In the course of putting together the Get to Know Your New Spurs posts, I had to make some assumptions. Understandable, as no basketball had actually been played yet. But now, we're mostly through the preseason and those assumptions need to be revisited.
The Spurs have an interesting mix of old and new this year, and I'm not just talking about age. If you believe the lineups used during preseason, Pop has settled on a starting five. Except for the game in Pittsburgh, where everyone and their dog was playing MarioParty at Timmeh's house, the starting lineup has been Timmeh, Tony, Manu, DeJuan, and RJ. Which leads me to believe that Pop isn't going to rock the boat come games that count. (Yes, I know that when you "assume" you make an ass out of u and me, but at this point in my life, I'm okay with that.) So, with only two games left that doesn't matter, here's my assessment of what the roster that will be.
I'm grouping all the PFs and Cs together, because realistically it doesn't matter if anyone listed here is a PF or C (in my heart, Timmeh, you are always a PF and will always be the GOATPUFF.) At this point, we have 5 guys for the PF and C positions: Timmeh, Dice, Blair, Bonner and Tiago. The amazine part about this group is the ability to mix and match. Other than Bon-Bon (who should never, ever play the 5 hole), the rest of the big guys should be able to switch positions based upon who's on the court.
Tim Duncan - Yes, he's getting old, but Timmeh's still pulled a double-double in the last two preseason games. He's not dead yet, and opponents will underestimate him at their own peril. The only PF I'd put ahead of Duncan is Pau Gasol (and yes, that hurt to type).
Antonio McDyess - The resident old fart of the Spurs still has game. He may not play a lot of minutes during the season, but his jumper will come in handy during the playoffs. He's the perfect foil to Tiago, Timmeh and Blair. Veteran savvy at its best.
Matt Bonner - Matty is what he is - a stretch 4 who shouldn't ever play with Blair. I think Mr. Sandwich will mesh well with Mr. Splitter, adding to his impressive +/-, even though it might cause Fred's head to explode. Let's hope he actually comes through in the playoffs.
Tiago Splitter - Even though he hasn't played a lot (read: any) during preseason, Tiago is a true Center who should play well with others. As Splitter gets into the scheme of things, I see him anchoring the middle like D-Rob used to, at least on defense. Please don't disappoint me (or c_deck).
DeJuan Blair - The surprise of the preseason! DeBeast has shown some new shots in the arsenal (thanks Chip). He's even guarded Yao. We (PtR) discussed your possible sophomore year improvement, but no one envisioned this! Forgive our ignorance. The undersized brick has the ability to do whatever the hell he wants. Screw ACLs and the horse they rode in on!
Some of you might wonder why I made SF a separate entry - I'm hoping that RJ doesn't play any PF this year, as last year's small ball sucks. We don't need more small ball, although Anderson could play the 2 in a pinch.
Richard Jefferson - RJ, I love that you gave up portions of your summer to work with the coaches. I love that you're not content with your play last year. However, I'm at the Show Me stage of our relationship. Prove me wrong. Make me eat crow. That would make me happy.
James Anderson - You've done me proud. I won't have to shoot the naysayers with my Nerf Gun. You've made the team based upon your defensive effort and your ability to play the big(ger) 3rd guard. Now, stop deferring to the old farts and start shooting the darn ball! ORANGE POWER!
Bobby Simmons - Seriously, you're on the team due to your "veteran savvy". That's not a good thing. Stop eating the muffins, get into shape and help Mr. Anderson become a future All-Star. JV can tell you how it's done.
Tony Parker - The Blur is back. Tony wants to stay a Spur - I say we keep him. Not playing international ball did TP a world of good - he totally obliterated the Euros. All you need to do now is talk to Eva about a little TP, so that our Spurs in 20 years have a PG.
George Hill - This has been a down preseason for Georgeous. Regardless, Hill's place on the team is secure, and the female species breathes a unified sigh. But dude, you need to at least hit the corner pockets.
Manu Ginobili - Manu is Manu. Spending the summer changing diapers has been good for his legs. I can understand why Argentines wished he had played at the WC, but as a Spurs fan, I'm ecstatic that he's raring to go.
Gary Neal - Well, you've reinforced the gunner stereotype. Instant offense it is. And you've decided to play some D along the way. Towson is proud and welcome back stateside.
Garrett Temple- Smooth personified needs to get a kick in the rear. Temple has the ability to dominate two positions, but he needs to believe in himself first. Right now, Garrett, you're the HVC and that's not a good thing.
I hate to list these guys under "Others", but that's what they are. I don't anticipate RC and Pop keeping more than 13 players on the roster, especially considering the new D-League allocation rules.
I love Jerrells' aggressiveness, but he's not going to be the 4th PG. Gee's athleticism would be a boon, but unless he improves his jump shot, Pop is going to say No. Coo-zahn has some serious potential, and I see him as a possible 6th big. Use your time at the Toros to learn the system, big fella!. Sign the D-League contract and you'll be called up this year. The GIST I have no idea. Seriously. He has great energy and hustle, but doesn't seem to be on the Spurs radar. I don't blame him (or Jerrells) for chasing the Euros if they are cut from the Spurs. Update: The trade of Jerrells doesn't change my thoughts in any way, but we can all wish him well.
So, to summarize, this is where things stand:
PF: Timmeh (although he's probably the C on defense)
SG: The Sickness
PG: Wee Frenchman
(Still up in the air, but I'm giving it my best guess, so don't hold Pop's wine-influenced lineups against me.)
C:Tiago (still needs a nickname)
SG: The Nail
Obviously, Temple will play somewhere. I hope Simmons doesn't, but that might just be me. Tell me where I'm wrong in the comments, and I might acknowledge your brilliance (although not likely).