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Offseason: Step 1 - The Draft

We went in with picks 26, 45, and 57.  We came out with George Hill, Malik Hairston, James Gist, the Warriors 2nd round pick next year, and some cash.  The George Hill pick threw me for a loop.  It put me on the haterwagon.  I don't even know what to say about it.  But, HMMMMPPPPPHHHHHH! comes to mind.  For the sake of my sanity, I'm going to assume that maybe the Spurs front office knows more about evaluating college basketball players and international players than somebody who has never seen them.  Me.

In my "Let's bring on the OffSeason" post I identified what I consider the Spurs main needs:

  1.  A big who can bang.
  2.  A big who can spread the floor and play a modicum of athletic defense.
  3.  A fourth player who can create off the dribble.
  4.  A player who can bury the 3-ball and play just a little defense.
  5.  A player who we can run post offense through.
  6.  A wing to play shutdown defense.
  7.  A backup point guard.

Whether you agree on the ordering of the needs or not, I think most of us can get on board with this being a good wish list at the least.  So, let's evaluate the draft for what needs we MAY have filled.

  1. Gist would be the only candidate.  When I said a big who can bang I didn't have the 57th pick in the draft in mind.  So, I'm saying "no" we didn't fill this need.
  2. No.
  3. Here's where George Hill comes into play.  I have read that he is a classic combo guard.  Which translates into "short shooting guard playing point guard".  I think this was the role the Spurs are hoping to fill with Hill.
  4. Hairston maybe, I guess.  Anyway, I can guess they are hoping for this from him.
  5. No.
  6. No.
  7. Hill again, maybe.


So, I'm saying we have a chance of filling a couple needs.  At least, I think that is what the front office was targeting.  Whether there were other guys other people think would have been better I have to honestly admit that I'm in no position to judge.  Time will judge us all.  Just hope you don't wake up with Leonard Smalls on your trail.

Anyway, we now move to the next part of the offseason.  Free agency baby. 

A couple thoughts:
SpurChief mentioned in my other OffSeason post that the Spurs had a fair number of valuable contracts about to expire commodities.  I thought, hell yeah.  Then I looked.  We don't.  We have The JV and Umadoka.  Totalling 2.2 mill.

We do, however, have very tradeable contracts in Bonner and Oberto who both expire in 2010.  As well as Bowen and Ginobili.  Parker and Duncan are the only contracts that are definitely on the books after 2010.  Which, I believe, is the year LeBron hits free agency.  I believe many teams will be looking to clear cap room for that year.  I think the Spurs should seriously look to take on a longer term contract sometime during the next year from one of the teams holding a fire sale.  We might be able to get somebody for pennies on the dollar.  That's my theory anyway.  I think it will be a buyers market.  So, keep that in the back of your mind.

NOTE:  The following analysis is for players currently under contract for next year.

Tim and Tony will play 34-35 minutes per game.  Manu will be just under 30.  Manu hit a high of 31 this year, but I expect it to drop back down.  Tim and Tony have been between 32-35 for the last few years.

  • Fab was 20 this past year, 17 the year before.  I expect him to stay at 20.
  • Bruce has played 30/game the last two years.  Again, I expect him to get about 10 more minutes per game than Powell would like to see him have.
  • Brent Barry has been about 20 the last two years, 18 and 21, so I expect that to be his limit.  Because, you know, he is also going to be 37 next year.  And anybody under 6'8" and that fricking old shouldn't be playing that much.  Right Powell?  Right!
  • The JV played 15 a game this year.  Up from 12 in 2007.  I would like to see him back down around 12.
  • Ime played 18 minutes per game this year.  But, if you look at his monthly splits, he was up to 23 and 24 in March and April respectively.  So, I expect him to be just over 20 for next year.
  • Bonner ended the year at 12 per game but he completely dropped out of the Spurs rotation the last couple months.  He played 3.7 minutes per game in February.  9 in March and 10 in April and only played in 2 games in the playoffs for a total of 9 minutes.  I don't know what to make of him.
  • I don't know how much we will get from Ian.  But I figure we can at least count on him to get Elson's 13 per game.
  • George Hill:  ?


Summary:
Tim:    34
Tony:   34
Manu:   30
Fab:    20
Bruce:    30
Brent:    20
The JV:    12
Ime:    20
Bonner:    5
Ian:    12
Hill:   ?

Total:  That's 217 minutes per game.

We have to get to 240 minutes per game to field a 5 players for a game.  So, we are looking to add 23 minutes per game plus injuries.  So, if the Spurs have one player hurt every other game we are looking at an additional 1600 minutes (40 games * 40 minutes).  1600/80 = 20 minutes per game.  Since I totally pulled these numbers out of my ass, let's just say we need about 40 minutes per game (23 + 20) still.

Minutes by position:
Bigs (total of 96):  34 + 20 + 5 + 12 = 71
Wings (total of 96):  30 + 30 + 20 + 20 = 100
Points (48):  34 + 12 + ? = 46

This tells me we really need to find somebody to play productive minutes on the front line.  We don't have a ton of wing minutes except or point minutes availabe.  NOTE:  The wing minutes are misleading because Brent missed so many games.  We also need a couple players to cover for injuries.  If we get injuries on the front line, we are in deeper shit.  Plus, a fair number of "Bigs" minutes end up being used by "Wings" when we play small ball.

Here are my targets for free agency.  We have to sign 2 players and can sign up to 4:
1.  Kurt Thomas - he's the most important guy to solidify our front line.  He's going to give us a solid 15 per game.  I think we will get diminishing returns from Kurt if he is playing more than 15 minutes per game.  It will be  a red flag for me next year if Kurt is in the 20's.  Of course, Kurt is taller than 6' 8" so the fact that he will be 36 is irrelevant.
2.  Some productive wing player.  Like maybe FinDog!!  Just joking.  I don't care who we sign, but we need somebody that is going to give us a solid 20 minutes per game on the wing.
3.  Another big.  Sure Bonner can play more minutes, but we are T-H-I-N thin with just Tim, Fab, Bon-bon, Ian, and KT (if we sign KT)
4.  With the drafting of George Hill, I don't think the Spurs are going to sign a free agent point guard.  The minutes just aren't there.  Unless the plan is to play Hill in Austin for a year.
5.  Another wing.

So, I predict the Spurs sign 2 bigs and 1 wing in July leaving 1 roster spot open for the two second round picks and whatever other player may stumble along.  I'm going to guess we sign KT and Finley.  I'm not thrilled about it, but I think that is what they will do.  I have no idea who the third player will be.  Since the Spurs don't ask my advice on who to sign, they may go with another wing.  Either way, I will bet that it is somebody we get a good deal on.  Meaning, we won't out bid another team for someone.

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