- KENS5 - Taking a look at where Roger Mason's production has gone, and the answer is to George Hill. I did not realize this until I read the article, but Mason has a PER of 3. That's ugly.
- The Oregonian - Malik Hairston is patiently waiting his opportunity with the Spurs. They haven't done him many favors by constantly needing to fight their way back into games, not exactly the ideal situation to see what Hairston can do.
- Express-News - After Hill did a great job defending Kevin Durant he said he welcomed the opportunity to guard Dirk Nowitzki. At least Hill knows the right things to say.
- Express-News - The Hill-Parker backcourt worked wonders in the Spurs loss to the Thunder, helping the Spurs go on a 16-2. When Parker gets healthy I would like to see the two play together more often. When the Spurs are in need of points a Parker-Hill-Ginobili-Jefferson-Duncan lineup would be awesome.
- Spursdynasty - The guys from Spurs Dynasty try to talk the fans back from the ledge for one more week after the loss to the Jazz. I agree with them but it's going to be hard to stay positive much longer.
- Ball Don't Lie - Kelly Dwyer reminds us that the Spurs are missing their 2nd and 3rd best players. Also, he shows that while us fans can't get enough of Hill, he hasn't exactly shined as a starting point guard. Over the last two games he averaged 16.5 points but on 16 shots, 3 assists, 1.5 rebound, and 5.5 fouls.
- Sports Illustrated - Ian Thomsen takes a great look at Pop's influence on the NBA, showing how his coaching tree stretches far and has been successful.
- PTR - The Spurs have been known for finding the perfect complementary players. Who are this team's complementary players?
- 48MoH - Timothy Varner takes a look at what five players should finish the game for the Spurs. The big debate comes down to small ball with Hill or more traditional lineup with McDyess.
- Mundo Albiceleste - Oh what could have been. John gives some stats on Luis Scola's game against the Timberwolves.
One of the first thing I saw when I first started reading other NBA blogs and when I started Project Spurs was the Carnival of the NBA.
Don of With Malice, one of the blogs I highly respect and have read for some time now, decided to start Bloguin's version of the Carnival of the NBA.
Given the amount of NBA blogs on Bloguin, and the depth of quality within that group - a few decided to begin the Bloguin NBA Carnival, which will be named "Bloguin NBA-a-thon".
This first NBA-a-thon features several NBA blogs including Project Spurs. It should be noted that the George Hill post, featured at number 6, should be credited to Project Spurs' newest full-time staffer, Robby Lim.
Listen as Jeff and I recap last night's Jazz loss live. We go over the numbers, discuss the Spurs' troubles, give out shiny and rusty Spurs awards, take a call and look at the upcoming schedule. Oh yea, and I got shocked, like 3 times, that's how good we are. So listen for a shockingly good time. We'll be live again next Friday for the Spurs vs. Rockets game.
Project Spurs would like to introduce Mr. Lance Fell. In his first post, he takes a look back at the rise and fall of Ian Mahinmi. He also gives his thoughts on what the Spurs should do to salvage Ian's career with the Spurs.
By Lance Fell
Sam Presti, assistant General Manager of the San Antonio Spurs, liked what he saw on the court in Europe that summer. He saw a player who was physical, played bothends of the court, and had tremendous speed. His offensive skills were a little rough around the edges, but the potential was too great to ignore. So the Spurs drafted an unknown, 19-year-old Frenchman with the 28th overall pick. No, I’m not talking about Tony Parker.
I’m talking about 6-foot-11, 230-pound center Ian Mahinmi.
Presti was impressed by Mahinmi’s play at the 2004 U-18 European Championship Tournament. In the final round of the tournament, Mahinmi averaged a modest 7 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. With David Robinson retired, the Spurs were in the market for another athletic big man who could fulfill the role Robinson had left vacant. So in 2005, the Spurs drafted the rights to Mahinmi.
The Spurs let Mahinmi continue to develop his game overseas. Mahinmi, a member of the French national team, had been playing professionally for the French team Saint Thomas Basket Le Havre since 2003, when he was 17. In the 2005-2006 season, he posted his best averages with 9.7 points and 5.2 rebounds in 19.9 minutes of playing. He was then selected to play in the French All-Star Game.
That summer, he played in the Rocky Mountain Review Summer League for the Spurs, and in six games averaged 8.3 points and 5.7 rebounds. He then signed with French powerhouse Elan Bearnais Pau Orthez, whose alumni include Boris Diaw of the Charlotte Bobcats and Mickael Pietrus of the Orlando Magic, for a chance to compete against NBA caliber talent. That season, in 12.7 minutes of play, Mahinmi averaged 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
Again the potential seen in Mahinmi was too big to ignore, and the Spurs signed him on August 23, 2007.
Mahinmi played in six of the first 11 games for the Spurs in the 2007-2008 season. Those would be the only games he would play for the Spurs that season. His averages for the Spurs, a pedestrian 3.5 points per game in 3.8 minutes played.
But the 2007-2008 season was anything but a bust for Mahinmi. On November 21st he was assigned to San Antonio’s NBDL affiliate, the Austin Toros, and his impact was immediately felt throughout the D-League. Mahinmi started all 45 games he played for the Toros, with a stat line of 17.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals and two blocks in 30 minutes per game. He made the D-League All First Team and led the Toros to the D-League finals. In the finals, Mahinmi averaged 16.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.67 blocks per game.
It seemed that Mahinmi could put the word "potential" behind him. His once unrefined offensive game was beginning to mature and the 2008-2009 season was sure to be one in which he could take his place in the Spurs rotation.
Unfortunately for Mahinmi and the Spurs organization, he suffered a sprained ankle in training camp. Preseason rolled around and the swelling and pain in his ankle didn’t go away. Eventually, he had exploratory surgery to find out what was wrong with his ankle and a piece of bone was found lodged in his ankle. The surgery would cost him the season.
“The disappointment is that Ian can’t play,” Gregg Popovich told the San
Antonio Express News in 2008. “He was going to get 35 to 38 minutes a game to see how far he had come. He came a long way last year in the D-League. We wanted to see that.”
The Spurs frontcourt that season consisted of Tim Duncan, Kurt Thomas, Fabricio Oberto, Matt Bonner and for a short time Drew Gooden. It would be safe to say that Mahinmi would have definitely played 35 to 38 minutes had it not been for the injury. His youth and athleticism alone would have guaranteed him a spot in the rotation.
Coming into this season, the Spurs made huge changes to their roster and added much needed depth to their frontcourt. With the additions of veteran big men Antonio McDyess and Theo Ratliff, and up and coming rookie DeJuan Blair, those valued minutes are all but gone. It’s hard for a young player, with a rough and unpolished game, to get any minutes on a veteran team with championship aspirations.
But Mahinmi did impress a lot of people in training camp, including new Spur, Antonio McDyess. “I said, ‘Oh my goodness, this guy is good,’” said McDyess. “I wondered why I hadn’t heard more about him. I love his game.”
Mahinmi has not been activated for a single game this season. In fact the Spurs did not offer him a contract extension. But now more than ever, the Spurs should give him the chance to play. He has proven that with a steady diet of minutes, he can be a good NBA player.
Spurs fans have grown weary of Mahinmi and know his days with the silver and black may be over. They have waited four years for him to finally fulfill the potential they have heard so much about. Perhaps they have grown tired of people talking about how “athletic” and how “physically gifted” he is and want to see him in action.
I suggest the Spurs coaching staff take a page out of the development of other current big men in the NBA. For example, Andrew Bynum. He was drafted at 17-years-old, in the same draft Mahinmi was drafted in. When drafted, there were questions about his ability to stay focused. Bynum had the athletic frame and the talent, but it was still unknown if he would be able to contribute. However, the Lakers front office still drafted him, and with a couple years of learning the game from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he has solidified himself as one of the up and coming big men in the league. All it took was a healthy dose of minutes and some tutelage from a Hall of Famer.
The Spurs have a Hall of Famer of their own, who can put Mahinmi under his wing and teach the true beauty of the game -- David Robinson.
Robinson is the perfect man for this task. Teaching the outside game and back to the basket moves would only help Mahinmi. Robinson’s positive personality and leadership qualities could also rub off on him.
If this is Mahinmi’s last season with the Spurs, then so be it. But why not give him a chance to learn from one of the greatest centers of all time. The Lakers did it for Bynum, and he could be on his way to becoming an All Star. Even Kobe Bryant took time to learn from NBA Hall of Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon.
Mahinmi just turned 23, and with more time and guidance, he can be a productive member of the Spurs rotation. I just hope the Spurs feel the same way. What was once a looked liked a potential lost, could be potential rediscovered.
Please leave us your thoughts on Ian Mahinimi's time with the Spurs and if his career can be salvaged.
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?