I am back from Italy. I will eventually upload pictures to flickr (or someplace) and I'll post the link. But the NBA draft is today, so I suppose we should talk about that. Of course you guys have already been discussing it, but I want to throw in my two cents.
First, here's a list of current Spurs players I want to play more than 20 minutes a game next year:
Second, here's a list of current Spurs players I want to have the opportunity to prove they deserve to play more than 20 minutes a game:
Third, allow me to explain why Bruce Bowen is not on either list.
He's 37. When's the last time a 37 year old player not named Michael Jordan and 6'-8" or less deserved to play 20 minutes a game? 1972. That's when. George Kaplan. Backup point guard for the New Haven Blackskirts. The starting point guard got the clap something awful and George stepped up and played admirably the last half of the season.
It seems the general consensus amongst Spurs fans is that Bowen played terrific defense against Kobe during the playoffs. Based on Kobe's statistical performance this simply isn't true. Take at look at his true shooting % against his four opponents (TS% = PTS / (FGA + .44 * FTA)).
vs. DEN = 59.4%
vs. UTA = 62.9%
vs. SA = 58.5%
vs. BOS = 50.5%
during regular season = 57.6%
Kobe performed better against the Spurs than his average performance during the regular season, and the Spurs fared only marginally better than DEN. The freaking Nuggets, people.
An additional point I would like to make about Bowen. He's labeled as a good three point shooter, but I don't consider this true. I know he shot 42% from 3 this year. But at least 80% of those shots were uncontested attempts from the corner. How many NBA SG / SF would have hit 40% or better of Bruce Bowen's 3P attempts? 50%? 75%?
I don't mean to pick on Bruce Bowen. He certainly was infinitely more valuable than Michael Finley and Robert Horry (who, for the sake of my sanity, I am assuming will not see the court a single minute next year). He should have his number retired as soon as he's done, and I hope the Spurs offer him a coaching / administrative position immediately. But it's time for his role to change dramatically. Any thoughts to the contrary strike me as more pie in the sky "We can win a title with the Big Three and any cast of scrubs" mentality that, basically, cost us the title this year.
I think that too often Spurs fans and management use the talents of the Big Three as an excuse to accept shoddy play / players. Tim, Tony and Manu are so talented and hard-working that so little is expected from the players around them. You hear about finding veterans that "fit into the system." How about finding "good players?"
And by "good players," I mean someone that is not going to be stashed overseas for a couple and then not signed or traded for 25 cents on the dollar to a division rival. There's your NBA draft content. Oh, and Chad Ford has us drafting Nicolas Batum, saying:
Batum went into a workout with the Spurs on Wednesday and then disappeared off the grid. His medical reports never came out. His agent didn't return calls. I think the Spurs may have wrapped him up.
Who do I want? CDR.