Nice win today against Atlanta, though the biggest difference from the previous game against Chicago was that the Hawks did not go out of their minds and did not shoot above 70% for the most of the first half. As the result they (Hawks) were down 22 at the half instead of being +2 as the Bulls. Anyway, a win is a win, and we'll take a solid win against a good team any day. Now at least a three-game losing at home is over and we can look at what we have seen from the Spurs so far this season.
Ugly. I'll start from ugly, so it would be better at the end.
1) Start of the season. it was ugly, but the Spurs are traditionally bad coming out of the gate, so it's not a big deal
2) Utah games. I hope we don't play Utah again this season. I don't want to see them owning Spurs anymore. 4 worst games of the season that I've seen (I watched most of them, but not against the Bobcats, which might have been worse).
3) RJ contract. Yes, it is one ugly contract, and the guy doesn't deserve to be paid as much for his mediocre play. On the other hand, it's not my money, and I appreciate FO for taking some risks. So we may as well stop whining about this contract.
4) Manu rumors. First there is was a rumor that Manu is all but gone this summer. Then there was a rumor that Manu is going to be traded for Stoudemare. I happen to believe that Tim, Pop and Manu are the soul of the Spurs. All these guys are the legends, and they deserve to retire together as Spurs. In fact, I'd like to publish the list of Spurs untouchables, in rough order: 1) Timmeh; 2) Manu; 3) Pop; 4) Cubits; 5) Blaaaair; 6) Splitter's rights; 7) Frenchie. The first three guys are the soul of this team. The next three are the future. And #7 is a star. You don't trade your soul and you don't trade your future. You only may trade your star for another, bigger, star. All other players are your assets, which you trade as you need.
1) Defense. Bad or non-existent way too often.
2) Mojo. Coming back in tough games was almost non-existing, in sharp contrast with the Lakers and the Cavs, who were coming back multiple times this season on the backs of Kobe and LeBron.
3) Losing. Not too ugly except for Utah games. Just too much of it.
4) RJ play and SF position. We hoped that we were getting a star, but instead just got another inconsistent role player. Even worse, we do not have another SF behind RJ. Getting some defensive-minded #3 should be a priority for FO. If we cannot bring Batler or Sefolosha through a trade, may be we could un-retire Bowen. We could use 10-15 minutes of Bruce in many nights.
5) Parker's ankles and Bonner's wrist. Tony was wildly inconsistent, presumably because of nagging injures. We need him at 100% to have chances against elite teams in the playoffs. Bonner was solid contributor for many nights before his injury, and have been awful after coming back. While his role is limited, we still need his 3-pointers to fall if we want to beat good teams.
1) Timmeh. Timmy is a legit all-star and I rank him as one of the two best big men in the West so far this season (another is Dirk). He was good last season, and he is better this season. And we thought he was getting old.
2) Youngsters. Hill and Blair both play beyond the expectations. Even Yawn showed some glimpses of brilliance.
3) Bench. We have the best bench in the NBA, which is consistently outplay the opposition. It means several good things: we can rest our stars more; we can play back-to-backs better; we can exploit different match ups; we can play faster, more athletic teams without looking old and tired like last year.
4) Staying in the games. Even though we lose a lot, we are not getting blown out like last year. We beat some teams quite soundly, but when we lose, we usually lose close games. It feels very different from last year, when we would win some close games and then would get beaten badly next evening.
5) Manu show. Manu had a lot of remarkable moments, from hitting a bat to passing for a winning shot while in free fall. His presence makes games much more entertaining and brings a lot of energy to the team. As much as we need Tim's consistent perfection, we also need Manu's energy and flashes of brilliance.
It was a bumpy road so far, but it's still too early for the verdict. This team can play, but it's not clear yet, if it can play good enough. We'll see ...