Stampler Says Hello From The Grave

Yeah, I know, I stopped writing, didn't tell anyone, didn't say good bye, I just quit, I suck, I suck, I suck. Mea Culpa my friends, mea culpa.

What can I say? Nothing. Which is why I left. I literally had nothing left to say. The Spurs playoff games were just terribly depressing to watch. I actually felt sorry for Tony out there, and I've never felt sorry for him before. Going out like that, in five games, to a mediocre Mavs team who themselves got their asses handed to them in the next round...

Well I don't want to say I told you so, but... you better believe I feel vindicated. Not that I wanted to be right necessarily. After all, I would've preffered to lose to ANYONE than the Mavs, but really I just wanted the season to end as soon as possible. It was just so damn frustrating watching them play without Manu, knowing they had no chance. It was just miserable. I was just sick and tired of it.

Now that we've had some time to reflect on it, I think we can make some definitive conclusions about the Spurs and the season.

1. Not only were the Spurs the worst Western Conference playoff team without Ginobili, regardless of their seed, but they lost in five games to the second worst team.

Who would've won a series between New Orleans and the Mavericks? Well, I'm sure lots of people would pick Dallas because they at least had a few close games with the Nuggets and never got blown out by 50 points or whatever, plus their guys seem to actually like their coach, unlike the NOOCH. However, New Orleans did beat Dallas in the playoffs handily the year before and CP3 would've been a nightmare match-up for Kidd. I think the Hornets would've taken that series.

2. Even with Manu, this team wasn't going to win squat.

Last year's playoff injury to Ginobili hurt a lot more than this year. The '08 team was neck-and-neck with the Lakers and I think a healthy Manu, especially at the level he was playing most of the season would've made the difference. This year the rest of the supporting cast was so old and decrepit that I'm not sure an '05 playoff Manu, an '03 playoff Duncan and an '09 playoff Tony could've propelled the rest of that sorry outfit to the title. They would've beaten Dallas, for sure, but getting by Denver would've been a dogfight and they would have nothing left for the Lakers.

3. George Hill was ready.

Am I crazy or was the kid one of our best players against the Mavs? He certainly didn't look intimidated or confused or soft out there. Definitely can't say that about some our grizzled veterans. Pop screwed up big time not playing him sooner.

4. Pop has lost his fastball.

I don't know how anyone can deny this anymore. He has become a caricature of himself and has taken his reluctance to play young, athletic players to absurd lengths. He ruined Mason for the season by making him the backup point guard. He was never the same after that. And now I think we can safely say that the Gooden acquisition ruined Bonner, as I feared it would. I'm not defending Matt. He was terrible and might need to find a new team. But it's undeniable that looking over his shoulder changed him for the worse. The guy's confidence is so damn fragile. Pop also should've played Bruce way more and Finley way less throughout the season.

Maybe he should pull a Pat Riley, retire to the front office and give the reigns to a younger assistant like Budenholzer who would have more patience with young players.

5. Even with a healthy Manu, this team can't contend if they don't find a decent small forward and either get something out of Mahinmi or find an athletic young big.

Pop only likes old guys, so could the Warriors make crazy ass Stephen Jackson available? They're going young anyway. Nachbar played in Europe last year and I think he's out there as a free agent. He'd be a nice rotation guy. Portland might have to give up Fernandez or Batum. People are out there and our front office better be looking. I want the roster to be dramatically different next year, but I realize it's most likely wishful thinking.

Anyway, that's all I feel like writing about the Spurs until I see some transaction cross the wire. I may lurk here from time to time and maybe even comment on something if it's interesting, but I don't know if/when I'm gonna write for PtR again. I don't want to say anything definitive and then let people down if I don't follow through with it or change my mind.

I have joined the prestigious Twitteratti recently and anyone and everyone is welcome to contact me there at twitter.com/aaronstampler

Have a nice summer everyone

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