Sunday, June 28, 2009

Getting to Know Your Spurs Draft Picks

I have to say, its quite strange to be actually happy after a Spurs draft. Generally my feelings about the draft range from befuddled to murderous rage (Example from 08: WHO THE FUCK IS GEORGE HILL). Going into NBA Draft 09 with only second-round picks, the Spurs fandom ranged anywhere from "We'll move up and get Casspi" to "I hope Pop dies in a fire". I honestly could have cared less about the Draft. I did not research one possible pick for the Spurs. Not one obscure white foreign player. Not one unheralded NCAA player. I only cared if the Thunder would pick Rubio and become 100% awesome (as well as have 100 turnovers a game). I assumed that the Spurs would pick some 17 year old pimple faced guys with names like Zoran Garko, stash him in Europe, and that we fans would be satisfied with RJ coming over.

I enjoy being wrong.

Calling this draft a home run is like calling that moon shot that Pujols hit off of Brad Lidge a few years back a home run. It just doesn't do the event justice. When a team has only second-rounds picks and is a given an A+ by the top draft gurus, that's pretty badass. With that said, meet your three draft picks and probably two new 09-10 San Antonio Spurs!

DeJuan Blair (Pitt)

On behalf of all Spurs fans, I'd like to say thank you to the other 29 NBA franchise's GM's for being stupid, their Assistant GMs for being blind, their scouts for being crazy, and their coaches for sucking. Thank you for letting the best rebounder in college basketball fall to us. I'd like to say a very special thanks to the Phoenix Suns, who enabled this mini-miracle to happen. Thank you Steve Kerr and Robert Sarver for letting us rob you last year. I'm no fancy-pants Arizona guy, but even I can figure out that trading a draft pick, a future pick + cash for a mentally and physically soft Euro PG is not a super idea. So anyway Kerr, thanks for 03, thanks for Hairston, and thanks for Blair.

Here's what you need to know about Blair: He's an incredibly gifted rebounder, even though he's a bit undersized (6'7"), he runs with a high motor, and he backs down from NO MAN.

Check out the link for a video of him fucking destroying.

Now, he did fall to the 37th pick for a reason. He has no ACLs. At all. This hasn't been an issue in college, and to be perfectly honest with you, we are going to blow our load these next two years anyway, I'm not worried with DeJuan being the 'future' or anything.

Jack McClinton (Miami [OH])

When this pick was first announced, he sounded like camp fodder because the ESPN crew didn't talk about how awesome he was. RC Buford, on, set the record straight: McClinton not only was probably the best shooter in the NCAA, he's also the best defender that the Spurs worked out. He's a very undersized shooting guard (6'1"), but that didn't seem to bother anyone. I have seen a few blogs and message boards say that Jack is an "Eddie House clone." Quit insulting Jack. He's more like a rich man's Eddie House. He's got the same great shooting off of catch-and-shoot and off of screens, but he's a very good ball handler, can create his own shot, and drive to the cup and finish. And, more importantly, play (apparently) great defense. Buford made the comment that Pop and himself forsee Jack getting time at the 2 guard with George Hill because Hill is such a versatile defender. If this dude has a good summer league and makes the roster (he will), our offense just become that much more deadly.

Here's a link of Jack going off against the Tar Heels.

Yeah....he can shoot.
I'm not going to write up a piece on Nando De Colo, because the very awesome alpineballer wrote a great guest piece on foreign prospects and De Colo was part of that. I can't tell you anything our resident European basketball expert can't. Link

This is a very exciting time to be a Spurs fan. A blockbuster trade that adds some real juice to the squad, a great draft, and an overall commitment to becoming younger. Hill, Blair, McClinton, Mahinmi are all under the age of 25. The person who really made this all happen is not RC or Pop, but the Spurs ownership group, beginning with Peter Holt. He opened his pocketbook and challenged the brain trust to make this team better, to be aggressive in chasing down trades and free agents. This is a rare quality in the No Benjamins Association.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gasol Trade? The New Trade of the Decade

We got him.

Everyone is reporting that the deal is done. Richard Jefferson (2008/2009 19.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.4 APG) will be a Spur while Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto, and Kurt Thomas will be new members of the Bucks. It's a clear cost cutting move from the Bucks perspective and it's hard to blame them. After all, it is Milwaukee. This move thins out the Spurs front court a bit. It's impossible to say what the Bucks will do at this point, though it looks as if Bruce will be cut. It's possible Oberto is also cut (making it possible for both of them to re-sign with the Spurs). With the draft still a couple days away and the FA signing period beginning in a week, we have to guess as to who the Spurs plan on being the big men next year. Let's look at the current situation.

Currently signed for next year:

Tim Duncan (don't think he's going anywhere)
Matt Bonner (could still be trade bait)
Ian Mahinmi (will have to show he can play in he big leagues before his money becomes guaranteed aka before he gets cut)

Free Agent from 2008/2009:

Drew Gooden - Has publicly stated he would love to play for the Spurs. But then again, any person looking for a contract would say that to possibly start a bidding "war". The more teams that are interested, the better. He showed last year that he could score better than any other big man not named Tim Duncan and that he could be a capable defender when needed. I can't see anyone offering him more than the MLE. The question is, will the Spurs be able to find someone better for the MLE?

There's also the draft (Thursday Night). The Spurs don't have the best track record when it comes to developing guys right out of the draft (George Hill played behind Mason at point remember). Plus as of now the Spurs only have second round picks. As I have so eloquently put before, second rounders usually suck worse than Kobe at lying. There have been musings that the Spurs are trying to move up in the draft. Though originally it was presumed that they would move up to get Casspi. It's hard to see that happening now that Jefferson is a Spur. While SF is still somewhat thin, C and PF are even thinner. And let's be real, they're not trading up to get Thabeet.

So what does this all mean? It means that the Spurs will be actively trying to get a decent big man for the MLE. It's also possible they go after less qualified big men and split up the MLE for more than one player. Oh and they now have one of the most jizztacular starting lineups in the league:

PG - Tony Parker (All-Star and Finals MVP)
SG - Roger Mason Jr. (Sniper, Clutch-City)
SF - Richard Jefferson (Highlight Reel, 20 PPG)
PF - Tim Duncan (He's Pretty Good)
C - Who Cares (let's hope for Mahinmi)

And a certain Manu Ginobili will be coming off the bench. I think I filled the cup.

Edit: Important to note that the MLE still counts toward the Luxury Tax. So instead of signing someone (or a couple guys) for $5+ million, it would double due to being over the luxury tax threshold. It's still possible they don't use all the MLE because of this.

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