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Analyzing the Jeff Pendergraph signing

We were all hoping for Andre Kirilenko. Instead, we get Jeff Pendergraph. What can we expect?


I'll get this out of the way early: I really like this signing. On a scale of 1-10, (where 5 is considered average) I'd probably give it a 7. It could be lower or higher depending on how much time he gets, but a 7 feels right. A couple years ago, when we were looking for a backup combo forward, I suggested Earl Clark could be an ideal cheap signing. The Lakers ended up getting him, and while he certainly wasn't dominant, he was the type of low risk high reward move that often quietly improve teams significantly. If Pendergraph can average 15 minutes a game, I think he'll prove to be exactly the same type of signing.

So why am I excited about the signing? Mostly because we all wanted a combo forward. And while most of us wanted AK47 (myself included) Pendergraph could certainly be a better value. He's a 6'10 26 year old, who has primarily played as a power forward, most recently with the Indiana Pacers. As far as the Earl Clark comparisons go, he actually projects as a better rebounder (15.6% total rebound rate vs 13.1%), better shooter (53% TS vs 51%, 49%EFG vs 48%) , and better defender (99 defensive rating vs 105). Looking at his splits, in the 7 games he played more than 20 minutes, he averaged 10 points, 6 rebounds, and just under a block and a steal per game. In games he played 10-20 minutes (a more likely scenario on the Spurs) he averaged 7 points and 5 rebounds. He's not the established box score stat stuffer that Kirilenko is, but he's got the potential to be a similar (though probably lesser) type of player.

What will his role be? One of the reasons he was rumored to be wanting to leave Indiana was a lack of playing time. While Pop and RC would never guarantee minutes to someone, it's likely they promised him at least the opportunity to compete for the backup SF spot, while also being injury/rest insurance at the PF spot. He's certainly more familiar playing at the 4, as he operated as the third stringer behind David West and Tyler Hansbrough. But it's likely to me he sees time at both places. He's basically taking Dejuan Blair's roster spot, and while I'm not sure he's more talented than Dejuan, his versatility certainly makes him a better fit on the team. With a solid 6'10 frame, a 7'1 wingspan, and an impressive vertical (better than Kawhi Leonard's, and also a better 3/4 court sprint), he has all the tools to cover multiple positions. The only thing possibly keeping him from playing small forward full time is his slight lack of lateral quickness, though he scored comparably to Tony Mitchell in lane agility. For those who don't know, Mitchell was widely regarded as one of the best all around athletes in this draft, and also is a tweener combo forward. Mostly, I expect him to eat some minutes in the early to mid season and attempt to earn Pop's trust to crack the tail end of the playoff rotation.

Overall, this was another classic Spurs move that at the absolute worst doesn't hurt the team, and is likely to improve the team at least a marginal amount. Given that it's rumored to be a 2 year deal, even though it's a small contract it fits within the Spurs window and offers total flexibility in the 2015-2016 offseason.

So, what do you think? Is he going to be a total bust, or could he end up being one of the best signings of this class? Or is he somewhere in between?