Friday, October 23, 2009
Spurs' "Other Trio"
By Robby Lim
After the most active offseason in recent memory, much of the talk in the past few months has been focused on the Spurs' new additions, free agent signings and camp hopefuls. It's normal; fans would love to know more about the new guys coming to their team.
These days much of the news about the Spurs would headline Blair, Hill, Jefferson and McDyess. Even Theo Ratliff, Keith Bogans and Malik Hairston have been on the news lately. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean I don't like it. In fact most articles on this site are about the 'new guys' and the 'Big three'.
But this time, I would like to give the spotlight on some of the least mentioned Spurs. Let me make it clear, if the Spurs are to win a title this coming season; they need a healthy Big three (have we heard or read about that a million times already?).
The newcomers like Blair, Jefferson and McDyess are great additions. They certainly boost our chances to win it all this year. But like any other championship year, we need players that know their roles and the system, players that complement stars.
In past we have players like Robert Horry, Brent Barry, Fabricio Oberto, and Steve Kerr fit into that role. This year, we have at least three players that can fit into that role. I'd like to call them, the "Other Trio."
Remember Roger Mason Jr.? In my opinion this guy remains to be the best pure shooter on the team. Last season he showed that he can really shoot. At some point last year he can even be considered as one of the league’s clutchest shooters; Hitting big shots when the game is on the line. He even earned the moniker 'Big Shot Rog' because of his late game heroics.
I know he went missing in action in last season's playoffs. But I am confident that this year will be different, with Manu coming back and Hill improving everyday; I think Roger Mason will be more comfortable with his role clearly defined. And that is to catch and shoot the ball.
What about Michael Finley? In my opinion, he remains to be one of the best clutch shooters in the league (sorry Mase!). It's because of the fact that he was able to deliver in clutch situations during the playoffs (Remember his performance in 2007 playoff series against Denver?).
Just this week he reminded everyone of what he is capable of doing. He scored 20 points, made five 3-pointers in just 17 minutes of action to lead the Spurs to a 119-102 preseason victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's just a preseason game, but it's still basketball. Finley's value to the team is not limited to being able to hit shots. His veteran smarts and savvy can help the new and young guys learn the system more quickly.
And then there's Matt Bonner, most Spurs fans (including myself) has made him a target on possible trade discussions. I think that he was an easy target for two main reasons. His inability to defend his man effectively, and his failure to make his shots when it counted most.
But last year's situation was unfair for Bonner. He's was our starting center if you guys remembered, and that limits his effectiveness. I think Bonner is more of a forward, a shooting big to be exact. More like Horry, but to lesser extent.
This season things should be different. He would definitely come off the bench, I think the Spurs will use him in game situations where they need to stretch the floor a bit more. If Bonner can focus on just shooting the basketball and don't think too much if he misses a shot, he could be helpful.
The Spurs are serious about winning the title this year, if these guys can stick to their role and do it effectively; things could be a lot easier for the Spurs. I'm not saying that the Spurs are clear favorites to win the title. All I'm saying is, they are a lot more better this year... and if every players gets into the same page? Watch out league! the Spurs are coming...