team early in the year. Anxious to see our response in the coming days.