Spurs Bench Report - 4/19/13

USA TODAY Sports

With the 2012-13 regular season now in the rear view mirror , it's time to take one last judgmental look at the Spurs' bench players and their individual performances over the previous seven days.

Reminder - grading is divided into the three categories of offense, defense and hustle. These three elements make 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. When healthy, Ginobili is not likely to depart this category in either direction.

Manu Ginobili

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Manu B+ B A B+






Ginobili only played 12 minutes in the regular season finale against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it was a well-played stint. Manu looked like he already had his legs underneath of him on both sides of the floor and made an immediate impact on the offensive end.

In the 2nd-quarter, Ginobili caught the ball at the free-throw line coming off a Matt Bonner screen at the near-elbow. Manu had three Minnesota defenders near him - Dante Cunningham who switched off Bonner to get in front of Manu, Alexey Shved who stayed on Manu's right (preventing pass out to Bonner on the perimeter), and Chris Johnson who was floating off Duncan on the far block. Ginobili gave a small hesitation as if he was going to bounce the ball out to Bonner, freezing both Cunningham and Johnson. Manu finished with a lightly contested layup. Roughly two minutes later, Manu showed off his passing skills by finding Tim Duncan running down the middle of the lane for an and-one layup.

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.

Boris Diaw

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Diaw N/A N/A N/A N/A






Boris Diaw had a synovial cyst excised from his lumbar spine on April 11th. Diaw is expected to miss roughly three to four weeks, meaning the Spurs will be without his services in the opening round of the NBA playoffs. Diaw was sitting with the team on April 12th and didn't appear to have any issues while walking.

DeJuan Blair

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Blair B- C- C+ C+






After spending most of the 2012-13 season in Coach Popovich's doghouse, DeJuan Blair has been fed a steady 20-minute diet of floor time due to Diaw's back surgery. Blair's best game this past week was against Sacramento - 6 points (3-4 FG), 5 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 great assist, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. Blair only played 13 minutes against the Lakers due to his stature. DeJuan tried his best but his long arms and quick hands couldn't close the gap on the height advantage held by Los Angeles. Blair managed to grab 4 boards but he picked up 3 quick fouls.

DeJuan received his longest run of the season of 31 minutes against the Golden State Warriors. Blair struggled in the paint but was able to show off his jumper (3-6 beyond 15 feet), something the 6'7" forward/center has been working on the past two seasons with assistant coach Chip Engelland. DeJuan only grabbed 5 boards in the game, but it's hard to grab rebounds when the opponent hits 54% from the floor and both Festus Ezeli and David Lee share a murderous desire to out-rebound everyone.

Matt Bonner

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Bonner A C- B- B-






Matt Bonner has been one of the few Spurs with a steady, positive performance on the offensive end. After a rough January and February, Matt Bonner's shooting percentage from beyond the arc has been at a hot 50% since March 1st. Bonner went 7 for 10 from the three-point range in the previous four games and 8 of 13 inside the arc. Matt has also protected the ball well with only two turnovers in his last 94 minutes of game time. Bonner does a pretty good job setting screens but he and the team benefit more when it's with a player who can get into the lane. The Spurs haven't had that luxury of late. Defensively, Bonner has done a good job using his body on help defense to create spacing issues but he still struggles one-on-one with the more skilled big men in the league.

Gary Neal

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Neal
A- D- C C






For the first time all season, Gary Neal has looked healthy and consistent on the floor. Neal is still struggling from the perimeter, shooting 36.8% over the past four games but his work inside the arc has been impressive (62.1%). Over the past week, Gary averaged 16 points (52 FG%), 3 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.5 turnovers. Gary Neal had a tough time in the second half against Golden State, turning the ball over numerous times (he was being double-teamed) and struggling to get to open spaces on the court.

Defensively, Gary Neal still makes poor decisions off screens and somehow ends up on the wrong side of the floor after the opponent moves the ball around the court.

Nando De Colo

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Decolo D C+ C- C






With a minimum of four attempts, De Colo hasn't recorded a game of 50% or better since March 29th (2-4 FG). Nando has been ice cold in his shooting for a better part of a month now and the opponent's reaction to this showed against Golden State. The Warriors let Nando take the looks from plus-15 feet out rather than allowing him to attack and create (his stronger offensive attributes). De Colo hit only 2 of his 8 attempts outside the paint against Golden State and, in his last four games, is an overall 2 of 15 from mid-range and three-point land combined. Nando did set a new season/career high in assists (9) against Golden State.

Out of the guards, De Colo was one of the better perimeter defenders this past week - fighting through screens and jumping the passing lanes. Nando nabbed 5 steals against the Warriors and was closer the "least guilty" end of spectrum when it came to blowing defensive rotations this past week.

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.

Cory Joseph

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Joseph C+ C B+ C+






Cory Joseph got the start against the Warriors and, as usual, managed the role. Joseph isn't the type of player to take over a game but he works well off screens and is excellent at finding his teammates when defenses shift position. Like Nando, Joseph's shooting has been cold (34.9% in April) but Cory did a solid job setting up the plays and making careful decisions with the ball. Joseph went 1 of 5 against the Timberwolves but his one make was off a fastbreak, where he wisely used his body to create space between him and the chase-down defender. Joseph also found Tim Duncan on a break with a no look pass in the lane.


Patty Mills

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Mills A- D- B+ C






Patty Mills scored a season high 23 points against the Golden State Warriors, going 5 for 8 beyond the arc and 9 of 16 overall. As fast as Mills was scoring, Stephen Curry and Warriors were scoring that much faster. Mills is a ball of energy and he gives it his all on defense, but his skill-set at this early point in his career is... minimal. Patty does have quick hands (quick everything) but he takes big gambles that rarely pay off.

Mills hit all three of his three-point attempts against the Minnesota Timberwolves but got smoked on the defensive end. In his 9 minutes of floor time, Mills was primarily matched up against J.J. Barea. The Puerto Rican guard had no issue blowing by the Aussie one-on-one or off screens.

Aron Baynes

Offense

Defense

Hustle

Overall

Baynes C- C+ C C-






The Australian big man showed both promise and his deficiencies in his extensive court time against the Golden State Warriors and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Baynes moves well without the ball, excels at setting screens, and is a good rebounder. Even though the man is the size of Olympus Mons, Baynes has quick, agile feet and it shows when he gets the ball down on the block. An offseason with the coaching staff, Tim Duncan, and (hopefully) Tiago Splitter should help Aron with his upper body mechanics in the post.

You could really see Baynes skill in setting screens the past few games, both physically (Chase Buddinger) and mentally. Aron did a great job using his body to prevent help defenders coming across to contest Spurs guards attacking the rim. Defensively, Baynes was generally in the right place at the right time but just couldn't get the results that he was working for (like the Harrison Barnes dunk).

Unlike the rest of Pounding the Rock, I typically don't get excited for the Spurs project players. However, I will be following Aron's progress over the summer as close as I can.

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

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