AT&T Center – It had been almost three months since the San Antonio Spurs played basketball on their home court at the AT&T Center. Then, it was Game 5 against the Miami Heat where the Spurs would win the game and go into Miami with a 3-2 series lead where they would eventually lose to the Heat in a classic seven games.
Sunday, gone were Gary Neal and DeJuan Blair, new to the court were Marco Belinelli, Jeff Ayres, and multiple training camp invites. After a free open scrimmage to the public, the Silver team consisting of notable Spurs players Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili (9 points) defeated the Black team 58-50. The Black team featured players such as Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Danny Green.
Though you can’t put too much stock into an open scrimmage against players from the same team, there were some notable standouts on Sunday.
1. Tim Duncan – “That guy’s got young legs man,” said Ayres after the game of Duncan’s endurance, “he’s out there moving looking great.” Duncan almost put together a double-double in just three quarters as he finished the game with 11 points and eight rebounds. At times on the floor, he looked like the leanest player outrunning his peers considering he’s 37 years old.
2. Kawhi Leonard – Aside from having Ginobili on his team, Leonard was the main player the Silver team ran their offense through on his way to 12 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes. Leonard looked comfortable running the pick-and-roll from either his left or right side and either shooting a pull-up jumper or attacking the rim. Another interesting series of plays the Spurs ran for Leonard was putting him in the post similar to how to they do with Duncan and allowing him to post his defender, in Sunday’s case, Nando De Colo.
3. Corey Maggette – In 20 minutes, Corey Maggette was the standout over Sam Young as far as the 15th roster spot is concerned as he scored eight points. The area that made Maggette stand out was his ability to get to the free throw line as he scored shot 6-of-9 free throws. At times, it looked like he could get to the free throw line at will off the dribble or coming off a screen. On one play, he pivoted, and used his first step to get past Leonard and draw a foul. Leonard is considered to be San Antonio’s best perimeter defender.
4. Patty Mills – Over in the battle of the backup point guard duties, Patty Mills was the shining member between he, Cory Joseph, and De Colo. Mills was aggressive taking 10 jump shots where finished with 10 points and three assists in 24 minutes. His ability to knock down the outside shots was a big reason why the Silver were able to build a lead over the Black team.
5. Jeff Ayres – Veterans Tiago Splitter (10 points) and Boris Diaw (8 points) provided each of their squads with what they normally bring to the floor, but Ayres, a new player, was effective in his 26 minutes where he finished with six points and six rebounds. The most notable part of his game that he’ll bring to the offense will be his ability to knock down 10-15 foot jumpers.
The Spurs will play their first official preseason game on Wednesday as they host the Russian team CSKA Moscow on Wednesday at the AT&T Center.
Maggette is another 2/3 and he is a proven scorer. He's on the downside but he's still just 33-not 36 so I think he is a great option to have backing up Kawhi and ANOTHER guy with good length who can play 2 positions. It's not like Pop is looking for whoever backs Kawhi up to play 30 minutes. I think our second unit needs proven scorers. As it stands I think Marco/Manu can be reliable backups at the 2, it would be nice to have a guy at the 3 who can score. If PM wins backup you know he can fill it up-I would just like to see him be a better distributor. It gets more questionable as far as scoring when we look at the backups at the 4/5. Boris is a passer though he said he would be more aggressive offensively. We don't know how the Ayers or Baynes situation plays out and what they will really be able to bring offensively-not yet at least. We know what Bonner does. The more I think about it the more I think Nando, one of our pg's (I would prefer it be CJ) and possibly Bonner might be on the way out in a package deal(s). Our biggest needs are 1) Reliable vet pg just in case Tony gets hurt and one of the young guns is forced to carry a load he's not ready for yet, and 2) a Big man who we know can bang and grab boards-jury is out on Baynes and Ayers because they are young and untested. If Maggette wins the backup sf slot, don't see how Pop keeps some of our 1's and 2's. Just too many guys who play at that spot. I think training camp and preseason allows Pop and RC to evaluate, showcase certain guys and choose to keep the best of the crop and deal others. Honestly, the guys who would be in suits every game would be able to start or play solid minutes for any number of teams.
Ive flip flopped over SY and CM already at least 3 times now. Cant wait for the preseason games to see what each can do at speed. Even one game where CM gets multiple fouls drawn/FTs, and that may be enough for me to stick w/ Mags. (although I'm still watching what happens with Thompson and Nunnaly.)
We were playing a drinking game at the scrimmage. Every time Maggette got to the line you had to drink. Every free throw he took you had to drink. For every missed free throw you had to drink for 8 seconds. Since I had my 2y.o. son with me, Sprite was my beverage of choice
Ayres looked good yesterday, but it was a glorified 5vs5 drill. Looks like Patty Mills switched from Fosters to Fosters lite over the summer break. Tiago looked more fluid with his movements - as fluid as it could get for him - when he put the ball on the floor which was very surprising. Duncan looked slimmer than he did last year. Actually, the whole team looked like they dropped their BMI. They all must have ingested a tapeworm after the Finals
I know Corey Maggette is on the decline of his career but we need him over Sam Young. We need someone who can drive and take it to the basket and cause some foul troubles. We have enough 3 & D types of players. Corey Maggette can go to the line like an allstar.
" ...Ayres, a new player, was effective in his 26 minutes where he finished with six points and six rebounds. The most notable part of his game that he’ll bring to the offense will be his ability to knock down 10-15 foot jumpers." if he bangs and can do what DeJuan couldn't do, consistently hit this shot.....very nice.
Would prefer Mills over Joseph as well. Looking forward to seeing how this all unfolds.