FanPost

Odd Man Out?

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Odd Man Out?

Most of the focus this training camp has been directed to the Spurs new comber bigs in camp. With Curry, Powell, Brown being the main focus in trying to answer the Spurs need of another low post presence that could help the team this season. It’s no surprise that’s where the focus by most fans has migrated.

But what do the Spurs do about the bevy of talented perimeter (namely 2G’s and PG’s) they have on their roster? Surely the Spurs don’t (can’t) adequately use all in meaningful minutes right?

The Spurs currently have Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Gary Neal, Nando De Colo, Patrick Mills, and Corey Joseph. If the Spurs keep all on the active roster…that’s 50% of your teams roster. Contention…either via trade or D-league participation the Spurs must thin out its guard roster to support a better rounded cast for the team.

Who’s making the better statement this pre-season to make the team? Well this is easily narrowed down knowing Parker, Ginobili, and Green as the teams main stays in that department. So that leaves De Colo, Mills, Joseph and Neal.

Gary Neal

Let me say…I am a HUGE fan of Gary Neal. I have a soft spot in my heart for a player who’s made it and succeeded in clawing their way from undrafted out of college to the ranks of prominent role player for the team. His half court ability to knock down big shot after big shot and toughness has more than earned respect and notoriety in the league. Defensively…Gary is not one of the best…but he’s not a slouch when playing tough defense. Often taking charges when others would cringe at the thought of getting bowled over. He’s improved his passing skills over the past two seasons in part to having to play a position not becoming to his strengths last season. But Gary is in a quandary. Where as before this new season…Gary was hands down the go to candidate for making the roster…the Spurs have out done themselves in selecting other candidates for his once secure position.

Patrick Mills

Late acquisition to the Spurs last season, Mills showed glimpses in brief stints of why he was a good choice to join the team. A feisty competitor with a vicious three point stroke, Mills may remind some of a well known cartoon character. Tasmanian Devil anyone? Mills in the Olympics validated his belonging in the NBA. He’s not going to provide many assists though one could contend he has the tools to improve in that aspect. Mills is active on defense. Not a lock down defender, but tenacious enough to be bothersome for opponents. He also has exhibited a knack for being able to bring the ball up court at a pace that benefits the Spurs style of offense. Neal just doesn’t have the same qualities and skill set to match what Mills provides in that area of PG so Neal just may be moved back to his natural 2G position which may be a better thing for Neal positionally…but as far as depth in that position just may leave Neal without as many minutes as once played. Unfortunately Mills suffered an injury set back to participating actively this pre-season. It might not make a difference if the coaches believe he’s capable of making the team even though he can’t play much this pre-season. But it just might be his downfall this training camp to being elevated higher on the depth chart.

Nando De Colo

From the beginning I viewed De Colo as a Toro kind of guy. New to the NBA and though active, not as prominent for his native team France playing behind Tony Parker. De Colo reminded me of the typical European brought over just to see if he will pan out. And though comparisons in skill set when he first was drafted was that to Manu Ginobili, there just wasn’t quite enough evidence he could transform those skills to the NBA. Well…SURPRISE…De Colo has thus far exhibited (with the exception of individual defense) amazing adjustment to the NBA and quantified similarities to a young Manu Ginobili. Will experience in the league elevate his game even more? He’s been too intriguing so far to just trade would you think?

Corey Joseph

I had hopes for Joseph based on the Spurs always being able to find in the draft a quality player. Then hopes diminished a bit seeing Joseph not able to elevate his game to NBA readiness. (Possibly an unfair judgement call being Joseph was so young...but none the less I expected more as a first round pick to just be a Toro regular.) I thought the Spurs may have made a mistake. But Joseph has shined in his outings this pre-season including a great summer league participation. Joseph has improved in his ability to attack the basket. Where once he was tentative, he now is aggressive. He sees the court better and has found a way to fit into the flow of the game. His defense is bar none the best out of the four remaining guards in discussion and would be a boost in the Spurs perimeter defense scheme. Cory is evolving. He’s young and apparently trainable. Both attributes being a positive in Spur’s culture. Will he become good enough to not question or doubt to being a future player for the team? He’s improved enough over last year to think maybe the Spurs didn’t make a mistake in drafting him.

So. There you have it. Plenty to ponder. And not an easy decision via fan or Spurs coaching staff to make in who to keep. I wish all good luck regardless of the final outcome and hope that if one or several go to another team they don’t come back and bite the Spurs in the rear extremities. In the least, I would hope for a quality player in return in a position the Spurs need if any are traded.

Odd Man Out? Well they’re certainly not odd players. Just good, talented, and from what we know so far…quality characters. But the numbers just don’t add up to keeping them all.




This is fan-created content on PoundingtheRock.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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