A few days ago, ESPN's Chris Sheridan put former Spurs guard Antonio Daniels on his All-Stackhouse team of players that currently have no NBA home.
A little more than a week ago, it looked close to a done deal for the 12-year veteran to join the Cavs. But with Cleveland already in luxury tax territory, and while the Jackson trade talks were still alive, the decision was made that in a buyer's market, it was best to keep the team's options open.
Daniels, who also drew interest from Memphis before Tinsley signed with the Grizzlies on Saturday, is now hoping to rejoin San Antonio -- the franchise he won a title with in 1999.
"There is interest, but there is no urgency," said Daniels' agent, Tony Dutt. "This is, by far, the strangest year I've ever seen for guys getting opportunities."
There are also a few other teams intersted in Daniels' services, but I've talked about the possibility of the Spurs signing him on the Spurscast a few times, and I still think San Antonio would be a good destination for him.
Known in San Antonio for balking at the idea of playing point guard, at some point in his career, likely playing for the Sonics, he learned to transition himself into a true point guard. Daniels has long been considered one of the best backup point guards in the league, especially after his time in Washington and playing major minutes in the playoffs with Gilbert Arenas out.
The 6-4 Daniels would have to be willing to accept a role as the third point guard on the team in order for a return to what is still his offseason home.
Daniels could easily fit into the role of the steady, savvy vet to come in if either Parker or Hill are struggling. He would be nice insurance if either of those players were to be injured and I think he'd be a great mentor to George Hill just like Avery Johnson was his mentor while in San Antonio.
He's an adequate defender, and offesnsively he is best at driving into the paint for layups or dunks. As far as taking care of the ball and dishing it, he had one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the league while with the Wizards.
Daniels' signing would mean either Marcus Haislip or Malik Hairston being sent down to Austin to make space on the roster. Right now though, with Jameer Nelson injured, it appears that Orlando might be the most likely destination for the 12-year journeyman.
The sounds of a Spurs game are like music to a Spurs fan's ears. The roar of the crowd when the Spurs are winning, the swish of a basket made, or the thunderous dunks by Spurs players.
Then there are other sounds of the game Spurs fans don't want to hear. The silence after a home loss, an announcement that a Spur is injured, or the cheering of an opposing team winning in San Antonio.
But believe it or not, there are worse things to hear during game. Yes even worse than hearing Duncan, Parker, or Ginobili suffering an injury. So with that being said, whether you are at the game or watching on TV, we present you our top five things Spurs fans do not want to ever hear during a Spurs game.
5. "We have an Allen Iverson sighting in San Antonio. Why is he sitting next to Pop?"
4. "And from France, starting at power forward, Ian Mahinmi!"
3. "Let's hear it San Antonio, let's have a warm welcome back to the Spurs, coming out of retirement and starting at point guard . . . Nick Van Exel!"
2. "With one second left in the game, Lakers inbound the ball to Derek Fisher!"
1. "Welcome to tonight's game as the San Antonio Spurs take on the defending NBA champions, the Dallas Mavericks."
Leave us your suggestions on other things Spurs fan do not want to hear during a Spurs game.
There were questions about how Richard Jefferson would fit into the Spurs offense when they traded for him over the summer. He started his career with the New Jersey Nets as a third option who made his name with his slashing ability. In more recent years he found himself carrying his team's scoring load and he began taking more threes, especially last year in Milwaukee. Well, the Spurs are eight games into their season and the questions are still around.
Jefferson is averaging 15.6 points on 49.4% shooting, numbers most Spurs fans would be happy with, but it is his inconsistency causes worry. Jefferson has had games where he shot 1-of-7 and then games when he shot 7-of-8. He has shot as few as four shots and as many as 23 shots. It's obvious that his role in the offense is still undefined and that he, and the rest of the Spurs, are not sure how to use his talents.
He has looked most comfortable when both Tony Parker and Tim Duncan missed games due to ankle injuries and Jefferson was called on along with Manu Ginobili to become a scorer. Without Parker and Duncan he averaged 26.5 points compared to 12 points with them.
One of the biggest problems is his lack of aggressiveness with Parker and Duncan on the court. Also, his shot selection has been suspect with playing with the two All-Stars. I wanted to take a closer look at shot selection issue, which in turn gives us an idea about his aggressiveness on the offensive end. To do so I looked at the shot charts from the eight games that the Spurs have played in, separating his stats for the six games with Parker and Duncan and the two without them.
I broke the court into four areas as follows:
- Close: 0-5 feet from the basket
- Intermediate: 6-15 feet from the basket
- Long: 16 feet from the basket to three point line
- Threes: Behind three point line
I decided to chart the number of shots he made and missed, the field goal percentage, the expected points and the percentage of his total shots from each area. I expected that I would find a greater percentage of his shots from the close area in those games without Parker or Duncan because he was a more assertive player in those games.
|% of Total Shots||42.7%||16.85%||14.61%||25.84%|
With Parker and Duncan
|% of Total Shots||40%||16%||14%||30%|
Without Parker and Duncan
|% of Total Shots||46.15%||17.95%||15.38%||20.51%|
As you can see, with Parker and Duncan, Jefferson takes 40% of his shots from the close area but this number moves to 46.15% without them. Also, his threes drop from 30% of his shots to 20.51%. These were the two numbers that jumped out at me the most because they are most indicative of how he approaches the game with and without Parker and Duncan. Jefferson has been two different players this season, playing as a spot up shooter when Parker and Duncan are around and attacking the basket hard as a main option when they sit the bench.
Obviously this is too small of a sample size to draw any hard conclusions, but it does solidify my notion that Jefferson is too passive in the current Spurs offense. To further my point we can take a look at Jefferson's free throw attempts as well. With Parker and Duncan he is averaging 0.1676 free throw attempts per minute and without them he is averaging 0.2195. Free throw attempts are generally considered a sign of aggressive offensive play, something the Spurs typically lack. Jefferson is simply more assertive without Parker and Duncan around.
While it is nice to know that the numbers back up my suspicions, this all leads to the obvious question of what do the Spurs do to correct this problem? A few different individuals are responsible for correcting this.
First, Jefferson needs to realize that he is most effective when he attacks the basket and looks for his own shots as well. I know that he want to fit in with the Spurs system and not rock the boat but his passiveness is making him less effective. Instead of settling for threes he has to put the ball on the court and look for layups and close shots. In time his three point shooting stroke will return and then he can play more spot up.
Second, Parker needs to adjust to Jefferson's game. The Spurs have never had a player quite like Jefferson. Instead they have signed spot up shooters like Michael Finley, Roger Mason, Brent Barry and Matt Bonner. Truthfully this fits Parker's game better because he can find the spot up shooters when defenses collapse on his drives. However, Parker is the point guard and it is his duty to find out what Jefferson needs to succeed. Right now Parker's shoot-first point guard mentality has slowed Jefferson's progress down.
Third, Coach Pop needs to continue tinkering with the lineup and the offensive plays. Jefferson is not a player who can fill up a box score without any plays called for him, so Pop should call more isolation players for Jefferson to take his man one-on-one. Also, try to find ways to put him in motion instead of just spotting up around the perimeter.
I have faith that eventually Jefferson and the Spurs will figure out how to use him in the best way possible. It's obvious that he is not comfortable right now with the current situation.
Please leave us your thoughts and comments on Jefferson and the Spurs.
By Robby Lim
The Spurs have exactly played eight games. Coach Pop continues to experiment with his starting lineup. He has started Blair over McDyess against the Thunder and Tony Parker’s return sends Hill back to his backup role.
The Spurs big man rotation is almost clear, it would be Duncan, Dice, Blair, Bonner and in some nights Ratliff will get some time.
The backcourt rotation is a different story. The Spurs continue to lack consistent production from the shooting guard position. If Finley starts, he can provide some offense (he’s averaging 7.2 points while shooting 54% from the field in 5 starts), but he is a liability on defense. Bogans’ defensive tenacity has been admirable but his lack of consistency on the offensive end is also an issue. Mason could be the answer because he has proven in the past season he plays better when starting.
Roger Mason’s numbers last season:
Mason's numbers this season:
The point is, right now Mason is shooting horribly and is essentially playing his way out of the Spurs’ rotation.
What about Ginobili? Seems like a good idea, he’s a heck of player and should be a starter for any NBA team right? Though he could start on any NBA team, for the Spurs' purposes he is best coming off the bench to provide the needed boost when things go flat.
Which brings us to George Hill. This guy has been solid on both ends of the floor. He proved he can play the point position very well. In his two starts as the Spurs point guard, they won games against the Raptors and the Mavericks. No, I’m not saying that he should start at the PG position, Tony Parker is our starting point guard no doubt.
George Hill's numbers in this season: (notice, the dramatic improvement when plays as as starter)
But what about starting George Hill at the two guard? Yes he would be undersized at that position at 6’2” but what he lacked on size, he can compensate with his length (6’9” wingspan).
If he’s included in the starting lineup, we could have a starting five of TD-Dyess-RJ-Tony and Hill. It’s a smaller lineup, but it’s quicker and more athletic. George Hill could provide the Spurs another player that can really create his own shot. With Parker and Jefferson also zipping to the lane, it could be a defensive headache for the other teams. That's not mention we still have Duncan at the post and McDyess' ability to hit some mid-range jumpers.
Now you might ask, if Hill starts, who’s gonna be our backup point? Manu can assume some point guard duties when Hill and Tony are both out. Other wise, Manu should slide at the two guard position with Parker or Hill manning the point.
Please leave us your thoughts and comments on if George Hill should be in the starting lineup?
I recently had the privilege to be a guest on the Davis Sports Deli podcast. In my interview we discuss the NBA, Western Conference and of course the San Antonio Spurs and the other teams in the Southwest Division.
And one more thing, if you heard a promo involving a half-eaten Eva Longoria Twix bar on the Spurscast. Yea it's these guys!
Thanks to friend of Project Spurs, Jon Santiago, at Davis Sports Deli for the interview.
Click HERE to listen to the interview and to visit Davis Sports Deli.
- New York Times - The NYT jumps on the DeJuan Blair bandwagon. There was nothing really new in the article but it's always great when the Times is writing a profile on Blair.
- Express-News - Buck Harvey discusses Manu Ginobili and his lack of a contract extension. It's evident that the Spurs are rightfully hesitant to give Ginobili an extension until they know what kind of health he is in.
- Express-News - Allen Iverson is no Manu Ginobili says Mike Monroe.
- Oregonlive.com - Richard Jefferson as the Spurs defensive stopper? I wouldn't go that far but he has shown effort on that end of the court.
- ESPN - John Hollinger lists (Insider) the top disappointments of the NBA season so far. Included on his list is the Spurs defense. Can't say I'm shocked.
- NBA.com - Yes, the Spurs have started slow, and yes, they typically turn things around. However, with an easier first half of the schedule than second half it would be nice if they would start winning on the road.
- 48MoH - Graydon Gordian takes a look at the Spurs shot chart from their win against the Mavericks. He finds that the Spurs did a good job making sure to take shots around the basket and from three point range, the two most important areas.
- 48MoH - Timothy Varner shows how the Spurs supposed three point specialists are in a slump to start the season. The Spurs lived and died by the three too much last year and this is definitely something we should keep an eye on.
- 48MoH - This is a must read by Varner from last Monday. He breaks down the Spurs defensive struggles and focuses on their lack of rebounding. I won't tell you what he concludes because you should read it for yourself, but I will say that I agree wholeheartedly with him.
- PTR - Classic Aaron Stampler. He breaks down the Spurs recent games with Ginobili-colored glasses.
"I was just thinking, first we spend so much money to acquire Dyess and RJ. I mean, why are Dyess and Blair coming off the bench and playing less time. Against Portland, in minimal minutes, Dyess gave us hope, then Blair was getting all the rebounds. I was thinking, why not pop let Bonner sit and just play 10 mins? Why is he exceeding more than 20? Dyess showed us that if he played long enough we would have won that game. My question is, why is Pop doing this? When will he end this experiment and just let our team cruise to winning? Right now I don't like listening that the triumvirate of LA, Boston and Cavs will win. -Ty"
Ty, as you have probably seen by now there have been a few lineup adjustments, notably Bonner has been playing off the bench the last two games and Bogans has been starting. So far this seems to be working, with two Spurs wins. To be honest, we'll probably continue to see several lineup adjustments until Pop finds the rotation that works best. With so many new players this year, it's going to take time before everyone finds their role and the roster is able to attain that chemistry they've had over the last decade. I have a feeling, though, that it'll only be a matter of time before we see Antonio McDyess in the starting lineup.
It’s important to note that during this preseason, the Spurs thought of not filling the final spot. But Hairston did make the cut and Coach Popovich played him in crucial late game situations. That speaks volumes. It shows Pop has confidence in him.
In addition, Roger Mason is currently struggling and contributing little to the team. In seven regular season games, Mason is only shooting 28.3% from the field and is woeful beyond the arc at 22.2%. Why not give Hairston a shot to perform and prove himself. Sit Mason and give this young fella some time on the floor. Let's take it a step more. Why not rest Michael Finley and play Hairston. Finley is a liability on defense and when his shot isn't falling, he pretty much is not going to contribute anything to the Spurs.
Adding him into the mix can be a good thing. He has proven he can step up in regular season games when he had an impressive game last year against the Denver Nuggets when he scored 12 points, grabbed 5 boards and added 1 block and a steal on 6-of-8 shooting in 20 minutes of action.
What do you guys think? Should Pop give Hairston some time on the court? Who would you bench for Hairston? Please leave us your comments and thoughts.