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T-Minus One Game and Counting

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It was nice to see the Spurs quickly take care of business against MIN and UTA. They now have HCA through the Western Conference playoffs. Their first round opponent has not yet been decided, but it will most likely be the Kings. We'll get the Lakers if they lose to NO at home and SAC beats SEA at home. I don't see the former happening; LA would obviously prefer to face the Suns and will treat Wednesday's contest as a playoff-type game. Not to mention the fact that David Stern is wetting himself contemplating a first-round match-up between PHX and LAL. What's the over/under on how many points Kobe would average? 41? And what are the odds that Dick Bavetta will be officiating the LAL/NO game? 1:1?

The playoff roster rules are different than last year. Each team can select up to 13 players but only 12 players can be active for any one game. The one inactive player can change from game to game. The 13 player roster, however, is permanent (despite what Sean Elliott said during the game last night). The Spurs currently have 14 players on their roster. Who's the odd man out? Here are the obvious locks:

PG
TFLM
Stumpy

SG
The Sickness
Michael Finley
The Cousy

SF
Bruce Bowen

PF
Timmeh!
Robert Horry

C
Nazr Mohammed
Rasho Nesterovic

That leaves 3 spots for Marks, Oberto, Sanders and Beno. The decision is not an obvious one but Udrih has to get the nod due to Stumpy's gimpy elbow and sieve-like qualities on the defensive end. That leaves one or two (depending on the answer to the first) questions:

1) Do we need Sanders?

What if Bowen gets hurt? Who's our perimeter stopper? The next best defender is Ginobili, but using him in that role would affect his offensive abilities and thus sabotage the entire post season. Finley? That's not a pleasing thought.

2) So if we take Sanders, who gets left off the roster, Marks or Oberto?

To me the answer is obvious. They are equal rebounders based on their limited minutes this year, with Marks having the advantage on the defensive end while Oberto grabs more extra possessions for the offense. One would guess that Oberto has a strength advantage, but Marks has the height advantage. Fabricio seems like the better one-on-one defender, but he averages 9 fouls per 48 minutes. They both are quick up and down floor. The biggest discrepancy between the two is that Sean Marks has an outside jumper and Oberto won't shoot the ball unless he's inside 4'. I could see Marks' skills being useful against PHX and DET. He may be able to pull a Wallace away from the basket, giving Parker and Ginobili a better chance at finishing.

So, in my opinion, I would leave Oberto off the roster. I freely admit that this isn't going to happen. I seriously doubt the Spurs will deactivate a guy making over $2 million a year. (And of course maybe they think he's a better player than Marks.) It will come down to Sanders or Marks, and your guess is as good as mine. Go to the poll in the right sidebar to voice your opinion on who should be left off the playoff roster.

Entirely True Yet Remarkably Meaningless Tidbit Number Five.

I've never had a pet.