With the Spurs roster currently at 14, there seems to be a glaring hole at back-up SF. How did we get here and where do we go from here?
Last year, the back-up SF spot was manned unhappily (and quite poorly, actually) by Stephen Jackson. The Spurs frequently skipped over Jackson and went to three guard lineups with Danny Green or Manu Ginobili along with two smaller guards (Neal, Parker, CoJo, De Colo). Jackson's surliness at being frequently passed over in the rotation led to his release.
Just before the playoffs, the Spurs picked up Tracy McGrady, most recently playing in China, as an insurance policy. T-Mac did little on the court, but inspired a wave of enthusiasm among Spurs fans, including me. Now, most have assumed T-Mac will not return for the 2013-14 season.
The Spurs drafted Big 10 First-Teamer and scoring forward Deshaun Thomas from Ohio St. in the second round. Although he has potential, Thomas' noted deficiencies on defense are a one-way ticket to Pop's dog house. We figure Thomas spends most of the year in Austin.
As Woj has reported, the Spurs interest in SF Andrei Kirilenko has apparently come to naught. Getting the long, aggressive, and versatile Kirilenko would have required an investment of about $8 million a year over 3-4 years, and some sign-trade finagling, but his skill-set would seem to be a great fit.
Over the past few days, we've learned that the Lakers plan to use the amnesty provision on their starting SF, Metta World Peace (nee Ron Artest). I, for one, am intrigued at the possibility of World Peace in a Spurs uniform.
We all know Metta is not the All-NBA defender he once was, but could he fill the role of veteran back-up SF that we need for a few minutes a game? I think so. His toughness, craziness, and championship experience would all be welcome. I'm not worried about the locker room impact: Metta is a noted admirer of Coach Pop (see here). Before the Spurs can get a crack at him, however, he has to go through a bidding process where teams under the cap can claim him first.
What do you think? Sign no-one, keep the spot for the rookie Thomas, re-sign McGrady, trade for Kirilenko, or sign World Peace? Or something else?