It was an eventful weekend for sports. The NFL regular season kicked off, the second round of group play for the 2019 FIBA World Cup was ongoing, and it was a wild Saturday for college football fans. As a result, the enshrinement of the 2019 Basketball Hall of Fame class got pretty lost in the news cycle.
Of course, another reason for the minimal coverage may have been the lack of a high profile name. When Vlade Divac is the most recognizable entry for today’s generation of basketball fans, there just won’t be much attention paid.
However, expect that to change in 2020. Three of the biggest names in basketball this millennium — Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett — all become eligible next summer. That’s already a fascinating trio of rival players who competed hard against each other for championships and will each bring a different personality to the stage, but the cherry on top could be the inclusion of Gregg Popovich, who has long turned down the HOF, reportedly telling them he is waiting for Duncan.
2020 Naismith Hall of Fame Class could include: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett & Gregg Popovich. Pop would have already been elected but refused consideration. He apparently told HOF he would accept consideration once Duncan was eligible. Well... #Spurs #Celtics #Lakers— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) September 6, 2019
This promises to be an amazing HOF class with or without Pop, but what a joy it would be if he accepted the invitation this time. I plan on actually watching the ceremony for the first time since David Robinson was inducted alongside Michael Jordan, John Stockton, and Jerry Sloan in 2009. (I still love watching his acceptance speech. It was pure Admiral.)
The Spurs defense is due for a resurgence
It’s no secret that the Spurs had their worst defensive season of the Gregg Popovich era last year. A lot of that can be blamed on roster turnover and injury, but is a resurgence coming? Michael Pena of SB Nation seems to think so, and for good reason:
Going forward, an optimist can look at San Antonio’s modernized personnel, absorb the consistency found in past metrics, and believe the future is still bright. Derrick White and a healthy Dejounte Murray can be one of the best defensive backcourts in basketball. Lonnie Walker and Keldon Johnson are two wings with favorable body types who aren’t even 21. DeMarre Carroll is the versatile chess piece San Antonio did not have last season. Their continuity, key for defensive execution, is now stronger than all but two teams. Last year’s team finished strong, too: After the NBA All-Star Game break, only seven teams were more stout on defense.
Murray and White are the keys to the Spurs future
The Spurs playoff hopes may rest on the shoulders of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan this season, but they aren’t the future of the franchise. Barring a tank-a-thon (not happening) and Tim Duncan-level miracle, the future will likely come from within, and that starts with the two players who have shown the most promise so far:
Murray fits the athletic profile of a potential All-Star in the backcourt. He’s 6’5” with an even longer wingspan, twitchy and stout defensively. White isn’t built in the same mold. Lightly recruited out of high school before joining Colorado as a transfer from Division II, White doesn’t boast an imposing frame. Yet he’s an impact defender and an impressive leaper near the tin, unafraid to attack the rim with authority. White dominated the Nuggets with 36 points in Game 3 of the first round last season, then continued his rise by earning a spot on Team USA at the FIBA World Cup. He appears to be garnering the same preseason praise as Murray from a year ago.
A new endorsement for White?
Sometimes when you’re one of the most underrated and underappreciated players in the NBA, you have to get your own name out there. White has done that with a strong showing in the 2019 NBA playoffs and making Team USA for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but does a simple Tweet have him heading towards the best possible endorsement of all?
UNINTERUPTED — a site founded by LeBron James — at some point talked to White about Oreos, and he went in dept about what his favorite Oreos are and why (although I couldn’t find the initial tweet he was talking about).
OREO’s official Twitter account took notice, so there just might be something to this. Stay tuned.
He has good taste, so we’ll think about it— OREO Cookie (@Oreo) September 7, 2019
What’s your favorite Oreo? For me it’s either candy cane or lemon no matter how “stuffed” they are.
Have a good one!