I'm not going to try and guess whether or not the Spurs are about to turn any kind of corner. We just lost 3 of our last 4 games and this after winning 9 of 11. There is no logic, rhyme or reason to predicting the Spurs this season. Just as is the case with the unpredictability of the Spurs wins/losses so is the Spurs rotation. Injuries and players' age have played a part in Pops erratic rotations but really I think he has too many players worth getting minutes than he knows what to do. To me Pop is the best coach in the league; I'm not about to tell what I think he should do from here on out with the rotation but what I'd do with the log jam we're about to have at the 2 spot when Michael Finley returns.
I really believe Pop is taking extra time in re-activating Finley because there are not enough minutes to go around. Hill, Mason, Bogans, Manu and Finley all play their best at shooting guard and all of them have been averaging plenty of minutes this season.
George Hill- 24 mpg
Roger Mason- 20 mpg
Keith Bogans- 20 mpg
Manu Ginobili- 26 mpg
Michael Finley- 18 mpg
That is 108 minutes mpg by players who all share the same position. Now, Hill is naturally going to be playing a lot of his minutes as Tonys back up which this season equates to about 16 minutes. And 16 more of those 108 mintues are also being played by any one of those 5 backing up RJ while he rests. Still those things considered there are 76 minutes being shared by SG's. Ugh.
Who to play? As I said Hill probably gets all of Tonys back up minutes which leaves him with 8 minutes of play at SG and I don't think there will be much argument that he deserves those minutes. Manu's 26 minutes are a lock too and in fact will probably go up in time. So far we have 34 minutes accounted for at the SG spot and now comes the tricky part. Mason, Bogans and Finley account for 58 minutes but remember we need to consider the 16 minutes being played at SF so that leaves us with 42 minutes. 42 minutes between three guys where only 14 minutes exist.
The case for Mason. Last year he showed he is an ELITE long range shooter. This year he started slow but since Finley went down his stroke has been pure. Probably because his playing time has been more consistent. Also he's clutch with a capital C. I think he had 3 or 4 game winners last year. Lakers, Clips, Celtics and I feel like I'm forgetting one. Suns? On defense he's decent. Nothing great but he doesn't get abused either.
The case for Bogans. 3 and D. He fits this so long as his 3-pointers are falling which they have for most of the year (38%). His defense doesn't make any highlights because he doesn't have amazing weak side blocks or gamble for steals. He's just a steady diet of boring sound fundamental play, sounds like a Spur to me.
The case for Finley. It seems as though making a case for FinPero would be tough. His haters will mostly point out that he's old. So what? He still gets the job done. With Manu driving and dishing to someone for an open three game winner there is no one on the Spurs roster I'd rather have taking the shot than Finley. Unless Manu passes to himself which he might just do (again). And Finley has the most "corporate knowledge" of the three. He's not great on defense but it gets overblown again because of his age. He could play on ball D like Georgie and some of us would still be all over him like "ahh he shoulda' had 8 steals on Kobe!"
Is small ball the answer? Playing a full court trap defense seems to work in spurts. It disrupts a teams offensive flow and negates a teams size advantage because they get forced into an up and down game. But over the long haul this type of play lends itself to more cons than pros.
A trade brewing? I don't know. I don't see other teams wanting any of our players outside of the Big 3 except for Hill and trading him would be crazy. If we Gasol'd someone into taking Bonner plus Mason, Finley or Bogans for a legit center then I'd be for it but I doubt it. I think we're going to war with these soldiers.
Moving forward. With Bonner back small ball should be gone. Bonner stretches opposing defenses just the same as an extra guard. So I think Bogans is the odd man out. He's too small to get any minutes backing up Jefferson, all of those minutes by default should go to Finley when he returns. After George and Manu the remaining 14 minutes or so at SG should go to Mason. He knows the system, plays decent defense and can be relied on in pressure situations. There is no sense in splitting time between all three of them because no one develops a rhythm that way.