It’s about freaking time. On the one hand, I am stoked that the Spurs signed Manu to an extension, but the Devil’s Advocate in me is a little perturbed that they waited so long that they had to shell out $39 million to keep him in San Antonio. Then again, with the way he has been playing over the past few months, they may have still gotten off cheap.
Now, with Manu locked up and RJ playing at a higher level again – and consistently I might add – we just need the rest of the team to get healthy. Tim Duncan has been a rock this season, and the Spurs should have George Hill and Tony Parker both in uniform by the time the playoffs start. Tony hasn’t been starting, but Garrett Temple is doing a decent job in place of both Parker and Hill. Temple got his first startagainst Sacramento and again in Phoenix and has averaged 13 points, 2.5 rebounds, two assists, and .5 steals per game. He also is shooting 9-of-17 from the floor. He has proven to be a savvy pickup by the Spurs, especially in light of their point guard injury woes this season.
Some good has actually come out of George Hill’s injury. First off, as I just noted, Temple is getting some nice minutes and is looking like a solid player that the Spurs could conceivably hang on to – and possibly move the inconsistent Roger Mason. Second, there was already some concern about how Coach Popovich was going to arrange the starting unit once Tony returned. With Hill sidelined, Parker can work his way back into his old spot without Hill simply being “demoted”. No harm no foul. Now that RJ and Manu are playing well together as starters, that really only leaves the center position as a weak link. Antonio McDyess has been ok, Matt Bonner has been able to come off the bench and knock down some big shots and get to the glass more, plus DeJuan Blair adds some energy and great offensive rebounding, so that may not be so weak of a link. I think the Spurs are coming around now and should be considered a legitimate threat in the West, if not the entire league.
The Spurs play Memphis today, and hopefully have a little more swag than they did against Phoenix the other night. If the Grizzlies start Thabeet then I hope DeJuan Blair gets the start just so we can watch Thabeet get abused again. DeJuan Blair may really rip his arm off this time.