I am going to miss Brent Barry. He was our best shooter and his fast break abilities were eclipsed only by Parker and Ginobili. My feelings regarding him vs. Finley are common knowledge around here. Who's better or worse obviously doesn't matter now, but it didn't matter before the trade, either.
Pop wasn't going to play Brent Barry. In fact, ever since Brent arrived I always got the impression that Pop played him begrudgingly, like a bad husband who goes shopping with his wife just to complain about how much he hates shopping. With Brent's injury and the emergence of Ime Udoka as a useful bench player, The Cooler had little hope of ever seeing the floor.
As for Elson, he never seemed to grasp the defensive system; Pop gave up on him months ago.
So the Spurs gave up two guys who Pop wasn't going to use and got Kurt Thomas. What I like about Kurt Thomas reads very similar to the list of what I don't like about Oberto.
- Rebounding. This year Kurt Thomas is averaging 16.7 rebounds per 48 minutes. If he statistically qualified that'd be good for 6th in the NBA. Oberto's at 12.6 boards per 48 minutes.
- One-on-one defense. Kurt Thomas got absolutely destroyed by Tim Duncan last year and is overrated as an individual defender. But he's certainly better than Oberto who's downright awful. The only way he gets a stop is by drawing an offensive foul.
- Outside shooting. Kurt Thomas can make the 18 foot jumper from all angles. Oberto can make the 10 foot jumper along the baseline.
The obvious question is where are Thomas' minutes going to come from? I'm (of course) hoping from Horry see's more time on the bench. But what is more likely (and stampler mentioned this on the phone) is that Pop will go small less often.