These are some of my better pieces. All of them are from 48 Minutes of Hell unless marked otherwise.
On September 27, the San Antonio Spurs held media day, where Splitter was present. The next day, the team kicked-off training camp and Splitter got his first real taste of playing with the team and learning the system. Unfortunately for Splitter and the Spurs, the big man was injured just two days later on September 30.
That’s a lot of travel and basketball over the summer, at a time when players rest their bodies and work on their game. There’s also two injuries in that span that are probably related to the busy schedule.
“He had some things break down while he was in Europe and then he came here and had the problem with his calf,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said earlier in the season. “I think all in all, his body is probably just telling him to take a break.
“So we don’t want to bring him back and stick him out there for an inordinate amount of time.”
Splitter missed most of training camp, valuable learning time that he is unable to recreate with the season underway.
“It’s no surprise that Richard Jefferson faces a lot of pressure in his second season on the San Antonio Spurs. In his first, Jefferson came with the weight of a $15 million salary. And while averages of 12.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game were decent, they did not fulfill the expectations many fans and team personnel had. Even though he’ll be playing at a reduced price in 2010-11, the belief that he should play at a level worthy of a $15 million contract will still be there.
Earlier this summer, our amigo Sebastian Pruiti of Nets Are Scorching and NBA Playbook took a pretty good look at what Richard Jefferson did, and didn’t do, well last year. According to Synergy Sports, in the Spurs’ half court offense Jefferson was most effective scoring the ball off of cuts. He was sixth in the NBA last year with 1.61 points per possession when shooting off of a cut. Unfortunately for Jefferson and the Spurs, RJ only shot off a slash 8% of the time. RJ spent far more time spotting up (33.9%) and missing (just .91 points per possession).”
7/27/2010 – Another summer, another front office shake-up
“The day that Dell Demps was announced as the new General Manager of the New Orleans Hornets, a friend sent me a text message wondering digitally if teams were hoping to harness San Antonio Spurs culture when they hired away members of the Gregg Popovich & RC Buford braintrust.
I’m reminded of the Nigerian weapons dealer in District 9 who eats the limbs of prawns in hopes of gaining prawns’ ability to use alien weaponry. Is it a stretch to make that connection? Who cares, that movie was awesome and I want to mention it.
If teams have a secondary goal in mind when hiring Spurs front office and coaching staff members, hopes that these former Spurs will magically grow the famous culture that the silver and black enjoy, then there’s most likely disappointment on the horizon.
San Antonio has the famously fortunate combination of Popovich, Buford, Tim Duncan and owner Peter Holt. It’s not perfect, but it may be as close as you’ll find in modern professional sports. Catching lightning in a bottle would bear more fruit than trying to recreate the harmony in which those relationships play.”
4/21/2010 – Defending Dirk in Game 2
“For the San Antonio Spurs, defending Dirk Nowitzki in Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal Series was damn-near a lost cause. The Dallas Mavericks forward torched the Spurs for 36 points on 12-14 shooting from the field.
How the Spurs choose to defend Nowitzki in Game 2 will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game. And how this series plays out. Win Game 2, and the Spurs go back to San Antonio with a split and the momentum.
But leaving Dallas in an 0-2 hole puts a lot of pressure on this Spurs team. Suddenly, whispers about the Mavs having the Spurs number and the impact of 2006 start getting louder.”
3/9/2010 – Dwayne Jones still looking for his shot
“Dwayne Jones is visibly frustrated. You’d think a guy who just put up 26 points and 14 rebounds against first round draft pick Byron Mullens, in a win over his team’s conference rival, would look happier.
The 6’11″ center stands in his socks, game shorts and un-tucked jersey in the hallway outside the Toros locker room at the Austin Convention Center talking to Dell Demps. Demps, the Toros General Manager and Spurs Director of Pro Player Personnel, is doing everything he can to reassure Jones that eventually he’ll have a chance to play in the NBA again.
‘Up until yesterday when Alonzo got called up nobody from our team, besides me getting a couple of workouts, got any inkling from the NBA,’ Jones said. ‘We have some NBA talent on our team, but nobody can get the opportunity.’ “
2/23/2010 – The root of all defensive evil
“Saying that the Spurs aren’t playing as good of defense this year as they have in the past would be like saying it doesn’t snow much in Austin. By the way, it’s snowing here in Austin today.
But why exactly are the Spurs not playing good defense? It starts in the middle, quite literally.
The Spurs’ defensive gameplan is to not allow penetration to the middle. If the player with the ball can get to the lane, he can cause all kinds of havoc for the San Antonio. Instead, they try to force the ballhandler away from the lane and towards the baseline, where the boundary can act as an additional defender.
This season, for a variety of reasons (no Bruce Bowen, Tony Parker’s various injuries, new personnel, etc.) the Spurs allow opposing teams to get to the lane and beat them. Against Denver, which is widely-regarded as San Antonio’s best game of the season, Carmelo Anthony was able to get in the lane early in the game and either score, dish to a teammate, or get fouled. As the game wore on, San Antonio slowed Anthony’s penetration and built a sizable lead.”