Sustained excellence is the hardest thing to achieve in sports.
Both the New York Yankees and the San Antonio Spurs have been able to achieve this difficult task through savvy draft moves that founded the core of their championship teams. Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobilli and Tony Parker were all drafted and spent their entire careers with the clubs that drafted them.
They combined to win nine titles over the last 15 years and have only missed the playoffs once each over this time period. They are the standard of excellence in their respective sports. But what both of these teams also share is a history of impulsiveness when making moves towards the ultimate goal of winning a championship.
The Spurs traded away Leoandro Barbosa, Goran Dragic and Luis Scola before they ever played a minute of basketball in America. The Yankees did essentially the same thing trading away Jay Buhner, Fred McGriff and Al Leiter as very young players and they spent little or no time with the Yankees. The Yankees saw what could have been first hand in 1995 when the Yankees faced off against Buhner's Mariner's team and Buhner hit .458 against New York and helped defeat the Yankees in five games.
You could say the Spurs had that moment in 2010 when Dragic tore up San Antonio's defense en route to Phoenix sweeping the Spurs in the second round of the playoffs. And while that was a harsh reminder of what could have been. I would argue the "what could have been moment" happened in this year's playoffs against Memphis.
Sustained excellence is the hardest thing to achieve in sports.
With Argentina playing host to the FIBA Americas Championship starting on August 30, several of Argentina's gold medal team members, including San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, committed to playing this summer in what will be the last opportunity to play together in front of their home country.
However, putting that team of Argentine icons together to play in front of their home country and qualify for what will be their last hurrah in next summer's Olympic games has hit a few snags, thanks to the NBA lockout.
Argentina's NBA representation of Ginobili, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni will have to be insured before they put themselves at risk of injury.
With NBA players on several international teams, many teams are scrambling to get their players insurance before they start training later this month.
Tiago Splitter is the only Spur that is currently insured and Tony Parker has already stated he will not play for France unless he is insured.
For Argentina, they now only have 15 days to resolve the issue before they begin training, but Argentina Basketball Federation president German Vaccaro remains optimistic that all players will be joining the team in Mar Del Plata.
Former San Antonio Spurs center Will Perdue is to be inducted into Vanderbilt’s Sports Hall of Fame.
While at Vanderbilt, Perdue won the SEC’s player and athlete of the year awards in 1988 while averaging 18.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and shooting 63.4 percent — stats that made him an All-American and a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls.
Perdue came to San Antonio in a trade with Chicago which sent Dennis Rodman to the Bulls in 1995. He played with the Spurs from 1995-1999, where he helped the Spurs win their first NBA title against the New York Knicks in the lockout shortened 1999 season.
His best season as a Spur came in 1996-1997 when he averaged 8.7 points, 1.6 blocks, 9.8 rebounds, shot 56% from the field in 65 games.
He would end up winning four NBA titles, three with the Bulls and one with the Spurs, during his 13 years in the NBA. Of course he did have the luxury of playing with three of the games best ever players - David Robinson, Tim Duncan and Michael Jordan.
“I still tell people that I’ve been fortunate enough to win four NBA championships — three with Chicago and one with San Antonio,” the 7-footer said. “But some of the best times of my life were the five years I spent at Vanderbilt. I feel very fortunate that I made the right college decision.”
Not bad for someone who nearly flunked out of Vanderbilt. Congratulations to Perdue. Well deserved.
Matt Bonner is a unique member of the San Antonio Spurs.
He isn’t necessarily your average NBA big man. On most teams, he may not even get much playing time. But with the Spurs, he’s a crucial cog in the team’s offense.
Having Bonner on the floor helps the team on offense because he is able to open the paint by hanging out on the perimeter, which leaves room for the penetrating guards to wreak havoc and either score or kick out to the shooters.
However, using Bonner is a gamble. He is built as a 6’10, 235 pound power forward that is undersized on the defensive end. He lacks the body size to stop heavier centers and forwards from being dominant in the paint and he isn’t fast enough to stop athletic forwards from escaping his sight and going up for an alley-oop dunk.
Is this Bonner's fault? No it’s not his fault his offensive skill set matches the Spurs’ offensive system so well yet hurts the team on the other side of the ball.
We know what Bonner can do, so now how can he improve?
Before the NBA lockout became official, San Antonio Spurs' Antonio McDyess and his agent made an agreement with the team that he would make his retirement decision until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was in place.
Even though McDyess said he would retire this past season and even reiterated his decision after the Spurs' game six playoff loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, it would seem McDyess is trying to keep father time at bay and is looking for some run on the court during this summer.
According to Carla Peay of the Washington Post, McDyess is to participate in a summer Pro-Am league along with other NBA players.
Evans plays in a Houston Pro-Am League with other NBA veterans, including former Wizard Cartier Martin, T.J. Ford of the Indiana Pacers, Antonio McDyess of the San Antonio Spurs, and D.J. Augustin of the Charlotte Bobcats.
McDyess still has one year and 5.2 million dollars remaining on his contract for the upcoming 11-12' Spurs' season. If there is a next season.
What do you think Spurs fans? Is McDyess just partaking in some fun summer league ball or is he going through the offseason with the mindset he will give himself one more shot at capturing an NBA championship?
With the NBA players now locked out, currently for the sixth day, players are not allowed to use team facilities or work with team staff.
This weekend, San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili posted a message to Twitter about how he wished he could talk to Spurs trainer Will Sevening and wish him a happy birthday.
Ginobili may not have the state-of-the-art Spurs practice facility or the services of Sevening, but perhaps he could be enlisting help from two new trainers and taking to parks to begin his offseason training regiment.
Or it could just be Ginobili enjoying a day at the park with his young twins. Even in a park, I'm not sure the tiny carousel pictured below, which clearly does not fit Ginobili's 6-6 frame, would be up to code as proper training equipment...even in a lockout.
It seems that San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili has been doing some online shopping lately. Yesterday, on Ginobili's Twitter account he tweeted:
Fancy - Texas Hold’em Inflatable
Well first, it can be debated whether an inflatable poker table is "fancy," two, perhaps Manu shouldn't be thinking about gambling during an NBA lockout and three, the guy in the photo is one lucky dude. He has three bikini-clad women in a pool with no other guy in sight.
It's unknown if Ginobili was suggesting the poker table for his San Antonio based followers where temperatures are regularly in the 100's these days or if he really thought, "Wow, this is a fancy table. I should let everyone see this thing."
Regardless, I got one thing to say: NBA lockout please end already.
With the San Antonio Spurs and every other NBA player officially locked out, our staff took on the topic of the NBA lockout for this week's roundtable.
This week, Paul Garcia, Jake Faunce, Trevor Zickgraf and I jumped in on the discussion to offer our general thoughts on the lockout, projected how long it could last and who could be to blame.
Michael De Leon, Founder
Paul Garcia, Lead Writer
Jake Faunce, Staff Writer
Trevor Zickgraf, Staff Writer
Now that we've spoken, we'd like to hear your thoughts on the NBA lockout. Hit up the comments and let us know what your stance is. For past roundtable topics and audio, visit our cinch.fm page.
Most of the spotlight has been on San Antonio Spurs 2011 NBA draft picks Kawhi Leonard and Davis Bertans and what they will bring to the Spurs. There is no doubt both will bring unique set of skills to the Spurs but let's take time to look at some highlights from the other Spurs' draftee - Adam Hanga.
Check out this highlight reel of Hanga doing his thing on the court. And while Hanga displays much athleticism, my favorite is when he ran from midcourt to block a player's shot attempt. Got to love that defense!
After Latvia lost to Poland at the FIBA 2011 U19 Tournament, 86 to 78, San Antonio Spurs' Davis Bertans spoke on the loss to Poland and if you are a Spurs fan, you will like to hear him stress the importance of defense and how key it is to any game.
Bertans finished with 16 points, shot 42.9% from the field, went 3/7 from the three point line, grabbed 11 rebounds, one block in 30 minutes.