When you think of the Phoenix Suns, you might be quick to say, "All offense. No defense."
Well it seems times are changing out in Phoenix as the team is looking to become better defensively. This past season, the Suns showed a marked improvement but are still looking to make bigger strides.
And what better team for the Suns to look to and possibly take from, other than the San Antonio Spurs.
According to azcentral.com, Suns' head coach Alvin Gentry spoke to San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Don Newman on being added as an defensive assistant coach.
The Suns finished with the NBA's fifth-worst defensive-field-goal percentage (47.2), and adding Newman will help but the Suns have also spoken to other assistant coaches from Houston, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, and Oklahoma City.
Newman joined the Spurs as an assistant coach on June 28, 2004.
As all Spurs fans know, this isn't the first time the Suns have dipped into the Spurs' system.
When you think of the Phoenix Suns, you might be quick to say, "All offense. No defense."
San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter took time out to play some wheelchair basketball at San Antonio's Brooke Army Medical Center. Glad to see Splitter taking time out this holiday weekend to give back to these soldiers who served this country.
If you watched the way the San Antonio Spurs finished the season and read the extremely blunt interviews with coach Gregg Popovich in the aftermath of their playoff debacle, the off-season strategy to adding talent wasn't going to be a mystery.
The draft prospects they are targeting fit the mold of this off-season plan of getting bigger and more skilled up front and more defensive minded. The players the Spurs have talked to or worked out are some of the most intriguing bottom of the first round/second round prospects in this draft.
From USC big man Nikola Vucevic, to Charleston guard Andrew Goudelock who shot the lights out at the 2011 NBA Combine in Chicago. The Spurs' scouts are once again living up to their reputation as the league's best. Here is a rundown and brief summary of what players the Spurs worked out and what skills he can bring to the Spurs.
The Big Men
Justin Harper - PF, Richmond 6'9'', 230 lbs.
Keeping with the Spurs goal of getting bigger, Harper is the most skilled big man they have talked to. He is a physical specimen. Registering the lowest body fat percentage at the draft combine at 4%. His shooting is off the charts for a man at his position as he performed consistently the best in shooting drills for big men at the combine in Chicago. He was 18-25 in the spot up from the college three point line drill. Both the best at the camp.
When it came time to perform against NBA talent he shined. Clearly out playing both Morris twins from Kansas in the sweet 16. Both of whom are projected to be first round picks. This kid has every basketball skill you want in a player. He can dribble like a small forward and shoot like a guard. The knock on him is the level of competition he played against. Coming from Richmond there is a small sample size to look at when playing against high level players. I'm sure the Spurs are taking a good look at this kid. He has all-star potential and in most drafts is projected as a late first to 2nd round pick. So he will most likely be there.
Nikola Vucevic - PF/C, USC, 7'0", 260 lbs.
Gary Parrish of CBS sports was the first national writer to ''discover'' Nikola back in February and glowingly wrote of his abilities. I bet he's pretty proud of that now as the West Coast's secret is out and he's become one of the rising stars of the draft process. Of course the Spurs are the smartest kid in the class and have been scouting this kid for months.
Nikola went to the draft combine and measured out to be the biggest player there. Both height and weight wise. But with only 6% body fat. So we know he has a pretty good work ethic keeping himself in shape in between the end of the college season and draft time. Nikola can play both inside and outside. He has a solid mid-range game and can play with his back to the basket as well. His three-point shooting ability isn't exceptional, but it's a growing part of his game as he's improved his shooting percentagein every college season. Unlike Justin Harper andthe question marks surrounding him being able to play against high level competition, Nikola is a extremely safe pick as he proved it against some of the best players in the draft. He clearly outplayed the projected second overall pick - Derrick Williams - in their matchup in February, holding Williams to eight points and scoring 25 himself.
Nikola can come in right away and contribute. If the Spurs are lucky enough for a guy with his size and skill level to be available at pick 29 they would be very fortunate.
Jamie Skeen - PF, VCU, 6'8'', 240 lbs.
Chuck Person, who spent some of his NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs is a candidate for the Golden State Warriors vacant coaching position according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.
Meanwhile, Warriors management – bolstered by the addition of Hall of Fame consultant Jerry West – remains focused on a list of five remaining candidates the team has spoken with about its head coaching vacancy: Lakers assistants Brian Shaw and Chuck Person; Hornets assistant Michael Malone; ABC/ESPN broadcaster Mark Jackson; and Frank. The team also had spoken with former Cavs coach Mike Brown, who was hired Wednesday to replace Phil Jackson as coach of the Lakers.
Person spent three years of his career with the Spurs from 1994 to 1998. He was traded in January of 1999 to the Chicago Bulls for Steve Kerr, just four months before the franchise would win its first NBA Championship.
We here at Project Spurs are sad to report that a member of the San Antonio sports family has passed away. Former Silver Stars center Margo Dydek has passed away according to nbcsports.com.
Former WNBA player Margo Dydek has died after suffering a heart attack a week ago and being placed in a medically induced coma.
Cathy Roberts, the operations manager for the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League, where Dydek was head coach, told The Associated Press that Dydek, 37, died early Friday.
The Poland-born Dydek suffered the heart attack on May 19 and collapsed at her home in Brisbane.
Dydek, who was pregnant with her third child, was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 WNBA draft by the Utah Starzz. She also played for San Antonio, Connecticut and Los Angeles.
Roberts said there was no other information available immediately on Dydek's death and that she was awaiting a statement from the family.
Dydek was drafted 1st overall by the Utah Starzz in 1998. The franchise relocated to San Antonio and became the Silver Stars. In 2005, she was traded to the Connecticut Sun. She would end her career with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008.
Here are some of Dydek's WNBA accomplishments.
Dydek currently holds the record for most blocks in a WNBA career, with 877 blocks in 323 games.
Dydek led the WNBA in blocks 9 times (1998–2003, 2005–07)
Dydek led the WNBA in blocks/game 8 times (1998–2003, 2006–07)
Dydek led the WNBA in Defensive Rebounds (214) in 2001
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dydek and her family through this tragic time.
USC's power forward/center Nikola Vucevic opened eyes at the 2011 NBA Draft Combine and might have propelled himself into the first round in the upcoming NBA Draft.
He entered the Windy City as an unknown, but he measured out very well there and in a draft that's short on both good players and big players, he could be a good big player. That possibility made him the hottest prospect to come out of that combine and propelled him into the first round in several mock NBA drafts. He might go mid-first round, even.
And one of the most interested NBA teams in Vucevic are the San Antonio Spurs who will be working him out tomorrow according to the latimes.com:
From Houston, Vucevic will head to San Antonio, where he'll work out Friday with the Spurs, who have the 29th pick in the first round.
Not only are the Spurs going to work him out, it seems the team has been scouting him at several USC games:
The Spurs had scouts present at several of USC's home games this season and are reportedly very interetsed in the 20-year-old Vucevic, as are Phildelphia, Charlotte, New York and New Jersey.
Here are his measurements from the draft combine:
He measured out a shade shorter than 7-feet at 6-11 3/4 in shoes -- the tallest there; was the second heaviest present at 260 pounds but had just 6% body fat; had the second longest standing reach at 9-4 1/2 (a half-inch bigger than former No.1 overall pick Greg Oden); and, to boot, had the second-best wingspan at 7-4 1/2.
Last season he averaged 17.1 points, shot 50.5% from the field, 75.5% from the free throw line, 10.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks in 34.9 minutes for the Trojans.
He sure seems to fit the Spurs need for a big man and all Spurs fans know how much Popovich likes foreign players so it may not be a surprise to hear Vucevic's name be called when the Spurs are on the clock and he is available at pick 29 in the first round.
What do you think Spurs fans? Like what you see in Vucevic?
San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter took time out to talk to local San Antonio children on the importance of CPR. During his appearance, Splitter spoke on his future with the Spurs, how Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has confidence in him and more.
I like he admits he did struggle in his rookie season but is working hard to improve for next season. Well what do you have to say Spurs fans? Think Splitter can be the player many thought he would be for San Antonio?
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As we reported first a few weeks ago, Austin Toros forward Leo Lyons is in San Antonio participating in a mini-cap at the San Antonio Spurs practice facility.
I had a chance to talk to Lyons recently to get his thoughts on the camp in this exclusive one-on-one interview.
"The camp has been very good for all of the players. We are working very hard daily and getting better," Lyons said.
Lyons' teammate, Lance Thomas, is also at the mini-camp.
"Having Lance here is a lot of help," Lyons said. "We both push each other to the max."
Lyons and Thomas were easily two of the top three players on the Toros roster with the most NBA potential.
Since Spurs Sports and Entertainment owns the Toros and they are the Spurs' D-League Affiliate, Lyons and Thomas are already accustomed the Spurs offensive and defensive sets as well as some of the drills the Spurs run.
"We definitely have an edge because we know the system," Lyons said. "I have been working out with some of the coaches of the Toros. I feel great about my performances and I'm familiar with all the drills."
For those not familiar with Lyons' game, he's a 6-9 forward capable of playing either forward position and is fast and tall enough to defend at least three positions.
The San Antonio Spurs continue to look at players as the 2011 NBA Draft nears. This time they spoke to Matt Hodgson who recently transferred from the University of Southern Utah to St. Mary's College in California for his junior year:
He recently held talks with NBA clubs Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs, who gave him advice on what facets they wanted him to improve.
Hodgson said his move to St Mary’s college would provide him with a greater challenge and better prepare him for an NBA or European career.
“I didn’t have the best season this year partly through my own fault, and St Mary’s is the change I need,” he said
Hodgson is a 6'11", 225 lbs., 20 year old center who averaged 4.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks in 13.1 minutes last season for the Thunderbirds.
Hodgson seems to still be very raw and can probably stand to get stronger, stay in college another season before thinking about entering the NBA Draft or playing overseas. Still, it's good to see the Spurs are looking at big men.
Looking at San Antonio Spurs guard George Hill, the one skill he needs to improve on can't be taught in a gym, weight room or through game film. There is no physical way to improve this skill; this skill that I speak of has more to do with cognitive thinking than anything else.
What is this skill to which I speak of?
Some players have it. Some use it only when it’s needed. Thus far Hill is one of those players who uses it when the situation calls for it. When Tony Parker was injured and Hill started in March, Hill was very aggressive with a 30-point game against Memphis on March 27th. He followed the next night by scoring 27 points against Portland on March 28th. A few days later, Parker returned to the starting lineup and Hill scored just six points against Boston. He followed that game with less aggression as he finished with only five points against the Houston Rockets the following night.
Will Hill continue to be who he’s been the last two seasons? Is there anyway Hill can become a dominant sixth man and perimeter defender?