Today's Project Spurs fan mail comes from Brian Storey from down-under in Australia.
He has a stream-of-conscious on various players and I try to tackle them one at a time.
"With the season gone now I thought I’d get back in touch with a couple of brief thoughts. I'm sure there will be thousands of season reviews and all will be along similar lines. Key notes are, positives: Hill and Blair (although a suitable front court mate for Blair is needed); negatives: definitely the regression of Mason who looked a player in his first Spurs season, and the very disappointing RJ.
I thought rather than looking back, I’ll look forward instead. There will be a lot of Parker trade talk, and while I don’t want to see him traded, I thought I’d entertain the possibility. A scenario I almost like involves the Griz. It centres around TP for Rudy Gay (sign and trade) and Mike Conley. There are a couple other pieces in it I would look at as well, but that’s the core. Gay fills the need on the wing and makes RJ very tradeable at the deadline where he ceases to be known as RJ the player and becomes known as RJ’s expiring contract. Conley takes TP’s place in a decent rotation with Hill and Manu. The Grizz cannot hold onto Gay anyway and have looked to trade Conley previously.
From that, you also hope that Splitter comes over and while he is unlikely to be the saviour, he gives additional depth in the front court. We would not have been killed by the Suns pick and roll with Splitter defending it (side note – why did Pop not even try Mahinmi who is excellent defending the pick and roll? Even for 5 minutes).
Regardless, with RJ’s expiring contract to work with, they’ll have one of the better assets come the mid-season trade deadline anyway and could pull off a decent deal with a cap cleaner.
The biggest thing that needs addressing is reliable outside shooting. Bonner will be back. He is the best shooter on the roster and while he is often the subject of Spurs fans ire, he has a skill set that is in demand.
A wing who can hit the open shot... maybe a Korver, Rasual Butler, Eddie House, or Kapono? All available and might look at the Spurs... would help as well.
I also like the thought of signing Sean Livingston. If TP gets traded, he could be had cheap and would be a low risk, (potentially) high reward guy. At worst, he’d be a very solid backup.
Just a couple of thoughts, and probably quite scrambled."
-- Brian Storey
Thanks for making my first fan email so hard – just kidding. I’ve gone through your “scrambled” thoughts and made the best of it by offering my own opinion.
To be honest, I really don’t see Parker going anywhere nor do I see Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley cutting either player loose… but I’ll play along with this little scenario just for kicks and giggles. Say Parker heads to Memphis, bringing Gay and Conley to San Antonio.
You make an excellent point – the addition of a young athletic player like Gay would make Jefferson look like old news. If Gay is desperate to move to a team with serious potential for postseason playing time, then San Antonio would be a good fit. Gay could bring better shooting percentage – compare his 19.6 ppg average to RJ’s rather measly 9.4 this past season – as well as the youth that Jefferson has been lacking in his game as he approaches 30 next month.
If he doesn’t opt out of the contract, Jefferson stands to make $15 million this season with no guarantee of a contract extension – one that I can’t really say he would deserve after this season’s struggles. He showed some life in the playoffs, but gave San Antonio little to cheer about in regular season. I’d rather pay some of that to Gay, seeing as he stands to make $10 million or so per year should Memphis successfully offer him a contract extension.
On the other hand, tossing Mike Conley in the mix to replace to the aforementioned departed Parker (remember, this is strictly "what if") doesn’t have me convinced. You could make an argument for Conley’s lack of experience to explain his lower averages against Parker’s veteran status, but only an explosive player could truly replace Parker on this Spurs squad. Sure Conley could be developed, but I’m still not sure that he could fill the void potentially left by Parker.
On the other hand, I am all for bringing Tiago Splitter into San Antonio this season. He’s played excellent ball in the Euroleague, giving him experience that he most likely would not have earned as a rookie playing in the NBA. As Project Spurs’ Robby Lim noted in his article, Splitter would most likely pair well with Duncan to give the front court a much-needed boost and plenty of help in the paint.
In regards to Mahinmi’s court-side accommodations for the playoffs, let’s get real. Pop hardly plays rookies in playoff games unless a) there’s nothing they could do to ruin a potential win or b) he’s desperate. While most fans would say being on the losing end of a game should require desperate measures, we all know that Pop is not the desperate kind. Besides, Mahinmi needs a good off-season (see George Hill as to the improvement I’m referring to) to seriously prove he’s worth keeping on the roster.
As for Matt Bonner… I should admit here that I’m a bit of a "Red Rocket" fan. I’d love to see him get a little extra playing time and possibly improve those shooting stats – which are already pretty good. Jason Kapono would be an interesting fit, but I’m not sure I’m for the Eddie House idea.
That’s just my two cents… for what it’s worth.