Spurs Bench Report Card - 3/22/13

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

In the 82-game grind that is the NBA season, both health and depth are paramount for plans beyond the month of April. Much to their delight, the San Antonio Spurs have only played two games, both at home, since last Friday. Players are looking healthier and the team's play is looking like it's finally starting to get out of the mud.

You wanted it (maybe) and you got it! The third week of the Spurs Bench Report Card. The Spurs had quite a few days to catch their breath and free themselves from the muck of mediocre play. Some big dogs are on the horizon and the Spurs need every player firing on all cylinders. So let's take a look at how San Antonio's bench did over the last seven days.

Reminder - grading is divided into the three categories of offense, defense and hustle. These three elements makes up the overall score. The scores handed out are also relative to the player's role/position on the team, which is why the following scores are broken into three groups.

  • Offense is scored on direct/indirect production, efficiency, clutch shots, and game management.
  • Defense is scored on how the player handles their assignment, team defense, defensive rebounds, and of course their production on steals and blocks.
  • Hustle is based on the player's activity/energy on both ends, play on 50/50 balls, rebounding overall (including boxing out), and causing turnovers.

The 6th Man

The big gun off the bench. Ginobili is not likely to depart this category... in either direction.

Manu Ginobili

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Manu A- C A B+






Manu Ginobili finally had one of his better weeks again in what has been a rather turbulent season for the 35 year old Argentinian. In the last two games, Ginobili has put up 30 points and dished out 17 assists with the only offensive counterbalance being a 9 of 27 shooting performance and 7 turnovers. Manu's body appears to be finally catching up to the guard's aggressiveness, easing the frustration that has been governing Manu's mindset.

Defensively, Ginobili still looks a step slow but that isn't surprising considering the youth, athleticism, and speed he has to deal with out on the edge. Manu hasn't been floating of his assignment nearly as much as he's been doing this season. Hopefully because he finally realizes he no longer has the quickness to get back to his man after the ball moves. Manu has been in desperate need to get out of his habit of wanting to be everywhere and doing everything all at once.



The Regular Rotation

The regular rotation features the primary role players in the Spurs offense and roughly 13-20 minutes per game in some type of consistency.

Gary Neal

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Neal
N/A N/A N/A N/A






Gary Neal has been getting more rest to ease the pain in his left knee (tendinitis) and left foot (plantar fasciitis). The recent scheduling should play in Gary's favor and we should see Neal later tonight against the Jazz and the next two games. But don't expect too much court time for Neal during the upcoming four-games-in-five nights traffic jam that starts next Sunday against the Miami Heat.

Boris Diaw

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Diaw B- C+ B B-






Boris pulled down five boards against the Cavaliers in 23 minutes and I would be impressed if it was any other team than Cleveland. Still, I jump on Diaw about his inefficiencies on the glass (which is like getting made at Tony Parker for not being a prolific shot blocker) so any number higher than "2" is a welcomed addition to the stat sheet.

Offensively, Boris is still scoring low but efficient numbers, living off getting to the rim for the dump-off passes. Diaw was 6-10 from the floor in his last two games and only one of those makes was something other than a layup. Boris may not end up with numerous assists but his ability to move the ball quickly and cleanly (rarely turns it over) in set plays is under-valued.

Sure, he isn't Mutombo-ing opponents or shutting down production on the outside but Diaw has done a decent job edging the passing lanes (3 steals in last 2 games) and limiting position down in the block. Unfortunately, Diaw's help defense (and awareness on the rotation) quickly steamrolled him when the opponent's game picked up.

Stephen Jackson

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Jax D+ D A- C-






Stephen Jackson's defense has suffered through most of March and the past week was again evidence of that. Captain Jack is still as tough and aggressive as ever but his lateral movement has been undermining him out on the perimeter. I dropped Stephen all the way down to a 'D' on defense just because Richard Jefferson blew by him with ease. Richard. Jefferson.

Jackson shot 3 of 12 from three and 5 of 17 overall in the last two games, continuing his terrible (and career low) shooting season.

DeJuan Blair

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Blair C C- C- C-






DeJuan was only able to get just under 7 minutes of court time early on in the Cleveland-San Antonio scrum. In that span, the Cavaliers went on a 23-12 run but Blair wasn't the primary reason the Cavaliers went supernova or why the Spurs offense struggled against a statistically poor defense.

DeJuan scored 2 points on one of his two attempts inside and contributed to 4 points with 2 assists ending in Boris Diaw layups. Blair failed to grab one rebound and was unable to offer any real resistance in defending the rim (Cavaliers scored 6 points on 4 attempts inside). There was some decent help defense but that was basically it.

Matt Bonner

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Bonner B C+ C C+






Like Blair, Bonner saw a limited amount of floor time in one game. Against Golden State, Bonner hit both of his three-point attempts in a 38-25 second quarter dominated by the Spurs. In essence, the Red Mamba did what is expected of him - stretch the floor and hit the deep shot.

When Bonner was in the game, the Warriors struggled a bit to get the ball inside but credit for that is due else where. The Warriors offensive focus is long range and Bonner's defensive presence was little noticed until David Lee got to the rim. Basically, Matt didn't wet the bed on defense and, really, that's the most we can ask of him.

Cory Joseph

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Joseph B+ B B+ B+






Joseph had some of his better defensive games since his return to the Spurs roster. Joseph kept Shaun Livingston in check (Shaun scored the bulk of his points against De Colo and Neal) and, despite losing Stephen Curry a few times, played solid defense against the Warriors.

Joseph is only playing limited minutes as a starter (typically under 20) and is generally the last scoring option but the second-year man is making the most of it. In just 18 minutes against Cleveland, Cory scored 7 points on 3-4 shooting and contributed to 6 more points on 3 assists. One of those assists was a leading bounce pass out of a drive from the free throw line to a fast-moving Manu Ginobili from out on the wing. Ginobili finished with a Euro-step dunk.

The steal to start the Cleveland game was Cory's only turnover in the past two games. Joseph doesn't have too many responsibilities on offense but he excels at keeping the rock safe.



The Victory Cigars

These are the guys we demand to see more off because they rarely get to play and whose talent generally gets subjected to meme treatment and/or overblown to mythical proportions.

Patty Mills

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Mills N/A N/A N/A N/A






By coach's decision, Patty Mills did not play in either game therefore he does not receive a grade. I don't have a section for towel waving, in which he would get a gold star.

Nando De Colo

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Decolo A B- A+ A-






After seeing his minutes reduced to nothing, Nando De Colo played 24 minutes against Cleveland and 25 minutes against Golden State. In total, Nando scored 21 points on 75% shooting (including 3 of 4 from deep), grabbed 7 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, and only 1 turnover.

De Colo was hyper-aggressive on both ends of the floor against Golden State, creating turnovers for the Warriors and contact to get himself to get to the line. Nando's defensive effort against the Warriors was a nice bounce back after getting handled by the Cavaliers' Shaun Livingston. Unlike Tony Parker, De Colo has no issue going against the veteran Jarrett Jack. This would be a nice bench match-up if the Warriors and the Spurs should happen to meet in the playoffs.

Aron Baynes

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Baynes N/A N/A N/A N/A






Aron Baynes recently spent some time with the Spurs D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros. Baynes was called back up in time for Wednesday's game against the Warriors but did not see any floor time. I'm not sure why the Spurs called him back up so soon.

Follow Aaron on Twitter at @DukeOfBexar for more Spurs news, notes, quotes, and opinions.

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