It was one of the most memorable moments in this year's NBA playoffs. Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo suffered a dislocated elbow versus the Miami Heat in the East semifinals. Rondo left the court only to make a return to the court minutes later to help Boston to a win.
San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili suffered a hyperextended right elbow in the Spurs' final game of the season versus the Phoenix Suns but unlike Rondo, he did not return to the game, sat out game one of the series against the Memphis Grizzlies, and came back to the court in game two.
Many compared Rondo's quick return to the court to the infamous Willis Reed moment but don't tell that to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich who thinks otherwise:
“It’s really been hard to watch the playoffs and have them make Rondo out like Willis Reed,”
“It’s like, Manu couldn’t even play the first game (against Memphis), and we probably shouldn’t have played him again. He went out there and worked through it, and you didn’t hear any of that kind of crap.”
“It’s like Rondo is the next coming of Willis Reed, the thing he did and the character he showed,” Popovich said. “Maybe he did show character and he was tough and all that, but it is no different than what Manu did. That just kind of angers me on a selfish level, so to speak.”
Although I can appreciate Pop backing up Manu, I have to disagree with him here. Rondo DISLOCATED his elbow yet came back to action minutes later. That speaks volumes and the comparison to Reed is sound.
Oh and in case you were wondering how Celtics fans reacted to Pop's remarks about Rondo, check out a few fan comments left at Reds Army:
- C'mon Pop, you're better than this. I understand that you are still frustrated because your #1 seeded Spurs embarrassed themselves in the first round of the playoffs. But there's no need to take a shot at Rajon Rondo.
- wow...wouldn't expect Pop to be so douchey.
- I've always had major respect for Gregg Pop, one of my favorites besides Doc, & George Karl, but he is very ignorant for saying the above... He's one of the coaches that always says the right thing, clearly he didnt this time, & Im not saying this because Rondo is a Celtic, but you cant downplay someone who dislocates their elbow, & literally coming back to play 15-20 minutes later, clearly its very different from Manu's cause not only did Manu only hyperextend his elbow, he sat for almost a week, so its very different Pop, come on now, you're better than that...
Tiime for you to chime in Spurs fans. What do you have to say about Pop's comments?
San Antonio Spurs' DeJuan Blair started as the Spurs' starting center for most of the season. Then as the season wore on, he was benched in favor of Antonio McDyess.
While McDyess did provide more veteran leadership and defensive presence on the court than Blair did, could another reason for Blair's benching be because of his character?
According to Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, Blair has to work on other aspects of himself not related to his performance on the court:
After Blair ballooned to nearly 300 pounds late in the season, Popovich challenged him to shed excess weight. In response, Blair dropped 20 pounds by cutting fast food out of his diet.
Heading into the summer, Popovich has challenged Blair again.
Blair's future with the Spurs, the coach said, is not aligned with “working on his jumper or developing a jump hook. It's not defense.”
“It's personal discipline, responsibility and maturity,” Popovich said. “That will get him to the next level. Short of that, he'll have a hard time.”
It may be harsh words for Blair to hear from Popovich but it's this kind of "tough love" approach that will help Blair heading into next season.
What do you have to say about Pop's remarks on Blair?
The San Antonio Spurs continue to workout players as the NBA Draft nears. This time, the Spurs worked out Jamie Skeen of VCU according to the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Skeen is a 6-9, 240 lbs. forward who averaged 15.7 points, 1.6 assists, 7.3 rebounds, and shot 41% from the three point line in four years with the Rams.
A highly regarded recruit in the class of 2006, ranked above the likes of Hasheem Thabeet, Luke Harangody, and Greivis Vasquez, he tore his right meniscus as a high school senior, but recovered and made the ACC All-Freshman team at Wake Forest.
Early in his junior year, Skeen was suspended for violating Wake Forest's academic policy (reportedly for cheating), and despite the support of his coaching staff and school to apply for reinstatement; he transferred to VCU.Skeen has solid size for a post player at 6'9, to go along with a strong frame and excellent length. His athleticism is underwhelming, however, evident in his average explosiveness and the awkward way in which he runs the floor.
Skeen averages just under 20 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted while making 56.1% of his shots inside of the arc and 38.9% of his three-point attempts. Skeen has regained his excellent shooting touch from the perimeter, where he has NBA range and smooth, albeit unorthodox mechanics.
Though he continues to show flashes of a face-up game, he is most effective in the post, where he has evolved into a gritty finisher. He is best when executing a simple spin move into a jump hook over his left shoulder, where he can create space using his bulk and finish with his soft touch. He must work on improving his off hand, as his effectiveness as a post-scorer finisher is limited at the next level.
NBA scouts have surely taken notice of his unlikely evolution this March from journeyman role player into an offensive threat against some of the nation's best teams. (draftexpress.com)
Skeen might be a solid big man but still is undersized for what the Spurs truly need - a legit center. With the Spurs already having DeJuan Blair on the roster, it's highly doubtful be would make the Spurs squad.
OK Spurs fans it's tiime to chime in. What are your thoughts on Skeen?
The Los Angeles Lakers ran into a buzz saw that was the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki in their 2011 playoff semifinals matchup.
Los Angeles had nothing to stop Dirk as he led Dallas to a stunning sweep over the then defending NBA champs.
But does Dirk consider his stellar play during the Lakers series to be his best? No and Nowitzki points to the 2006 playoff matchup with the San Antonio Spurs as his best series ever:
"I think the '06 series against the Spurs was my best series and maybe some of the best basketball I've played in my life," Nowitzki said. "Over the seven-game stretch, I don't think there was one bad game in there. Just attacking, and shooting the ball and really playing well. So I think that to me still stands out as the best series. And obviously going by San Antonio in a Game 7 situation on the road I will never forget that experience."
Great memories for Dirk. Horrible memories for Spurs fans as they saw San Antonio fight back from a 20 point deficit to take the lead only to lose Game 7 in dramatic fashion when Nowitzki drove to the basket and get fouled by Manu Ginobili to tie up the game and force overtime.
The Spurs would not defend their NBA title and lost to Dallas, 119-111. Dallas would eventually move on to the 2006 NBA Finals where the Mavericks would lose to the Miami Heat after going up 2-0.
A great memory for Spurs fans. A horrible one for Mavericks fans.
While this season was likely Antonio McDyess' last season in the NBA, it won't be Tim Duncan's last, according to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
As we have said in a few posts already, in order to sign someone significant this summer, Duncan would have to exercise his Early Termination Option, something RotoWorld says he may do to give the Spurs more flexibility.
Duncan is clearly past his prime at 35 years old, but with careful monitoring of his minutes he can still be a major factor in a push toward another championship. He can also opt out of his deal and/or restructure his contract this summer, likely to give San Antonio more flexibility, but there aren't any details to report.
While it's doubtful the Spurs will make major moves or move any of the core, Duncan's restructured contract could leave room for the Spurs to find help in the post and possibly some added depth at the small forward position.
For a list of players the Spurs could go after, be sure to read Paul Garcia's offseason guide.
Each week, our writers will sound off on one topic of the week with short audio takes. If you are a Spurscast subscriber, you'll also be seeing podcasts with all of our takes together along with your weekly Spurscast.
This week we asked our writers, Paul Garcia and Jake Faunce, to address some of the issues the San Antonio Spurs must look at heading into next season.
Paul Garcia, Lead Writer -
Jake Faunce, Staff Writer -
So those are their takes for the week. Feel free to use our comments section to give your take on if you agree/disagree or want to pick who's take was the best.
It’s been exactly 15 days since the San Antonio Spurs were eliminated in six games at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies.
15 days later it’s hard to fathom that a squad that won 61-games was sent home in the first round by an eight seed. But the oddness around the Association continues, as the two teams (Lakers, Celtics) that played for the title last year have also been eliminated.
Basketball continues today as the Memphis Grizzlies are in the same position (down 3-2 to the Oklahoma City Thunder) the Spurs were in two weeks ago.
For the Spurs, the past is done. There is no going back, history has been written and it is now time to move forward into the future.
There have been many previews written already by numerous sites regarding which moves the team should make, who should get traded, and who is available for through free agency.
I’m here to bring you a realistic guide to where the team stands as of right now (finances, contracts) and issue some names that could be potential Spurs next season.
Since the season ended, I’ve read numerous scenarios online about trading for Dwight Howard, the possibility of a sign-and-trade for Nene, and even the latest idea from Going Glass of a Tony Parker for Pau Gasol deal.
Ask yourself this - in the Tim Duncan era, when was the last time a major star was brought into the Spurs NOT via the NBA draft?
Your response: _______________________
It’s highly unlikely that a major star will be traded for or sign with San Antonio in this offseason. History speaks that through the Duncan era, the team will only make minor tweaks to the roster. With the exception of the trade for Richard Jefferson, the team stays relatively fiscally sound each offseason.
In other words, the chances of Pau Gasol or Chris Paul in a Spurs uniform is highly doubtful.no comments
As you may recall, back in March, famed European coach Ettore Messina was able to visit with the San Antonio Spurs and spend eight days on the Spurs bench as an observer.
However, according to solobasket.it, Messina and the Spurs met at the Euroleague Final Four where Messina could be offered an assistant coaching job with San Antonio:
The trip to Texas, as we read about "Republic", is likely to be repeated at the beginning of next week after Messina met again with the leaders of the Spurs in Barcelona at the Euroleague Final Four.
The Italian coach has not ruled out a future in the NBA San Antonio and could offer him a job as an assistant to Popovich and then take over one or two years.
Though it is unlikely he would take over the coaching reigns for the Spurs seeing how another highly qualified coach has been sitting next to Gregg Popovich for years - Mike Budenholzer - Messina says if he were to come to the NBA it would strictly be as an assistant coach but doesn't rule out the possibility of becoming a head coach.
If the report is true, what do you think Spurs fans?
With the NBA Draft approaching, the San Antonio Spurs worked out forward Matt Howard from Butler and according to Howard, he had a solid workout with the Spurs.
“Had a good first workout and got to meet a lot of quality people in the Spurs organization”
Howard is a 6"8" forward, 225 lbs., and averaged 16.4 points, 1.4 assists, 7.7 rebounds, and shot .398% from the three point line for the Bulldogs last season.
Standing somewhere between 6-7 and 6-8, with a narrow frame, Howard has maximized his physical tools since arriving at Butler and is a very well conditioned player. That said, he is still undersized for the NBA-post, which was evident in his struggles in the national championship game against Connecticut's elite post athletes. Though he works extremely hard all over the floor, his below average strength, explosiveness and quickness limited him in college and will continue to hinder him at the next level.
From an offensive perspective, Howard improved as a senior, showcasing the same fundamentally sound post game while integrating perimeter shooting into his repertoire. He averaged 21.7 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted while shooting 50.8 inside of the arc and 39.8% from beyond—a tremendously productive season.
While he was post-bound throughout his career, Howard found 20.4% of his offensive possessions in spot-up opportunities as a senior, and connected on 44% of his attempts. He showcased range out to the NBA three-point line as a senior, where he made just under 40% of his 4.7 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted. This is impressive given that he attempted just 20 three-point field goals in his career prior to his senior season, where he made 53 of his 133 attempts. He does not get much lift and his needs to tighten up his mechanics, but his shooting ability adds an intriguing, NBA-friendly element to his game. That said, his production dropped off considerably when matched up against NBA-caliber big men in the NCAA tournament. (draftexpress.com)
The Spurs desperately need a solid big man, and Howard is too undersized to fill this need. What do you think Spurs fans? Hey at least it's not another guard the Spurs are working out.