According to ESPN's Chris Broussard on True Hoop, DeJuan Blair was 10 seconds away from being a Cleveland Cavalier.
I reported this on my NBA 411 segment on "Mike and Mike in the Morning'' today: According to information gathered from multiple league executives, DeJuan Blair was 10 seconds away from joining "King James'' and "The Big Shaquisition'' in Cleveland.
On draft night 2009, Cleveland offered Denver $2 million for the 34th pick. Cavs GM Danny Ferry thought it was essentially a done deal and had fingered Blair as the pick.
But with just 10 seconds left to make its selection, Denver was offered $2.25 million, a league record for the sale of a 34th pick, from the Houston Rockets. Because there was such a small amount of time left to make the pick, the Nuggets didn't have a chance to give Cleveland the opportunity to beat Houston's offer.
During our live draft night coverage on Project Spurs, Glenn Moore, a devout Cavs fan and host of the Dugout Sport Show, said the Cavs should take Blair with their 30th pick. Instead they selected Christian Eyenga. We both kept mentioning Blair's name as he continued to fall, never expecting him to fall right into the lap of R.C. Buford.
Buford has said that if Blair did not fall to 37, Jack McClinton, who they selected 51st, would have been their selection at 37. Since then McClinton had a poor showing during summer league play and asked to be released prior to training camp. He landed in Minnesota's camp and since has been waived.
It only took ten seconds for the rich to get richer. Instead of McClinton, who isn't on an NBA squad, the Spurs now have Blair who is averaging just over eight points and rebounds per game and looking like a possible Rookie of the Year candidate.
As for Eyenga, he opted to continue playing internationally in Spain. 0.4 seconds may not be kind to the Spurs, but I'll take those ten seconds any day.
Simple and timeless are two words that could easily describe the Spurs current jerseys.
After experimenting with red and white uniforms with blue trim in 1972, the Spurs have been using black, white and even silver since.
With other teams seemingly changing their uniforms and logos every year, I decided to try to come up with two new jersey designs that could be used to complement the current jerseys the Spurs have been using since the 2002-2003 season.
The concept behind both jersey designs aren't my own. After seeing the Spurs new shooting shirts with white in front transitioning to black in the back, I thought it might be cool to do the same with the spurs jersey and it's certainly something I'd buy.
The second jersey could be an alternate road jersey. It is a black jersey with silver/gray pintripes. A lot of Spurs fans have been begging for silver jerseys for quite some time, and while these aren't silver, the pinstripes and trim on the sides are silver.
In the future I may also look at modernizing the old silver jerseys with San Antonio written across the chest, but for now, feel free to leave your comments on these two jersey design ideas.
Jeff Garcia and I covered Hispanic Heritage month in late September with a few posts. In a post titled "Blazing New Trails", I talked about the NBA marketing to all of the subcultures and country's that make up the Hispanic culture and using the one thing that strings them all together, Spanish, the language they all share.
That got us to thinking that we are leaving a lot of people out in the cold by doing the Spurscast in English only. While, I'm not conversationally fluent in Spanish, luckily Jeff is. While he won't do the entire Spurscast in Spanish, he will now be doing a separate segment of the Spurscast just in Spanish. He'll be recapping the week and talking about upcoming games. We'll also be sure to put it in our Spurscast feed by itself in addition to having it as part of the regular Spurscast episode every week.
As you listen to the first Spanish Spurscast segment, keep in mind that this is still a work in progress.
Like they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Last month Rey Moralde of The No Look Pass and I had a conversation on the Spurs and Lakers going in the new NBA season. In continuing my watchful eye on the Spurs' number one threat in the Western Conference, we got together again to discuss our first impressions on the Spurs and Lakers. I dig to find out information on Pau Gasol's injury status, ask if Lakers nation has finally taken notice of the Spurs after their game against the Hornets, and poke fun at Lamar Odom's "marriage." Please note this conversation was after the Spurs-Bulls game. Enjoy.
JEFF: Rey, you see that Spurs bench against Hornets? Got to make you worried as a Lakers fan.
REY: Indeed. But what happened against Chi-town last night?
JEFF: Spurs couldn't board, lacked energy, and got out-hustled. When freaking Noah and Brad Miller are causing troubles for SA, you know it's not going to end well.
REY: Do you worry about young, athletic teams like Chicago? I mean, the older legs of San Antonio will have trouble keeping up with teams like that.
JEFF: I still say I am going to chalk this one up to lack of chemistry with the new guys. But already that's two games where SA comes out flat. Plus I am so going to be watching the back-to-back games. You're right. The younger teams might just run on SA.
REY: I wouldn't worry too much until 20 games into the season. You're right that there are still people getting acclimated with a new system. I mean, look at Cleveland. They may be 0-2 but that team's going to come back strong.
JEFF: Exactly. Way too early. Also RJ isn't looking good so far. He went 1-7 in the Hornets game and, in the Bulls game, hit only 3 field goals. He is attacking the rim but isn't finishing. Should Spurs fans be worried?
REY: At least, he's attacking the rim, right? Spurs fans shouldn't be worried just yet. But I'm pretty sure people already are. They always think of what people have done lately. In fact, I'm waiting for your Rodeo Trip because that's when San Antonio kicks it up a notch.
JEFF: I know it's a marathon but Spurs can't be losing these games. A loss here and there might cost them later.
JEFF: Now your Lakers got their rings which make me hate them more. I refused to watch that ceremony.
REY: As I mentioned in your Spurscast marathon, a couple of my boys went to the bathroom when that went on. I just happily watched and ate some more wings.
JEFF: So LA played one game and what did you see? Any concerns? Yes, I am spying on the Lakers camp for Spurs fans.
REY: In this early stage, I think what Phil should do is keep one of the big guns on the bench when one is injured. In this instance, Pau Gasol is hurt. They started Odom and it left the bench pretty empty. A line-up of Farmar, Brown, Walton, Powell, and Mbenga isn't going to scare anybody. They're all professional players but any one of them doesn't exactly scream All-Star... or even middle tier at the moment.
JEFF: Spurs fans want to know how long Pau is going to be out?
REY: By the time this entry is up, he may be back. Right now, it's Friday and he's not playing against Dallas. He may be back Sunday against Atlanta.
JEFF: As a Laker fan, what did you see in SA these first two games that would worry you as a Lakers fan?
REY: Their depth is obviously outstanding. I think Doug Collins mentioned that this may be the deepest Spurs team in history. I also noticed that they had already used 11 guys by the second quarter. They can put in absolutely anybody in the game and they'd be fine. While Lakers have depth, too, I'm not sure if I can say that about them. I just told you their monster line-up earlier. Do you agree with Doug's assessment?
JEFF: I agree but, again, we saw in the Bulls game, SA went on an offensive drought. We need the bench to come in and not suck ass. For example, Parker was SCORELESS in the second half of the Bulls game. Unacceptable. That's where we need the bench. Guys like Hill, and Mason need to step up.
REY: At least, Pop is playing Hill, right?
JEFF: Sure but not enough in my opinion.
JEFF: So what's the latest drama in LA? Did Sasha marry the Kardashians' Mom? Did Phil bone another daughter of someone in Laker's management?
REY: Can you give that another week maybe? Wait a sec. Did you see the matching tattoos of Lamar Odom and that Kardashian chick?
JEFF: Get out. No, I didn't. Seriously, why? That's like the death sentence for any relationship.
REY: Check this out. It must be love.
JEFF: Well, let's keep these distractions going for LA. You know Spurs fans will keep hoping for more distractions for the Lakers.
REY: This is what I have to put up with. When is George Hill going on his latest adventure? When is Richard Jefferson going to leave someone hanging?
JEFF: Dude, I was surprised he didn't "ex-fiancee" the Spurs and drop out moments before Spurs opening night. And no porn pics from Hill.
REY: Ha ha ha ha. I'm just glad I didn't see those. Did you?
JEFF: Unfortunately, I did. Had eye surgery to repair the damage.
REY: Still early but, man, did Tim Duncan look good out in the court for you guys.
JEFF: If the Spurs kept feeding him in the post we might have had a shot at winning. Bulls did not have anyone to contend with him.
REY: So I'm guessing he'll be the equalizer for all those young, athletic teams.
JEFF: Indeed. So you like the new Lamar Odom commercial with him, Magic and Worthy?
REY: Oh, geez. In any case, I wonder if they actually give a year's supply of dip or something.
JEFF: What's the over/under for Odom and Khloe Kardashian's marriage to last?
REY: I'll say by All-Star break. What you got?
JEFF: I say by the time the reader finishes reading this post.
Thanks to Rey for once again joining me in Spurs-Lakers discussions. Though as a Spurs fan I doubt you will but please visit The No Look Pass for all news on the Lakers.
Clutch. In the NBA it means someone who isn't afraid to take the last shot for the win. The Spurs are no stranger to clutch players who will risk it all for the win. Whether it be during the regular season or the playoffs, Spurs fans have been witness to some memorable clutch shots in Spurs history.
Today you will be the head coach for the Spurs in a close game situation. You will have the choice between eight Spurs players, past and present, and I ask you this . . . with the game on the line, who do you want taking the last shot for the Spurs?
Here are the players for you to choose from.
Roger Mason Jr.: What do the Clippers, Suns and Lakers all have in common? All have been victims of Mason's clutch shooting. One of his best clutch shots came against the Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day in 2009. With seconds left, he made the Suns pay for leaving him wide open.
Steve Kerr: He hit clutch shots for the Bulls during their championship run and came up huge for the Spurs in game six of the the 2003 NBA playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks.
Stephen Jackson: Though his time with the Spurs was brief, during game six of the 2003 NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets, he came up big with some clutch 3-point shooting to help the Spurs seal the series and win their second NBA title.
Tim Duncan: There is no doubt he is a low-post threat for any team playing against the Spurs, but Duncan isn't shy to take the shot when the game is on the line. He proved this against the Seattle Supersonics in the 2005 NBA playoffs by hitting a layup to seal the win for the Spurs. He also hit a fall-away shot over Shaq in the 2004 NBA playoffs against the Lakers, though overshadowed by Derek Fisher's ".4" shot. However, his most recent clutch performance was against the Suns in the 2008 NBA Playoffs.
Sean Elliott: All I have to say is "Memorial Day Miracle."
Manu Ginobili: He is controlled chaos on the court and has the ability to make the impossible possible. Manu Ginobili has given Spurs fans many reasons to yell his name in close games, but against the Phoenix Suns in game 1 of their series in the 2008 NBA Playoffs he proved once again you can trust him with the ball in close games.
James Silas: Before any of the recent clutch shooters for the Spurs, there was James Silas. He wasn't called "Captain Late" for nothing. Silas once said the following about his nickname, "I felt that my game was good for 48 minutes or however long I was on the floor, so I took offense at first, because I thought that it meant that I was only deadly at the end of the game. But it fit what I was about and I came to love it." Even George Gervin said this of Silas in close games, "Give the ball to Jimmy Si and he'll get it done." If an NBA Hall of Famer like Gervin said this about Silas, then you know he was clutch.
It's the fourth quarter, there are only two seconds left in the game and the Spurs are down one. You called a timeout and you're the drawing up the final play. Who is taking the final shot for the Spurs?
Please leave us your comments and go vote on the poll.
Slate's Explainer column took on a question today about how Spurs forward DeJuan Blair can play without any anterior cruciate ligaments.
According to the article, Blair's hamstring muscles, quadriceps and soft tissues in his knee pick up the slack of absorbing the shock to his knees when he lands from a jump.
During his high-school surgeries, Blair's doctors did not purposefully remove his ACLs—the going theory is that they tried to repair some partial damage to the ligaments and failed. Then, over time, Blair's ACLs deteriorated to the point of disappearance. Since this was a gradual change, his muscles and other ligaments could have adapted slowly to the added strain. Without such an adjustment period—if his doctors had simply cut out the ligaments, for example—it's likely he would have injured himself on the court quite rapidly. Blair is now thought to face a higher risk of damaging his knees (especially his meniscus) than athletes with repaired ACLs—and he may end up with osteoarthritis.
We are working on getting in contact with Slate's Juliet Lapidos and Dr. Walter Lowe, who contributed to the article, for an upcoming episode of the Spurscast. Hopefully they'll be able to explain this in-depth and possibly give us an idea of Blair's career longevity.
Read the full article on Slate.
In our second podcast of the 2009-10 Spurs season, Jeff and I get together and talk about the first week of Spurs basketball, including wins against the Hornets and Kings, and a loss against the Bulls.
After all three game recaps, Jeff hands out his shiny and rusty Spur, we talk about the epic 10-hour show and talk about our next live show, which will be this Friday, 2 hours prior to the game against the Blazers and one hour after.
To close out the show, we talk about the choices of the Spurs front office to pick up the option on George Hill's contract and not on Ian Mahinmi's.
Remember to check back on Friday for our live audio call-in show and chat before and after the game. We should also have a few more things to give away.
By Jordan Rivas, Staff Writer
Through the first three games of the regular season, Matt Bonner has started in the Spurs frontcourt alongside Tim Duncan, which is leaving some Spurs fans bewildered.
Last season, he saw significant time as a starter, playing with the first team 67 out of the 81 games he played. But at the start of this season, the sight of Bonner in the starting lineup has raised some questions. With so many moves being pulled in the offseason, many fans expected to see a Spurs starting five with at least a couple of new faces, such as veteran forward/center Antonio McDyess.
Three games in, however, Bonner starts and McDyess is on the bench. Bonner's play (8.3 points and 3.3 boards per, with 39 percent from 3pt range) would suggest he's capable of playing at least as well as he did starting last year. However given the up and down season the Spurs had in 08-09, the way it ended in the playoffs against the Mavericks and coupled with their spectacular offseason, there are those who would say that's just not good enough.
For the sake of brevity and objectivity, we're quickly going to run down a few pros and cons of Matt Bonner starting.
Bonner's range from the perimeter spreads the floor. At 6' 10", Bonner is a serious threat from behind the arch, hitting over 40 percent from 3-point range over his career. Having someone who plays the four out on the perimeter creates more driving lanes for guards and provides more real estate for Duncan to work.
Pairing a sharp shooting forward with a stellar pivot man works well. For example Robert Horry with Shaq or Duncan. There's just something that clicks when you put a nontraditional, three point shooting four man who can toss a decent post entry pass to a premier center. It frees up room down on the blocks and potentially puts four three-point threats out on the perimeter instead of three. This isn't just a nice benefit to have. It's a proven ingredient for a championship team.
Starting Bonner now will conserve McDyess for the post season. This is a counter-intuitive and often overlooked point. McDyess is 35-years-old and while he certainly has some stuff left in the tank, managing long term fatigue for veteran players is always an issue. Whether you believe Bonner should be starting or not, no one can deny it's going to help McDyess and his 35-year-old knees in the long run.
There's nothing but upside if Bonner flourishes. This would only be Bonner's second year as a starter. That means he's still not entirely proven, but also he still has room to improve. If he takes off and becomes the most reliable options to start opposite Duncan, great. If he plays sub-par then the veteran option in McDyess is still available to step in. Bonner doesn't play a large enough role to decide any wins or losses for us by himself and McDyess, or at this point even DeJuan Blair, can still finish games if necessary. There's more upside in starting Bonner than there is in sitting him.
Bonner is an average defender and not apt at checking the bigger, more talented forwards in the conference. Charged with guarding guys like Gasol, Nowitzki, Stoudemire and Boozer, Bonner is going to struggle. He's not a poor defender, just not built to take on those guys and certainly not meant to take on a guy such as Kevin Garnett out in Boston.
Bonner lacks athleticism. Remember when I was talking about McDyess and his 35-year-old knees? OK, well McDyess still gets off the ground better than Bonner does. I'm not sure how many times McDyess has had his knees surgically reconstructed, but even held together by dental floss and chewing gum, his wheels still make him more agile and vertically enabled than Bonner.
Bonner had some consistency and confidence issues in the past. He also had some well-publicized issues with confidence in his shot, and had to take some public coaching from Pop about being more aggressive on pulling the trigger. He had a nice run towards the end of the last regular season, but then dropped off in the playoffs. He has all the tools to play his role on the team, but occasionally he has hit some rough patchy streaks. In order to continue starting he has to find some more consistency.
Some of these minutes could be going to DeJuan Blair. No, I'm not kidding. After three games I assure you there are some people who are ready to call for Blair in the starting lineup. I'm not ready to go that far that fast, but I think it's a legitimate angle to say that between all this griping over McDyess and Bonner that Blair has played better than both of them through three games. Blair shouldn't be starting yet, but it's not unreasonable to suggest he should be stealing some minutes from Bonner's PT unless Bonner really distinguishes himself.
Bottom line is make up your own mind. This could go a number of different ways. Pop has a proven record of making starting lineup decisions I disagree with that eventually work. Now I just stopped disagreeing with him.
But then again, that's just me.
Please leave us your comments on whether Bonner should continue to start for the Spurs.