Tuesday, November 3, 2009
By Robby Lim
In their first 3 regular season games, I can't help but notice some adjustments that needs to be addressed with the Spurs lineup rotations.
First of all, I'm no expert; I'm just another die-hard fan like you guys. Coach Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the NBA right now in my opinion.
I believe that he has his own reasons for doing things a little different from everybody else.
In other words, He's unpredictable and maybe a step ahead on most of his peers. I'm not blaming him for the sorry loss in Chicago;
I think we lost that game because the Bulls want it more than we do. And maybe because it's the second set of back-to-backs. (Although, I can't convince myself with that excuse).
Anyway, so much about that; it's just one game. We move on to the next, and we try to improve right? I'm not too worried about a slow start. The Spurs after all are known to gain momentum during their annual rodeo road trip.
As Mike Monroe pointed out, developing chemistry though the first months of the season is nothing new for Popovich. Another thing to consider is how to integrate the new guys.
To be honest, I don't like Finley and Bonner (with all due respects) at the starting lineup. It makes the Spurs vulnerable on the defensive end early in the game. With Duncan , Parker and Jefferson, I don't think we will lack offensive production to start the game.
The Spurs has always valued defense. I think we should not go away with that. Instead of trying to outscore opponents at the start, we should focus more on defense and establish it early.
A starting lineup of Duncan-McDyess-Jefferson-Mason-Parker seems reasonable enough to me. TD, RJ and Tony should be there no doubt. But why do I like Dice and Mason to start?
I know McDyess is still learning the system, Popovich usually trusts guys that knows the system more ( a logical choice). But by starting Dice, the Spurs will have a better front court defense. More importantly, it will give McDyess more time to familiarize himself with the system and how to play alongside Duncan.
Mason for Finley is a little bit hard to justify at this point. Because Finley is playing better than Mason is right now.
But here's the thing, Finley plays almost the same whether he starts or comes off the bench. And based on my observations from last year; (sorry I don't have the stats to back it up.) Roger Mason seem to play better when he's starting.
Remember how he played when Manu was out? It could be a mental thing with Mason. Early in the season, I think it would be a good idea to insert him back to the starting lineup. That way, he might gain more confidence and therefore find his shooting touch.
Manu is our super punch off the bench. He's so good at it, and it's not an easy thing to do. Bonner and Finley are good players, but they would be of better use coming off the bench to provide some spark shooting those 3's when the need arises.
Hill and Blair getting 20 minutes a night seems about right. Ratliff is being used correctly, although I don't expect him to play the full 82 season games.
At some point, he should be placed on the Inactive list to give guys like Haislip and Mahinmi a chance to perform and prove themselves. Alternating those players in the inactive list might be a good idea.
Bogans, in my opinion is being evaluated by Pop early that's why he's a part of the rotation. In the preseason games at least, Hairston proved to be more deserving of the spot.
I'm inclined to think that sooner or later, Hairston is gonna be activated and Bogans will be riding the bench.
It's still early in the season and with a long break, I expect the Spurs to perform better. This team is deeper and better than a year ago.
It may take a while to see them at full strength, but it wouldn't hurt either if some of the little things are corrected or at least given attention early on...