To start, tell me if this simple stat line seems familiar: 30 points and 5 assists. Instead of Magic or Stockton taking fewer than 10 shots, feeding the post, and handing out somewhere around 14-16 assists a game, you now have guards scoring 25 points a game while taking 25 shots as well. It’s a guard driven league like never before, and if there is one thing the Spurs have a lot of, it’s guard firepower.
Tony Parker ht 6-2 | Last season 17.5 pts 6.6 ast 1.2 stls (52% fg) in 32 mins a game. PLAYOFFS 19.7 pts 5.2 ast in 37 mins a game.
Looking at Parker’s numbers, its pretty apparent he had a solid season. He scored in the high teens while shooting a very good percentage from the field. He also looked to get out in transition more by playing the passing lanes which resulted in him getting over a steal a game. As for the playoffs, overall he had better numbers in scoring and a slight drop in assists. By digging deeper we see some real issues though. Scoring 19 points a game is good, but shooting 46% from the field isn’t, especially if it was significantly higher during the regular season. Five assists a game isn’t bad, but 3.3 turnovers a game is. His opposite (Mike Conley) did a much better job of running the Grizzlies offense with higher assists (6.1) and lower turnovers (2.1). It is important that Parker once again go to work on his midrange jumpshot.
Manu Ginobili ht 6-6 | Last season 17.4 pts 4.9 ast and 1.5 stls in 30 mins a game. PLAYOFFS 20.6 pts 4.2 ast and 2.1 stls in 35 mins a game.
Manu Ginobili – a legend amongst Spurs faithful. Unbelievable as it may seem, Manu Ginobili played with a banged up arm (fractured to be exact) and still led the Spurs in scoring during the playoffs. Ginobili is not the same guy he was in the 2005 playoffs, or even the 2008 regular season. He shoots a lot of 3′s and no longer tries to go one on three during fast breaks. He is still just as effective though. His assist numbers have climbed, and he has become a great facilitator. He also still shows brilliance at the end of games. Manu was able to score in the playoffs despite having to deal with a physical, trash-talking defender in Tony Allen and behind him Shane Battier. Unfortunately, one thing that has stayed the same is that he is injury prone at the wrong time. 2011 playoffs (fractured arm), 2010 playoffs (broken nose), 2009 and 2008 playoffs (bad ankle).
Gary Neal ht 6-4 | Last season 9.8 pts (42% 3pt fg) in 21 mins a game. PLAYOFFS 7.7 pts (26% 3pt fg) in 19 mins a game.
Gary Neal – a nobody that the Spurs signed. That nobody turned out to be one of the purest scorers/shooters the Spurs had last season. Neal had no conscience while launching and hitting from everywhere on the court. The playoffs were different though, and he – like many of the Spurs shooters – couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Neal can produce off the bench with no problems, and has no confidence issues like a few other Spurs on the team.
James Anderson ht 6-6 | Last season 3.6 pts (39% 3pt fg) in 11 mins a game.
Anderson was supposed to be the Spurs back up shooting guard, however an injury sidelined him a few games into the season. That, plus the emergence of Neal, put him on the bench most of the time. Anderson has good size, is young, can obviously shoot, and can also play decent defense.
ANALYSIS: The Spurs have one of the best guard combinations in the league and can score a lot from both guard positions. However, the last team that won a championship with their guards being the main source of offense was the 89′ and 90′ Detroit Pistons (Thomas/Dumars/V Johnson). Is there a difference between them and the Spurs of today? Yes, their big men. Each big man of the Pistons brought either rebounding, defense, athleticism and/or toughness (in the paint especially). We know what Duncan brings, but Blair, McDyess, and Bonner don’t equal Laimbeer, Rodman, and Mahorn. The Spurs do have a nice guard combo, but in order to win the title the Spurs are going to need more balance offensively and not rely on their guards so much. Next week we will look at the Spurs roster/system overall and how they may fare this coming season.
Date: September 12, 2011