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Preseason QuickCap: Suns over Spurs, 106-99

Jeff Ayres and Marco Belinelli look like they could have really good years in San Antonio, the big three look good and the backup point guard battle continues.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

First, I didn't see the whole thing.

Second, it's the preseason, so of course the 4th quarter saw precious little besides prospects and new acquisitions playing against end-of-the-benchers and soon-to-be-D-Leaguers. But ...

Third, those middle two quarters had enough for me to write about, and I'll break it down on a player-by-player basis. Before you wonder about his absence, Kawhi Leonard got the day off.

Tim Duncan

The short-but-sweet is that he's still very good. If you want a longer version, feel free to re-visit this oldie but goodie.

Tony Parker

Since the early theme of the preseason just might be how much room Tony still has left to grow, I'll say that what struck me was how easy he makes it look. I swear that there are times where it looks like all he has to do is give 75% effort in order to end up with a wide open jumper. He looked good.

Manu Ginobili

He did some really good Manu things. Here's a description of my favorite:

Manu made a fake to get his guy up in the air before taking a jumpshot, but his man was right with him, so he faked the jumpshot while in the air, reached around his man and passed the ball behind his back, then broke to the basket, got the ball back on the way to the hoop, made the big commit and then passed around HIS back to Jeff Ayres for a lay in.

Might as well admit that I'm with Stampler on Manu.

Patty Mills

It's really not overstating things to say that he's undergone a pretty extreme physical change in the offseason. He was 4-8 from the field and 3-5 from three, but he had no assists and registered a -5. Jury's still out, but it's safe to say in the backup PG battle, he has passed...

Nando De Colo

For those of you who remember who CapHill is, I was texting her during the game and she asked me if I still believed in Nando. My answer was something along the lines of: whether or not I ever believed in him, I'm sure that I'll always believe in the idea of Nando.

This is really what it comes down to: when potential outstrips talent, and when possibility is always tantalizingly out of reach, then the player fans cheer for isn't ever really the one that really exists. I still remember the plays that De Colo has made that encouraged me to expect great things from him. And it's that future Nando De Colo that I was always expecting to materialize as I rooted for his success.

I just don't think that player will ever come to be, and now it's time to come to terms with the player Nando is: an indecisive, turnover-prone tweener without a consistent jump shot whose defense can be exploited by average players. But I'll be ok in the long run, because my future fanhood belongs to...

Jeff Ayres

Let's just say that I'm more than intrigued. Here's my scouting report on the young man from Indiana.

Nifty moves around the basket. Shoots accurately and without hesitation when he has a sliver of room and is inside his range. Pretty little hook shot. Nice hands. Knows how to pass. More on his defense will come as the preseason progresses.

Sure there were times when he was in the wrong place on offense, but there far many more instances where the Spurs guards found him all alone under the basket for a point-blank layup, which means he's finding the soft spots of the defense. Good signs.

Guys, if PATFO did nothing more over the summer than replace DeJuan Blair with Jeff Ayres, it would have been good enough, but there's also ...

Marco Belinelli

Like Ayres, he's never really fit in with any of his previous teams. Like Manu, he seems to have been made for San Antonio. Sure it's early, but he's doing a ton of things that I really like. Can't wait to see how he shares the court with Ginobili once the games start counting.

Also, it might take me a while to get used to the way he shoots from behind the arc, but as long as they keep going in, I'll make do.

Corey Maggette

It seems that the man has the power to receive a pass, and convert his possession of the ball immediately into free throws. I haven't seen anything like it since Dwayne Wade in the 2006 Finals.

Whether he makes the roster will likely rest on how Pop feels about his defense. We'll see how it shakes out.

Everybody Else

Danny Green played 10 scoreless minutes, but only shot once and had 5 (FIVE!) assists. Corey Joseph seemed nearly invisible to me, but that could have been that I missed all of his 7 minutes, as I did with Tiago Splitter and his 9. Aron Baynes showed some nice offense and seems to be getting comfortable in the Spurs system.

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