With the Spurs' season over, it's time to look ahead.
In the upcoming 2010 NBA draft, the San Antonio Spurs will draft in the first round at number 20 and in the second round at number 49.
The Spurs are notorious for landing gems late in the first round and of course in the second round of the draft. Late finds include, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, George Hill and recently DeJuan Blair. We'll forget about Ian Mahinmi for the moment.
Even though the team is drafting late, don't ever think they can't pull another "rabbit out of the hat" and stun the NBA once again with another draft day steal.
So what should the team focus on in this draft? Should they go with the "best available player" approach? If available, draft a big-man? Leave us your comments.
With the Spurs season over, seems the rumor mill started rather quick involving Spurs' guard Tony Parker.
There was a rumor Parker may not be back considering he will be entering his final contract with the Spurs for their 2010-2011 NBA season but it looks like the Spurs are dismissing any speculation Parker might be traded.
Tony Parker and general manager R.C. Buford also sounded like the star point guard isn’t going anywhere despite his contract expiring next season.
Just after being named to the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team, Tim Duncan was named to the All-NBA Third Team. And with this selection to the 2010 All-NBA Third team, just look where this places Duncan among the NBA's greatest:
With his selections to the 2009-10 All-NBA Third Team and 2009-10 All-Defensive Second Team, Tim Duncan continues to carve out a unique piece of history. Duncan is the only player in NBA history to have garnered All-NBA Team and All-Defensive Team honors in each of his 13 seasons.
Duncan trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (15), Karl Malone (14) and Shaquille O’Neal (14) in career All-NBA Team selections. He is the first player since Shaquille O’Neal (1993-2006) to be selected to an All-NBA team for 13 straight seasons. The longest All-NBA selection streak belongs to Karl Malone, who garnered All-NBA honors for 14 straight seasons from 1988-2001. Duncan is also the active leader with nine All-NBA First team selections; he has also been named to three All-NBA Second Teams.
Duncan’s 13th All-Defensive Team selection ranks him first in NBA history and two ahead of second place Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He is the only player in NBA history to have been an All-Defensive Team selection for more than 10 consecutive seasons. Duncan also ranks first amongst active players with All-Defensive selections (Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett each have 10 total selections).
Impressive! Way to go Timmy!
I recently had an opportunity to participate in a Q&A with former Spur, Brent Barry. With the Spurs vs. Suns series well underway, I asked him who is the Spurs x-factor in the Spurs vs. Suns series. Here is what he had to say:
NBA TV's Brent Barry answered questions from some of the nation's top basketball bloggers on Wednesday. Here is a transcript of that session:
Jeff from www.projectspurs.com
Who is the x-factor from the Spurs who will have to step up in the series against the Suns?
BB: Well the x factor for me is the same guy that was the reason for them beating Dallas in round 1. That's George Hill. I know he struggled last night to find a shot but I think he has to stop waiting and asking for Richard Jefferson to step up and start to be curious about George.
Thanks to NBA.com for allowing me and Project Spurs to participate. Click HERE to read the complete Q&A with Brent Barry.
After a mediocre game one performance, DeJuan Blair looked to bounce back with a strong showing in game two. And he did, at least on the defensive end. Blair finished game two with four points and two rebounds in eight minutes and 40 seconds of play. But it was the three steals by Blair that left his mark on this game.
With 1:23 left in the first, Blair came in to replace Tim Duncan. Now with Blair and Matt Bonner being the only bigs on the floor for San Antonio, the duty of guarding Amare Stoudemire was placed squarely on Blair's shoulders. In the limited time he played, Blair did a good job of keeping Stoudemire outside the paint and forcing him to defer to other players. Blair scored his first two points on a contested lay-up with 30 seconds left in the first, giving the Spurs a 28-20 lead.
A recurring theme in these playoffs for Gregg Popovich is to start Blair in the second quarter, and again Wednesday night Pop did. Stoudemire started the second as well, and the Suns went to him in their first possession. But Blair was able to get low on Stoudemire who was unable to post up Blair and back him down, so he had to pass the ball. Blair then scored on the next Spurs possession after grabbing the offensive rebound of a Tony Parker miss and laying it in.
On the next Phoenix possession, Jared Dudley was fouled on a lay-up and got the "and one". Dudley missed the free throw, but Blair was unable to secure the rebound and the Suns got another possession. Blair then fouled Dudley for a second straight "And 1".
Small ball killed the Spurs at the start of the second. The bigger Suns line up was able to collect seven offensive rebounds in the first two and a half minutes of the second quarter. It seems that the suns small ball is bigger the the Spurs small ball. Blair was replaced by George Hill with 9:15 left in the half.
Blair came in for Duncan again with 2:03 remaining in the third. Blair would then start the fourth and use his defense to help push the Spurs on one last run. Blair made a great steal on a Channing Frye pass and was able to kick it out to Parker who then got it to Hill for a transition three that gave the Spurs an 80-78 lead with 11:18 left in the game. Two Suns possessions later, he forced Stoudemire into a turnover, but the Spurs were unable to capitalize off the steal. Duncan replaced Blair with 9:31 left to play.
Blair hasn't performed well on the offensive end during the playoffs, but with Duncan, Ginobili and Parker, as well as Hill scoring plenty, Blair doesn't need to score. If he can continue to play good defense and force turnovers, hopefully he can help will the Spurs out of their two game hole.
For the second straight game, the San Antonio Spurs failed to make a defensive stop or make the right plays when it counted. As a result, they will head back home facing 0-2 deficit against the Phoenix Suns.
One thing is clear, these aren't the same Suns. They have more firepower on offense and this time, they are playing better defense. The Spurs have a lot catching up to do and they have to do it quick.
For the meantime, here are some stats that led to a 2-0 series advantage by the Suns over the Spurs.
110 - Two games above 100 points equals two wins by the Suns. The Spurs are 0-4 in this year's playoffs when their opponents score above 100.
68.2 - Free throws continue to be a major concern for the Spurs, they are getting enough shots but are not converting them. After missing nine foul shots in game one, they followed it up with a 15-22 outing or 68.2% shooting from the foul line.
49 - The Spurs were able to shot better from the field 50.6% to 42.4%. But were badly out hustled on the boards 49-37 including 18-7 on offensive rebounds which resulted to more scoring opportunities for the Suns.
38.9 - The Spurs are NOT making enough three-pointers, converting just 7 of 18 attempts (38.9%), including 0-3 from Matt Bonner. The Suns shot better from behind the arc with 47.4%; Channing Frye made 5-6 of his 3 point shots.
29 - Tim Duncan had a game high 29 points and added 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal; but still it wasn't enough to beat the Suns.
11 - Manu Ginobili had 11 points and 11 assists, but only shot 2-8 from the field and had 3 turnovers.
1 - For the Spurs to comeback in this series, they had to take it one game at a time. The first two games that was won by the Suns, was decided in the final minutes of the final period.
The takeThe Phoenix Suns held homecourt and are now holding a 2-0 series lead. Will the Spurs be able to even the series? We' ll soon find out, but all hope is not yet lost. As the series shifts to San Antonio, the Spurs have the chance to return the favor.
The Spurs were hoping this time around Steve Nash wouldn’t come out on fire and torch them for 17 first quarter points. With the Suns leading the best of seven series one game to none, both teams took the court on Wednesday night looking for another tough playoff win.
The Suns wore their “Los Suns” jersey to honor Cinco De Mayo, a nationally celebrated Mexican holiday. The Spurs were asked to participate but could not get their “Los Spurs” jerseys shipped to them in time.
Early in the first quarter the Suns came out flat, missing their first five shots of the game before Grant Hill made a 16 foot jumper to put the score at 4-2 early in favor of the Spurs. Tim Duncan came out ready to play, making his first three shots to get the Spurs going and went five of six for the quarter for 11 points.
Tony Paker also chipped in eight points in the quarter shooting four of five from the field. The rest of the Spurs team could not really get going as the teams traded baskets throughout the quarter and the game was close until a late run in the quarter by the Spurs gave them a nine point lead after one quarter, 30-21.
In the first four minutes of the second quarter the Spurs only managed to produce two points off of a DeJuan Blair layup. Phoenix could not capitalize on the Spurs struggles, only managing to produce six points of their own and the Spurs till held a five point lead, 32-27, with a little over eight minutes to go in the quarter.
After trading baskets during the middle of the quarter, Phoenix hit two back to back three-point shots to pull within two points, 38-40, and forced Coach Gregg Popovich to call a quick 20 second time out to regroup and slow things down. Yet again the two teams would trade baskets as this was a tough grind it out type of game with neither team backing down.
Manu Ginobili finally made a three point shot for the Spurs who had missed their previous 13 tries from the arc, only to be answered by a Channing Frye three pointer and a Amare Stoudemire dunk to tie the game at 51 entering halftime. The Spurs had led by as many as 11 points and Phoenix had not led in the game at all. The Spurs outplayed the Suns only to be tied which had to be demoralizing for them.
Stoudemire made his first shot of the third quarter to give the Suns their first lead of the game, 53-51, only 20 seconds into the second half. The Spurs looked to bounce back with a strong start as Parker stayed hot, scoring on a nine-foot jumper and then a three-point basket to put the Spurs up six, 64-58.
But the Suns would answer with their own run to tie the game back up at 64-64 with 6:37 to go in the quarter. Richard Jefferson got involved in the offense often in this quarter getting two alley oop dunks assisted by Ginobili and Parker. As in the second quarter, the two teams battled back and forth and again the Suns would go on a run to end the quarter going on a 9-0 run before Parker finally made a free throw to end it. After a Grant Hill turnover, Jefferson hit a 19-foot jumper to give him 15 points at this point in the game and put the score at 76-78 in favor of Phoenix after three quarters of play.
Early in the fourth quarter it seemed like every time the Spurs went on a run the Suns would answer with a three point basket to end it. Jared Dudley and Channing Frye hit two crucial three-point shots when it seemed like the Spurs were going to take the lead. The Spurs battled back to tie the game at 80, only to see Dudley hit a three. Then when George Hill made a driving layup, Frye answered with his three to put the score at 88-83 with 7:56 to go in the game.
When the Suns were not making three-point baskets they were converting on old fashioned three-point plays, and the Spurs got desperate and started chunking up three-pointers. Where the Spurs really got hurt was on the offensive rebounds, getting outrebounded 7 to 18. The Spurs went cold late and the Suns continued to stay hot and answered any run that the Spurs threw at them with three-pointers and a pick and roll offense that San Antonio could not stop. The Suns took a 2-0 series lead with a 110-102 victory over the Spurs as the series moves to San Antonio for game three on Friday night at the AT&T Center.
• The Spurs have only been down 0-2 only 4 times in Duncan era. Come back to win only once: '08 West semis vs Hornets.
• The Suns out rebounded the Spurs 18-7 on the offensive end and 49-37 overall.
• The Spurs lost their 13th straight game when giving up 100+ points.
• Tim Duncan hit his first three point shot of the playoffs, his third overall for the season, although this one did not have a big impact on the game as his last three in the post season against the Suns in 08’.
Spurs forward, Tim Duncan, was named to the NBA All-Defensive second team for the 13th time in his NBA career.
The NBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of center Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, guards Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and Thabo Sefolosha of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and forwards Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks and Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Duncan has been selected to the NBA All-Defensive team 13 consecutive seasons.
Congratulations Timmy! Well deserved.
Suns' big man, Robin Lopez, did not play for game one of the Spurs vs. Suns series and it seems he might continue to sit out for game two tonight.
Suns coach Alvin Gentry said Robin Lopez (back/leg) is a "longshot" to play in Game 2 on Wednesday.
On a positive note, Lopez hasn't been ruled out for Games 3 & 4 in San Antonio. How much do the Suns need his size? Their starting center, Jarron Collins, finished Game 1 scoreless with one rebound in nine minutes.