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  1. #1
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    -Tim Duncan continues to look good in preseason action. There's obviously nothing wrong with 17 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two steals in 29 minutes. At times, Duncan is step slow making a rotation or going after a loose ball, however that's probably here to stay thanks to Father Time. For this early in the process, Duncan's outside jumper looks really good. Compared to last season, he appears to be stronger and better able to hold his position inside. Playing 29 minutes in a preseason game is somewhat surprising, though it likely means that he won't play against the Cavaliers on Thursday in Pittsburgh.

    -Manu Ginobili is patiently waiting for the regular season to begin. He has yet to break a sweat in the preseason. Once again, he was mostly working on his outside shot and his passing. Since he's not going all out, there isn't much reason to be concerned about the fact that he's just 4-for-18 from the field and 1-for-9 on three-pointers in exhibition play. Oh and tip of the hat to Ginobili for drawing up the game-winning three-pointer.

    -Tony Parker appeared to hurt his wrist and went to the locker room early. That news obviously is way more important than anything else that transpired during the game. Let's hope he's okay. As far as his play, I wasn't too impressed. Unlike the first two preseason games, Parker didn't look totally engaged. However, like every veteran player, I'm sure he's just looking forward to the games that count.

    -It's plain to see that Richard Jefferson has been told to shoot it every time he's open ... or even halfway open. I'm not sure I like it. The Spurs have too many players who need touches to have RJ firing away low percentage shots. Jefferson has been showing a decent amount of energy but other than added aggression, an improvement over last year's level of play has yet to be seen.

    -This kid's not bad. For the third straight preseason game, DeJuan Blair led the Spurs in scoring. He scored on post moves, jumpers, fast breaks, hustle plays ... you name it. Even more impressive than his scoring was his passing. Blair has very good court awareness and makes smart, quick passes. Defensively, Blair did well when he was bodied up to the opposition but struggled when he was in space. For the Spurs to become a championship caliber team, his defense still must improve a substantial amount. That said, Blair is brimming with so much confidence that it's difficult to figure out the limit of his potential. He looks really good and is quickly improving.

    -George Hill was bad in the first two preseason games. In preseason game No. 3, we finally saw Hill gain some traction. Defensively, he gave contagious effort and his play on that end helped energize the team. On offense, it seems like Hill is struggling to figure out where he fits. Once he settles in and finds his niche, he should be fine. However, I still like the idea of Hill starting next to Parker with Ginobili coming off the bench. We know Ginobili will play well as a starter or off the bench. Hill? We don't know that for sure.

    -Matt Bonner played a little bit better. I thought he moved better and jumped better. That said, when Tiago Splitter is healthy and Antonio McDyess plays, I don't see a reason why Bonner should be anything but the fifth bigman.

    -James Anderson is getting more and more comfortable. He's also in much better shape compared to how he was moving at the scrimmage. The one aspect of his game I already really like is his shot selection. He has done well tiptoeing the line between being aggressive and being too aggressive so far. Defensively, I see upside. He can move his feet, he has some athleticism and he's already playing with a bit of toughness. All in all, I'm happy with San Antonio's first round pick. He seems like a good fit and seems to understand why he's on the court. For a rookie in preseason, those are two impressive attributes.

    -To put it bluntly, Bobby Simmons looks done. He can't move his feet. He can't jump. He's playing a physical brand of basketball but the Spurs can't have another slow small forward on their roster. Right now, he looks like a poor man's Richard Jefferson. I have yet to see anything that illustrates Simmons deserves a spot on the team.

    -If the coaching staff awards roster spots based on preseason play, Curtis Jerrells would make the team. At times, he's been better at running the show than anyone on the team. It wasn't a coincidence that the Spurs erased the Clippers 18-point lead with Jerrells at point guard. He's defending with gusto, he's scoring well and he's making the right pass. The strides Jerrells has made converting from a small shooting guard to a point guard have been stunning. If he keeps playing this well, it's going to be difficult for the Spurs to cut him.

    -Good thing Gary Neal hit the game-winning three-pointer because he was having a nightmare of a preseason heading into that shot. He's so short, stubby and unathletic that I don't understand how the Spurs envisioned him as a shooting guard when they signed him in the summer. To make things worse, the supposed sharpshooter was just 5-for-16 from the field in preseason play before his clutch shot from downtown. For Neal's sake, let's hope that shot allows him to begin showing why the Spurs felt inclined to give him guaranteed money.

    -Marcus Cousin struggled somewhat with the size and strength of the Clippers' frontcourt. He's clumsy, doesn't have good hands and isn't that strong ... but for a D-League bigman prospect, I still like him. His size, athleticism and coordination is enough to give him a season or two in Austin to see if he can continue to blossom.

    -Garrett Temple looks nothing like the steady-handed guard who played so well for the Spurs at the end of the regular season last year. He continues to be a disaster on the offensive end to the point of embarrassment. Defensively, he's had his moments but there's nothing to write home about. After Temple's fantastic summer league cameo, I thought he was a virtual lock to make the roster this season. Now, if he doesn't turn it around soon, there's no way the Spurs can justify keeping him around.

    -In James Gist's 40 seconds of play, he made a good rotation to draw an offensive foul. Why didn't he play more? I have no idea. He's done enough to earn more than a couple trips up and down the court.

    -Pop spent the entire first quarter trying out a zone defense look. Let's just say that Pop should never do that again. If the Spurs run zone for more than just a possession here and there, that's a sign that something has gone terribly wrong. I think Pop should play less of Simmons and Cousin to play more of Gee and Gist. We know what to expect from Simmons (slowness) and Cousin (raw potential) but Gee and Gist are unknowns who could conceivably help the team in the regular season.

  2. #2
    Hedo Layup Drill ShoogarBear's Avatar
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    This couldn't have gone in Nathan's thread?
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    "It's a new breed," Keeton said. "They're urban raccoons, and they're not afraid."
    i swear, some of you spurs fans are the most insensitive people in the history of humankind.
    Michael Jordan only won those championships because no one else wanted them at the time.
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  3. #3
    dank side of the moon Mr.Bottomtooth's Avatar
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    Also, I hear Carmelo will be on the next cover of Backwards Fighting Pussies Magazine.
    That kinda makes you gay.

  4. #4
    All Your Best Lions #2!'s Avatar
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    This couldn't have gone in Nathan's thread?

  5. #5
    Mr. Dignity Solid D's Avatar
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    I couldn't agree more on your thoughts about Jerrells other than to say, I think he has made the team. Unless Curtis totally messes up what he has built in training camp, he's earned his Spurs. I can best describe his camp with the phrase: "oh, it's on now!".

  6. #6
    🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 ElNono's Avatar
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    Thanks for the writeup
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  7. #7
    🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 ElNono's Avatar
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    This couldn't have gone in Nathan's thread?

  8. #8
    Veteran MaNu4Tres's Avatar
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    This couldn't have gone in Nathan's thread?
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  9. #9
    Veteran MaNu4Tres's Avatar
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    Very Nice write up. Agreed on all points; Especially your takes on Anderson, Neal, Simmons.

  10. #10
    Killer Dolphin jcrod's Avatar
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    This couldn't have gone in Nathan's thread?
    Already in season mode, love it.
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  11. #11
    He's heating up DespЏrado's Avatar
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    Gonna re post my own thoughts here. Agree with about everything except I just like Simmons for some reason. I see him as having a future with the Spurs.

    Blair was a beast, he lead the team in just about every single aspect of the game. Even though he had a few lapses, he was just about the only bright spot for the Spurs early on.

    Duncan looked very comfortable and in flow for most of the game. His turnovers are about the same as we see from him every year. The nice thing is that he had the energy late to put in so go ahead buckets. For this early in the year he looks fantastic. He had a well rounded 17 pts and 13 boards.

    Bonner- He hit a beautiful three to help win the game when it mattered. He still played too many minutes but he should get props for helping the team more than he hurt them tonight. Tiago better get here soon though.

    Jefferson didn't do much early in the game and they called his number a few times to see if they could get him going early. It's too early to state that the off season work has done nothing for his game, but he is still struggling on this team. He did manage to get better as the game went on though He has 5 points and 5 boards in 22 minutes.

    Tony Parker hit a few circus shots, but fell far short from running the team the way he should. He still paces the Spurs better than anybody else, but he's not playing at a championship level; his preseason has been somewhat lacking in terms of being the superstar he wants to be paid as.

    Gary Neal is the sharp shooter he was billed as. He wasn't bad and deserves the chance to earn minutes on the team.

    James Anderson played very well tonight, he was very active on defense and even though he didn't score as much as he should. The rookie has a good chance of making the Spurs a better team.

    Bobby Simmons continues to play himself onto this team. He's rusty but I think the Spurs have to keep giving him the green light given his talent. I thought his maturity was one of the key things that gelled the Spurs defense in the third quarter.

    Curtis Jarells continues to make Temple look like the lesser player. He actually played a hell of a good game. He was controlled and created the Spurs pacing during the crucial third quarter run. He was better than George Hill even.

    George Hill, wake up. You're flat lining on us. For the key bench guy last year to be playing this poorly has me questioning his long term ability to spell Parker.

    Manu made a better coach than player tonight. But hey that's Manu sometimes.
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  12. #12
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    This couldn't have gone in Nathan's thread?
    That's actually one of my aliases.

  13. #13
    Ruffy RuffnReadyOzStyle's Avatar
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    Great write-up, timvp, although the news on Temple is disappointing. He was so good at the end last year I thought he might give the team another dimension this year. Hope he turns it around.

    Oh, and screw Bobby Simmons. Get Gee and Gist in there and let's sort out who we're gonna give a go to. As you say, another slow SF is not gonna get us anywhere. We need some athleticism there.

    And finally, fuck RJ. I wanna be wrong about him but I'm not. His time has long passed.
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  14. #14
    He's heating up DespЏrado's Avatar
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    That's actually one of my aliases.
    I don't think you could ever make yourself be as wrong as he was.

  15. #15
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    I presume the Spurs gave Neal guaranteed money because that's what it took to get him out of Europe (I think his agent even said as much) and to avoid him signing with another NBA team (supposedly there was interest).

    He's low risk/(somewhat) high reward, in that he's only guaranteed for one season and it's at a paltry figure by NBA standards. If he's a knockdown shooter at this level, they've got him for cheap for up to three years if they so choose. If he can't shoot a high enough percentage from three to justify his existence in the league, then they can easily dispatch of him at any time.

    Simmons should be handed a spot. Unless Gee starts playing and shows he can fill a roll on this team (either above average defense and/or passable three-point shooting, neither of which he's noted for...which would make him a poor man's Jefferson, in terms of being a poor fit), there is no other option as far as having another SF goes. It's unfortunate and obviously far from ideal, but that's the reality of the situation they've put themselves in.

    Jerrells may yet force their hand, but I'd be surprised. I have a hunch that they had made up their mind at the end of last season that Temple was going to make this team, so unless they decide to carry 14 but cut either Simmons or Gee, I don't see a scenario whereby Jerrells makes this team.
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  16. #16
    Ghost of Mr. K SenorSpur's Avatar
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    Great writeup.

    I couldn't agree more with the assessments on Jerrells and Simmons. Jerrells certainly looks to have the edge over Temple, as he really looks comfortable running the show. He does need to curb his tendency for ill-advised shots, but he looks fairly adept on both ends. This was my first look at him and knowing that he was once a SG, it does appear that he's made some great strides.

    Simmons does look slow, dead-legged and doesn't move well at all - which would indicate to me that he is incapable of being a good wing defender. However, I just have the feeling that Pop is falling in love with his veteran experience and past resume - much in the way he did with Bogans last year. Personally, I'm still holding out for Wilson Chandler to eventually land as the backup SF. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

    I agree with the assessment of Cousin. He has a decent motor and demonstrates flashes of occasional good play. He's certainly a project big, but I just also agree that it would be worth the investment to assign him to the Toros for a year or two. I keep stressing the fact that Dice is gone after this year and the Spurs ARE going to need another big.

    I also agree that Gee and Gist need longer looks because they are virtually unknowns. While both could also be destined for D-League assignments and unlikely to help the team this year, they both have a ton of upside and should be kept in the pipeline.

  17. #17
    Ruffy RuffnReadyOzStyle's Avatar
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    Hell, I'd take Wilson Chandler as the starter!

  18. #18
    @Kap10Jack Blackjack's Avatar
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    Big ol' timvp. Can't say there's much, if anything, I don't agree with.

    Long story short:

    James Anderson needs to be a starter for this team by the end of the year. As currently constructed, it needs to happen; or he needs to play that type of prominent role at least.

    George Hill is a stud on the wrong ranch -- could he be the piece that nets a Webster, Batum or Ariza in some convoluted 3 or 4-team trade?

    Curtis Jerrells has outplayed the supposed competition. I'm not sure if GT is working on his game and concentrating on the scheme and terminology so much that it's caused a regression in his game and prevented him from just playing the way he did after arriving last year ... or if the end of last year was an aberration (tend to believe the former), but Jerrells has turned himself into a legit player. He looks like a solid vet out there and after the problems the Spurs had defensively at the point last year against the likes of Phoenix and given Pop's flirtation's in recent years trying to find an Eddie House-type or a little bulldog with a 3-point shot at the 1 ... he may be on his way to having that contract guaranteed.

    The Big 3 still looks to be the Big 3 and if Splitter's as seemingly solid as expected, combined with the Beast's emergence, it's going to come down to that wing position.

    RJ should be viewed as a luxury, almost in the Bonner category, because that's what he is. He can help a championship team, he can't be a piece depended upon to make a championship team, not in the Spurs' mold at least.

    But damn ... what a game. Pop's experimentation with the zone for the better part of a half was interesting, to say the least, but what an ending . . .

    Mid-way through the third I was asking myself how this thing wasn't already in the fourth quarter -- seemed like it was taking forever. But once the Clips took the foot off the pedal and the Spurs started playing some of the guys who've been playing together as of late, it all of a sudden got entertaining. And to see Manu bust out the play from last year, the one Pop was lauded for even as Mason missed it in Portland, that was worth it in and of itself. Loved seeing Manu coachin' em up.

    Great to finally see a game, now if we could actually get some decent commentary; does anyone know what Juego en Mexico means???

  19. #19
    Bruce Almighty Bruno's Avatar
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    It looks like the battle for roster spots is going to be settled. Simmons and Jerrells will be kept. Temple, Gee, Gist and Cousins will be cut. Spurs' roster will be damn weak at defending the perimeter.

    I don't get what happens with Gee. He got 2 DNP-CD and barely plays in the third pre-season game. He should be really bad in practice or have some kind of injuries.

  20. #20
    Ghost of Mr. K SenorSpur's Avatar
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    It looks like the battle for roster spots is going to be settled. Simmons and Jerrells will be kept. Temple, Gee, Gist and Cousins will be cut. Spurs' roster will be damn weak at defending the perimeter.
    If all four of those guys wind up in Austin, that would make for formidable developmental squad for the Spurs.

    As for the weak perimeter defense, I believe Pop and R.C. both know they'll need to make a move somehow for an upgrade.

  21. #21
    bright future biziofromdowntown's Avatar
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    it means game in Mexico i think

  22. #22
    Bruce Almighty Bruno's Avatar
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    If all four of those guys wind up in Austin, that would make for formidable developmental squad for the Spurs.

    As for the weak perimeter defense, I believe Pop and R.C. both know they'll need to make a move somehow for an upgrade.
    Temple won't go to Austin if he is cut and decides to go back in D-League because his D-League rights are owned by the Vipers.

    Fixing the perimeter defense won't be easy to do because trade possibilities are very slim. The best Spurs can do for the moment is keeping an eye on waivers. Maybe someone better than Simmons will be waived by another team.

  23. #23
    99/03/05/07/14 Spurs Brazil's Avatar
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    It looks like the battle for roster spots is going to be settled. Simmons and Jerrells will be kept. Temple, Gee, Gist and Cousins will be cut. Spurs' roster will be damn weak at defending the perimeter.

    I don't get what happens with Gee. He got 2 DNP-CD and barely plays in the third pre-season game. He should be really bad in practice or have some kind of injuries.
    It looks like that.

    Gist and Cousins are a lock to be cut. So itís CJ against Temple, and so far CJ is much better. And Simmons against Gee. I really want to see Gee getting good minutes in the next 2 games. His D canít be worst then Simmons.

    I donít know why the Spurs gave Neal guaranteed money. He doesnít look like a NBA player.

  24. #24
    Ghost of Mr. K SenorSpur's Avatar
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    It looks like that.

    Gist and Cousins are a lock to be cut. So itís CJ against Temple, and so far CJ is much better. And Simmons against Gee. I really want to see Gee getting good minutes in the next 2 games. His D canít be worst then Simmons.

    I donít know why the Spurs gave Neal guaranteed money. He doesnít look like a NBA player.
    The game-winning shot aside, it's astonishing how unathletic Neal is. Outside of shooting, he doesn't appear to bring much else to the table. I know the Spurs need outside shooting, but Neal appears to be the latest in yet another line of one-trick ponies, that the FO has become instantly infatuated with. I agree that he doesn't deserve to be a lock for a roster spot. Instead he made the team off his summer league performance.

  25. #25
    Pump Bacon Cane's Avatar
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    It was fun watching Blake and Blair go at it, Blake's looking like a prime rookie of the year candidate too.

    As for Neal's shooting woes I was impressed how he handled it. Instead of being tentative and shying away from the game winning 3 after struggling throughout the game, Neal instead ran the misdirection play and sank his clutch 3 planned by Ginobili. So he's already got the Spurs shooter mentality which is good considering Coach Pop hates it when Bonner, Bogans, Mason Jr. etc pass up their looks.

    Hopefully Ginobili didn't get injured since his minutes seem low compared to the rest of the starters.
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  26. #26
    Believe. mexpurs21's Avatar
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    One thing I noticed while looking at the early shootaround was that Jacque Vaughn was very active working with the point guards, he was the most enthusiastic assistant coach out there, getting involved with the drills he ordered, great add for the coaching staff.
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  27. #27
    Ghost of Mr. K SenorSpur's Avatar
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    That probably explains why Pop was so "high" on getting him added to the staff. Regardless of whether the Spurs keep CJ or Temple, there is no doubt that the winner of the backup PG spot, will certainly benefit from the tutelage of Vaughn.

  28. #28
    inSPURation
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    Is it just me or does Blair seem to be a bit quicker this year?
    Maybe it's that spurs diet thing going on...

    nice game for Blair while matching up against kaman and Griffin!!!

  29. #29
    Ghost of Mr. K SenorSpur's Avatar
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    Is it just me or does Blair seem to be a bit quicker this year?
    Maybe it's that spurs diet thing going on...

    nice game for Blair while matching up against kaman and Griffin!!!
    There is no doubt that Blair is clearly quicker than he was in his rookie season. This can likely attributed to the new "thin is in" mantra, where he's literally cut his body fat in half, down to about 8%. An improved outside shot will allow him to pull his defender further away from the basket. With his improved quickness, he should have no trouble taking suckas off the dribble.

  30. #30
    That was not difficult. Obstructed_View's Avatar
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    What will decide Blair's greatness is his defense, and that's all between his ears.

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