After a replying to a comment strand in another thread tonight, I started thinking about this. What are the most complementary lineups the Spurs have, and who doesn't work well together? But an open-ended question like that would take far too long to answer without narrowing it down a bit, so I've decided to think about one of the most vexing personnel decisions that Pop has to make. Which one of your 3 excellent guards do you bring in off the bench?
With Tony hurt, we don't have to worry too much about the guard rotation at the moment, but what about when he comes back?
I'm very interested in seeing what everybody thinks about this.
Things to Think About
I'll lay out my case for each one of these guys to come off the bench, and you decide. Remember that these guys all play for the Spurs, and probably won't have their egos damaged by coming off the bench.
Even though Tony's been a starter for his entire Spurs career, there is still a damn good reason to bring him off the bench, IMO. Last year, we all learned how truly devastating Tony can be when he leads the Spurs' attack. But last year, his running mates in the starting lineup were Tim Duncan and three shooters(Mason, Finley, Bonner). Tony's game is at its best when he penetrates into the lane, and either finishes easily because help arrives too late, or kicks out to an open man for an east shot opportunity. This year, only Duncan remains in the starting lineup from that group. Bonner, Finley and Mason are all great bench options, but they need someone to get them those wide open shots. In this sense, Pop's substitutions could dramatically change the face of the game by bringing in a unit off the bench with such great proven effectiveness. Parker seems to be affected more by who's on the floor with him than the other two are, but that's just one opinion.
Georgie has been playing very well as of late, and is one of the best 5 players on the entire squad so far. There are plenty of folks who believe that the 5 best players should start, and everyone else should come off the bench. Problem is, 3 of the best five players so far this season are guards. Last year, we never would have considered giving George the start, but he's been a revelation this season. He's greatly improved his jumper(especially the deadly corner three), his ability to finish in the lane, as well as his decision making and floor game. More impressive still is the intensity he's shown this season, which has transformed him from the guy who couldn't be freed last year, to a guy that plays 25 minuted per game and averages double digits in points. In short, Cubits is the next great Spurs guard. With his continuing improvement, it's very plausible that Hill could provide a spark off the bench similar to the one Manu has been providing for years to come.
And finally, there's the current 6th man, a guy who evokes an overwhelming emotional response from fans at the mere mention of his name. Manu's been doing his thing for a long time, and seems to have already developed amazing chemistry with another bench player: DeJuan Blair. The Manu-Blair pick and roll combination is amazing to watch, and is only the tip of the iceberg with regards to the way these guys play together. They seem to be of the same mind, or at least have a 2-man telepathic conversation most of the time, because they instinctually know exactly where to move to, where to thread a pass, and how to time their cuts to take advantage of each other's abilities. It is absolutely unreal. Blair isn't the only player who plays better with Manu on the floor - Hill, Jefferson, and McDyess all seem to do better when he is orchestrating the offense as well. Manu and Duncan are pretty much the only Spurs players who play well with any group of teammates that are in the game with them at a particular moment, so there is really no wrong answer with Manu.
So who should be the 6th man for the Spurs, leading the attack off the bench? Tell us what you think.