Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Projection: The 2010-11 San Antonio Spurs

The 2009-10 NBA season is over and the NBA draft is in the books, now it’s time to focus our attention on the annual NBA free agency buffet with one caveat: this year’s buffet features filet mignon with the superstar trio of Lebron James, Dewayne Wade and Chris Bosh headlining the menu. Every NBA franchise should be lining up to partake of this wondrous bounty of talent, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, looming in the back drop of this year’s free agency market are two storm clouds, the financial restrictions placed on owners brought about by the current recession and the pending Collective Bargaining Agreement that has the potential of stalling the NBA season altogether just as it did with the 1998-99 lockout.
With so much uncertainly, it pays to have your major pieces locked into an existing contract and is even more beneficial if the majority of your roster is intact before the free agent market opens on July 1. This brings us to the San Antonio Spurs and its roster projection for 2010. Last year, the Spurs made the biggest splash in free agency by signing Antonio McDyess and acquiring Richard Jefferson through trade. They effectively used up their cap space originally earmarked for this summer one year earlier. While the end result wasn’t another championship title or even a conference finals appearance, the long-term wisdom by their decision to use the cap space in 2009 should not go unnoticed.
Consider this, the Spurs will enter the 2010-11 season with the same starting five and two primary reserves (Tim Duncan, Antonio McDyess, Richard Jefferson, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Dujuan Blair and George Hill). This line-up was key in their surprising first round victory over their instate rival, the Dallas Mavericks. One should expect for this core to play better in 2010 after one year of on-the-job training and another summer camp. Also under contract are two young wing players (Alonzo Gee and Malik Hairston) who have spent several years learning the Spurs system as players for the D-league team the Austin Toros. This gives the Spurs nine players under contract prior to the start of free agency. Most teams do not play more than an eight or nine man rotation during the course of the regular season. Nevertheless we should expect the Spurs to carry anywhere from the league minimum of 12 players to the maximum of 15.
Who might the Spurs target to fill out their roster and what effect could they have on the team? The primary target of the Spurs this summer is their 2007 1st round draft pick, Tiago Splitter.(Video: In 2007 Splitter chose to remain in his native country of Spain and play international basketball over the NBA. However the Spurs still retained his draft rights. Now there are clear indicators that Splitter will choose to opt out of his current contract in favor of playing in the NBA. Shortly after July 1, we should know if Tiago Splitter will be the 10th player added to the Spurs roster. Splitter would bring much needed size and athleticism to the aging frontcourt of the San Antonio Spurs. With the 20th overall pick in the 2010 draft, the Spurs acquired another wing player with the selection of James Anderson. Anderson will bring another scoring option to the team. He averaged 22 points last season with Oklahoma State and at 6’.6”, he should be a suitable replacement for Roger Mason at a third of the cost.
As previously mentioned, many teams will be hampered in their quest for free agents due to financial restraints; the Spurs are not exempt. In fact with nine players already under contract, San Antonio exceeds the projected salary cap of $56 million and are close to the projected luxury tax threshold of $68 million, which means every player starting with Tiago Splitter and James Anderson will cost the team a dollar for dollar per contract. The Spurs will take advantage of 3 exceptions (Mid-Level, Bi-Annual and Minimum Salary exception) to fill out their roster. San Antonio will most likely use the MLE to sign Tiago Splitter. Expect them to target another shooter like Mike Miller or Kyle Korver with their BAE. Of course they might just decide to use it on Matt Bonner which would eliminate the learning curve the aforementioned players would experience. By signing any of these three outstanding sharpshooters the Spurs would bring their roster to 12. They could play the majority of the regular season with 12 players under contract in order to keep the cost down but more than likely they will fill the seats at the end of the bench with a revolving door of players from their D-League affiliate team.
The San Antonio Spurs are going into the new season as they left it, with their major parts intact. They will attempt to fill various holes by way of draft picks and various exceptions. Will it be enough to give Tim Duncan and company one last shot at glory? Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


1. Wizards
Need – A versatile point guard of the mold of Steve Nash.
Pick – John Wall

2. 76ers
Need – A dominate big man who can run the break alongside Iguodala.
Pick – Derrick Favors

3. Nets
Need – A scorer to play alongside Harris in the backcourt.
Pick – Evan Turner

4. Timberwolves
Need – A true center. It’s time to cash in on Big Al or Love by way of trade.
Pick – DeMarcus Cousins

5. Kings
Need – A backcourt mate for the ROY would be nice.
Pick – Xavier Henry

6. Warriors
Need – The best big man available.
Pick – Cole Aldrich

7. Pistons
Need – The small forward position is in need of young legs.
Pick – Wesley Johnson

8. Clippers
Need – Small forward is the only weakness on this team.
Pick – Al-Farouq Aminu

9. Jazz
Need – Size and versatility in the frontcourt is a must if Boozer leaves for South Beach.
Pick – Greg Monroe

10. Pacers
Need – This team is desperate for a top flight point guard.
Pick – Eric Bledsoe

11. Hornets
Need – Collison and Thornton solidified the backcourt but what about the 3 position?
Pick – Patrick Patterson

12. Grizzlies
Need – The Conley experiment is over. OJ gets another backcourt mate with this pick.
Pick – Paul George

13. Raptors
Need – Their starting over from scratch. Go for the player with the most upside.
Pick – Hassan Whiteside

14. Rockets
Need – The Rockets are desperate for size in the middle.
Pick – Ed Davis

15. Bucks
Need – Get Jennings a scoring mate at shooting guard and really “fear the deer” next season.
Pick – James Anderson

16. Timberwolves
Need – with their second pick in the first round the T-Wolves can address their lack of scoring at the SF position.
Pick – Luke Babbitt

17. Bulls
Need – Losing Gordon at SG exposed this team’s lack of fire power. Bringing another Gordon in makes sense to me.
Pick – Gordon Hayward

18. Heat
Need – Assuming they get frontcourt help through free-agency, the Heat pick small here.
Pick – Avery Bradley

19. Boston
Need – An aging frontcourt necessitates a SF/PF with this pick.
Pick - Daniel Orton

20. Spurs
Need – Another team with multiple needs in the frontcourt. Spurs go big here.
Pick – Solomon Alabi

21. Thunder
Need – This team is loaded at all positions so taking the best available makes sense.
Pick – Damion James

22. Trailblazers
Need – Will Oden ever play to his full potential for a complete season?
Pick – Jerome Jordan

23. Timberwolves
Need – this is most certainly a value pick for the T-Wolves, high reward, low risk.
Pick – Larry Sanders

24. Hawks.
Need– How do the Hawks replace the departure of a Joe Johnson? They can’t, not with this pick.
Pick – Willie Warren

25. Grizzlies
Need – If they fail to secure the service of Gay, this pick could prove useful.
Pick – Ekpe Udoh

26. Thunder
Need – Don’t be surprised if they move this pick for a veteran.
Pick – Terrico White

27. Nets
Need – A backup for Harris would be a smart pick here.
Pick – Armon Johnson

28. Grizzlies
Need – This is another team that will more than likely move this pick.
Pick – Elliot Williams

29. Magic
Need – The Magic could use more firepower in the front court.
Pick – Donatas Motiejunas

30. Wizards
Need – The Wizards need a defensive presence to balance out their offense.
Pick – Jarvis Varnado