So, yeah, I'm back. Temporarily, permanently or in between emotional, erm, episodes. Schedule subject to change and availability. I will probably eventually talk about what happened. Yes, here. Yes, I know this is a Spurs blog and not a "Let's Talk About Matthew's Problems" blog. If you don't like it you are free to take your ball and go home.
Oh, and nobody died. Not literally anyway. (No wagering please.)
So, the Spurs. They play tonight. Against the Golden State Warriors in a dreaded SEGABABA. I don't feel like doing my typical preview; make do with the following: Baron Davis is gonna run around and take a bunch of bad shots and not play any defense against Tony Parker. Jason Richardson will get frustrated by Bruce Bowen's insatiable need to get all up in his business. Troy Murphy will be left-handed. Yada yada.
Instead let's talk about what exactly the Spurs have to do to have any fucking shot at even competing against the Pistons. Yeah, that's a long way off and there are no guarantees; but this is actually a semi-interesting topic I feel like writing about. Bear with me. I see 4 main things that need to be changed / accomplished in order to beat the Pistons in a seven game series. These will be presented over any number of days and in no particular order.
1. Transplant Rasho Nesterovic's brain into Nazr Mohammed's cranium.
Every Spurs fan knows the rebounding problems the Spurs had against the Pistons; they were out-boarded by a total of 51 rebounds in the two games. Now, believe it or not, the Spurs are actually fifth in the NBA in defensive rebounding. Apparently DET didn't get the memo, grabbing 34 offensive rebounds in the two games. So what exactly is the problem?
It's fairly simple. The Piston big men, Wallace, Wallace, McDyess and The TayTay are all exceptionally athletic at their respective positions. The same cannot be said for The Solid Slovenian. He's what is clinically known as rather slow and cannot stay between his man and the basket. And even if he could he's not much of a rebounder anyway.
Nazr Mohammed, on the other hand, is an excellent rebounder. For his career he averages 14.5 rebounds per 48 minutes. And, despite having hands of stone when catching passes he seems to be able to suck down rebounds like a fat man at Krispy Kreme. Except the fat man would be sucking down donuts probably. Being at a donut store and all. Is that right; "donut store?" Or is it "donut shop?" And why does the punctuation go inside the quotes? I've always hated that. I'm calling my congressperson.
Unfortunately for the Spurs, Nazr quote often plays like his head is, uh, elsewhere; possibly investigating his own colon. Case in point: at home against the Pistons he found himself on the same side of the court as Duncan and Parker. Duncan on the block, Tony on the wing and Nazr at the elbow. Timmeh motioned him away, wanting to run the tried and true pick and roll. Nazr, with certainly good intentions, instead decided to try to set a screen on Tim's man as Tim was moving away from the basket. Mohammed proceeded to <Bill Walton>set the worst screen in the history of the NBA</Bill Walton> and got called for an obvious foul. All of this happened right in front of the Spurs bench, and I swear every single coach looked at the floor and shook his head. Even Chip Engelland took a break from admiring his own hair and shared in the collective discontent. Six minutes later Nazr was on the bench and not seen again that game.
Fortunately Pop understands Nazr's importance and that's why his minutes have increased to 19.6 MPG since the DET game (14.0 MPG for the year). He's going to have to play better overall team defense for the Spurs to play him big minutes against DET. But it's either that or get beat. And he's not going to get better unless he gets floor time. Rasho is Rasho, his main talents are his size and understanding of team play; neither of those will suffer from lack of playing time. So play Nazr. Lots. I don't care if he takes a dump at center court or plays grab ass with Cherly Miller. PLAY HIM. (And make him grow a fro. For me. Please.)