SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT

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SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#1 » by GREY 1769 » Fri May 21, 2021 11:35 pm

Finally home from the mandatory travel quarantine in the hotel and though still technically quarantining, I'm at a proper keyboard rather than the itty bitty cell one which for a device of convenience is decidedly not in this respect.

So now that I can stretch my fingers and thoughts, some initial probings into our season and situation going forward.

In the post-game interview Pop talked about how proud he was of this group for the resilience - not only from coming back from the deficit in the last game, but also if I may extrapolate throughout this really weird and trying season.

Think of all that we had to go through from the very start of the season:

We had a terrific new-found bubble line-up, itself a reconfiguration from last season's main starting group, largely forged from circumstances beyond our control: LMA and Trey were out with injuries, and so we had to come up with a new group that could play together and cover gaps from missing players as best as we could. LMA is hard to replace, but as it turns out we found a new style of play that better suited the young guys and we rolled.

We tried the catering to LMA-DD tandem as the central cogs and we got the result we did. Now that we had a new, better working style of play, it opened up more possibilities for incorporating our young talents into transition play.

At the beginning of the season, the shift was having to adjust to playing without Derrick who had had a breakout season as a starter alongside DJ. Keldon emerged as a burgeoning talent that wasn't to be refused. And as Pop always says, play in such a way that makes him look like an idiot for not playing you. Keldon was the newest starter, not by default but by making the most of his opportunity.

There was a lot of talk before the season of LMA showing the right attitude in adjusting to the new style of play but there was a sense of wait and see. His drop off was as glaring as his lack of fit in the group that now ran in transition at its core rather than setting up in half court sets catering to the styles of LMA and DD. It was frankly an experiment that looked as awkward by the end of its tenure as it did at its beginning; there's a lot to be said for pounding the rock and staying with something to get it working. But for whatever reason, LMA just wasn't running with the group, wasn't hitting his 3s, wasn't defending well, and wasn't adjusting well to not being the central part of the O within his long-established comfort zone. By the time we tried to have him come off the bench and Jakob start, it was long since obvious that we had to do what's best for the team in making the switch, that the experiment didn't work, and that LMA's time with the team would soon be over. Rather out with a whimper not a bang, but considering we had tried to trade him last season and in this one, the offers were clearly not fitting our criteria in terms of talent or contracts coming back.

We parted ways, we got Derrick back, and got rolling. We got to six games above .500, this with Keldon and DeMar our of position whenever either played at the 4, this with DeMar and Jakob not shooting 3s. So we were making the best of a starting group with some holes and out of position players. Then a Covid outbreak hit our team. We lost a handful of games which got pushed to the second half of the season, into an already tight schedule. We got players back little by little, and so by the time we got to playing games again, it was a roster and rotation roller coaster. Again, several unique challenges after we finally got some stability. And while we struggled with the schedule and fatigue due to not having more than a day off between games, we were further handcuffed by losing Derrick once again to a freak accident of rolling his ankle on Jakob's foot. Our best two-way player, our best stabilizer, out for the rest of the season. We were 18-18 with Derrick, and 2-11 in the final stretch of games without him. There were several other factors that contributed to that final streak, but losing Derrick was significant.

So, new style of play to start the season which required incorporating a player who was once the core around whose game we styled our play; dealing with injuries and illnesses to key players and a large cluster of players at once; dealing with roster and rotation changes; dealing with a compacted schedule with the hardest Strength of Schedule and little rest - and too little time for practice to better train and incorporate young guys. And yet we STILL had a BETTER record than last season despite more challenges and fewer games in which to adjust to them. Applying normal standards to such huge variances in circumstances just doesn't make sense. We over came A LOT to win more games and actually get into the play-in.

It seemed at times like we were running in place or not getting anywhere, but the perseverance Pop talked about was there throughout in reaching better results through harder trials.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#2 » by GREY 1769 » Sat May 22, 2021 1:40 am

It's near impossible and not constructive to grade players this season given the weird circumstances that affected their play. Instead I'll go over their tendencies and patterns I noticed this season and some things I think we need to work on as well as where I think / hope we're headed.

In a general overview of the latter, I think it was very difficult for Pop to instill our culture in the way he likes best off court. That camaraderie in team team dinners, spending time with players, having practices is irreplaceable. Lonnie talked about how Pop would slip notes under players' doors at times on the road this season (I mean, that's all kinds of endearing...) but we nevertheless got more out of new and young players through game experience and time spend on the road together. Next season with things returning back to normal, Pop will have all the more opportunities to instill our culture in a way that better blends his means with players' interests, basically back to making the times off court far more engaging and fun again. It'll be great for everyone to have this stability and means of connection again. It can only lead to better relationships and camaraderie. With a regular 82-game season with fans in the stands, there'll also be more time to practice and play in front of the energy that only a live audience can provide. There's a lot of positives to look forward to after this absolute grind of a miserable season. Next season will offer just the right seasoning to the palate. More on this later.

As to how we fared individually:

Jakob: great defender, very agile and quick covering a lot of ground for solid help D, great rim protector and blocker, punches out O boards well to keep our possessions going, and has a nice touch around the rim. Although his FTs were so poor that even Pop couldn't help but publicly express frustration about it, something clicked and he actually improved in this area. Great BBIQ as well.

One area of improvement for Jakob is strength. Whether it's because he's aware that we have a dearth at C depth and he's more careful, Jakob got pushed around quite a bit not necessarily by just bigger players but more aggressive ones. He can body up opponents on post ups well enough, but positioning on rebounds is an issue and this is related to mindfulness to boxing out fundamentals as well as strength and assertiveness. Time and again he allowed opponents to get tip ins or was behind two opponents who got positioning on him.

Assertiveness is also an area he needs to improve. He dunks now and again, usually after an out of timeout play or missing a bunny. But it just looks like he doesn't like to do it. Sometimes he actually gets blocked which is inexcusable.

Expanding his O game: Jakob's contract is already a bargain given his impact on the D end and that he can easily average a double double even with just finishes at the rim. We're better at P&R's with him; he rolls well, he trails well, and he gets to pockets of open space just to the sides of the rim. But holy moly is he ever limited outside around 10 feet. He also has no post up moves to speak of.

We do what we can with incorporating him, but if he's going to be a bigger part of our O he has to get a consistent aggressive gear to his game and get some moves around the rim. He has the little pop-a-shot in the key though it's inconsistent, but we need some moves from him we can rely on, especially given he's a traditional C in terms of range. Otherwise it's going to always be a liability to exploit on O. As soon as he's brought out at 10 feet, it's 4-on-5 defenders as opponents know they can comfortably sag on him.

Drew: aggressiveness has never been an issue. He's a battering ram and is another undrafted guy who made his way onto our team through sheer work and hustle. That he's a great rebounder, screener, dunker, and has added a nice J, a great hook and is good at FT shooting shows his improvement. He made both of his 3s this season. So while he stretches the floor farther than Jakob, he's still not a reliable floor spreader. Still, he worked his way onto the floor and made the most of lack of C depth. He gives us an edge we don't have with Jakob.

LMA started in 18 games and after three off the bench, his tenure with us was soon at an end. He struggled mightily in the new run style and looked as if he felt out of place in it. He averaged his worst PPG since his rookie year at terrible efficiency from 2s and 3s. It's a hard thing to go from top FA signing, the one around whom the O is worked out, the one who shouldered the team through a trying couple of years, to no longer being that focal point we relied on and in a system that passed him by as he dealt with a shoulder injury. Frankly, that switch likely would have come sooner had we gotten a trade we wanted for him or had we been a team that didn't respect players as people and just said too bad, adjust. As it turns out, it's my impression based on what's come out about it that LMA approached PATFO about being traded or bought out. It was best for both sides.

Enter Gorgui Dieng: We could use his services upon acquiring him as he injured his shoulder in his first game, and then it was a matter of learning on the fly. But he's really our best overall big in terms of broadest O skill and D ability and hustle. He is the only big who stretches the floor and can hit the 3, rebounds and puts back O boards well, is a solid 66.7% from 2s and a reliable 83.3FT%. Good rebounder, nice touch at the rim, good defender, smart player. Watching him in person was interesting. He's so lanky that when he moves it looks somehow slower than other players yet he gets the ball and gets the baskets. Anyway, he's a terrific complementary player filling gaps between Jakob and Drew.

We are doing C-by-committee with each filling in gaps of the other. In that sense they complement one another well. But it's a position in flux and in a transition period. In the middle of just this season we switched to Jakob starting, which means we moved on from both the style of play that catered to LMA's skill set and also needing to replace his O production. Even though LMA struggled mightily, he still averaged around 14PPG and 5 rebounds per game. That's still better than any C we currently have, it's just that he became very inefficient and was a huge defensively liability. I don't mean to pour it on LMA, he was a huge part of our team for a long time and was a prime FA signing, but his decline necessitated a change. To that end, we still will need to address our bigs situation by both internal development and some acquisitions via RFA/FA or trade that we can use more of on O who can stretch the floor.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#3 » by GREY 1769 » Sat May 22, 2021 7:09 pm

On to the PF portion of our bigs. The transition from GOAT to LMA (who himself transitioned to C) to Trey starting last season to DeMar / Keldon this season. Neither is an actual PF even as both have been willing to play beyond their natural positions, and even as players transition to changing situations be it league trends of at times small ball or making changes to stay in the league (Rudy eventually switching to the 4).

Trey went from getting a huge opportunity last season to saying he wanted to play his whole career here to showing up what looked like not really in great shape to then playing sporadically to letting it be known publicly through his reps he'd like a change of scenery to a mystery ankle injury that kept him out of the line-up for like the latter third of the year. He went from huge opportunity to clearly doing or not doing something we needed from him and just completely blowing it. I find it near impossible to believe that someone who is a natural PF with good size, can stretch the floor with his range - someone who on paper is exactly what we need! - we just refused to play out of spite or something trivial.

There must have been something fundamental that the coaches saw / did not see that made the adhering to principle that is the foundation of all we do more important than playing a player in a position of dire need. Everyone has said the right things (like they did with LMA being incorporated into the new system) but the thing that's not being talked about echoes all the more. That's fine, he's a FA and he won't be on the team anymore.

We signed him as a fill in after a horrible screw job that left us scrambling, and took a shot on a reclamation project. Sometimes it swings the right way; this time it did not.

Rudy as back-up PF was overall terrific, especially in the stretch late in the season. He's part of the bench group that was integral in keeping us competitive time and again in the first half or so of the season when the starting group would not have great starts or get behind. It was when our bench started to struggle that we did as a team, too. Rudy's size, scoring ability with drives, post-ups, Js and 3s along with improving defense has provided the exact kind of versatility that we have needed.

DeMar played 69% PF / 31% SF per basketball-reference.com whereas Keldon's split was 12% PF / 83% SF / 6% SG. So DeMar went from a SG entering the league to a 2/3 and this season to a 3/4. But that's really shoehorning after the fact as he was often a primary ball handler throughout his tenure with us, too. So it's been a fluid situation, but he's definitely adjusted to new positions and roles.

Keldon is shorter but bulkier than DeMar and he got the bulk of the defensive 4 assignments. Any player who can hold his own standing up Zion - who has 64lbs on Keldon! - among a slew of other PF's in the post is not only a powerful guy but one whose versatility we're just scratching the surface of.

Still, neither is the solution to our 4-by-committee. So even with Jakob being a true C - 100% of his minutes are there, because he has a more traditional game in a time when versatility and floor stretching are crucial, it's actually both the bigs positions that are by committee.

Obviously the 4 is a very important off-season need to address. We can do it internally with Luka. He's made tremendous strides defensively. He's really impressed with the impact he made defensively this season. Watching him in the G-League when he first arrived all lanky and raw I thought that defensive motor would for sure would be the aspect that grew last. I was so pleasantly surprised that after he worked to get stronger over the summer (looking at you again, Trey!) and whenever he got minutes he was a fast-moving, smartly-switching, upright-standing defender against players in various positions. So we've got a switchable, versatile, dedicated defender who already makes it hard for opponents to get by him or put shots up.

He gets bounced around and muscled out on O boards still, and while he has streamlined his O, he has some strides to make in creating shots for himself. He has a good 3 shot, and drives well for dunks (if a bit mechanical looking right now), but he has a prototypical new game build and if we can get out of him on O closer to what he brought in the G-League we're well on our way to having a solid two-way PF. Of course he was the O focal point in Austin and led the team with 21.8PPG on team-high 18.5 attempts and team-high 32.7MPG. DeMar averaged a team-high 15.1 FGAs per game this season so Luka won't be getting those chances unless he suddenly explodes into an offensive juggernaut. We had seven Spurs in double digit FGAs (including LMA) and along with Rudy was the only other big doing so.

So we've had to create a more egalitarian O away from LMA/DD-centric half court sets to an O where the back court dominates the O. Jakob averaged 6.2FGAs and Drew, 3.8FGAs. Recent addition, Dieng, was at 3.4FGAs. So our entire 5 rotation combine for fewer attempts per game than our top three shot takers DeMar, DJ, and Derrick.

With an extra summer of seasoning, hopefully Luka gets to the point of a regular contributor on O as a PF back-up. He's got a great size, build, and burgeoning skill set for the position - he can post up, drive, and hit the 3 (just needs to work on efficiency, like almost everyone else on our team). If he can play his way to a starting role it would be a terrific surprise, but I wonder whether we also address the position via trade of RFA/FA this off-season to strengthen it while Luka acclimates to a bigger role. We've been doing it by committee and piecemeal with contributions from various players, but we'll be more balanced and dangerous to play against once we can get more scoring versatility as well as defensive size and switchability. A stronger Luka who is as confident in scoring with the Spurs as he showed in Austin is a great positive to look forward to. Pairing him with another PF acquired or signed will go a long way in balancing our starting group, improving our defense (ranked 17th this season, up from 25th last season, but still room for improvement) as well as our offense (a drop from last season's 9th to 21st this season).

I'm looking forward to seeing how Luka progresses and how PATFO address the position this off-season.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#4 » by GREY 1769 » Sun May 23, 2021 6:09 pm

SF's. Well, another position of flex fill ins, although we have Keldon who played most (83%) of his minutes there and Devin who split SF (52%) and SG (46%) minutes at the position. They're both listed at 6'5" although Devin looks taller when they stand next to one another. It matters and it doesn't, depending who we can match them against and how they develop further. Can't teach height, but you can teach to maximize your skill set and add to it. Both have BBIQ and have made good strides.

Keldon had the benefit of the G-League and SL and gradually working / bulldozing - in the best way - his way onto the main roster, and as a starter no less. Through weird pandemic-imposed circumstances, Devin had no such benefit and he had to go through the season with the big club through all the compressed schedules, learning on the fly with Pop getting on him on every missed play without having learned more of our system in the G-League, fighting through fatigue and distancing when togetherness is what was all the more needed for a rookie on the big club.

In a post-game interview, Devin was frank about the toughness it requires to take a stripping from Pop, but he looks back on it knowing that every play counts, that details and professionalism matter, that there's a level of expectation on every possession. That's how you learn. It was trial by fire probably more for him than any other player. He said he's looking forward to more instructions from Pop next season! Solid.

Looking at benefits, whatever else comes Devin's way will surely seem far more manageable by comparison. He'll benefit from coaching expectations to work on through the summer, team mates to work out with, and Summer League.

Keldon and Devin have complementary skill sets and it helps that each can do what the other cannot. We don't expect Devin to barrel through opponents with the same physicality though Devin has shown capability of slashing to the rim and finishing well through contact.

Keldon has mostly driven to the rim or taken 3s, though as the season progressed he incorporated more of mid range shots from various distances. It's incredible to see how he has absorbed experiences and made adjustments almost as if from one play to the next. One game he'd bowl through opponents and get hit with a charge, the next he'd figure out ways of getting around opponents or stop his body from going forward just at the right time and put the ball in with a high shot off the glass. That's another thing - his touch around the rim has improved as well.

Keldon averaged 25% from the 3 before coming to the big club. He's now at 33.1%. An improvement, but we need that to be in the high thirties percentile. EDIT to add: He has this very curved shot release where it looks like he makes the letter C as it passes from the back of his palm through the release of his arm. it looks like it follows an invisible protractor. If Chip is fine with it and Keldon can improve efficiency and speed with this particular release, then great.

His shot distribution and accuracy from each is as follows:

0-3 feet from the rim: 39.1% which he made at 65.2% efficiency (4th on team from players getting regular rotation minutes, and 2nd when looking at non-bigs. Solid output).

3-10 feet: 27.7% which he made at 37.4% efficiency which is simply far too low.

10-16 feet: 4.5% which he made at 50% efficiency (best on the team among non-bigs).

16 feet - 3pt line: 3% which he made at 42.9% efficiency (4th among non-bigs).

3pt line: 27.5% which he made at 33.1% efficiency

Just based on these percentages alone (without the benefit of situation - opponent, time left on the clock, how open or contested the shot was, etc.) Keldon clearly need to improve his mid-range from 3-10 feet considering he takes the second highest number of his shots from there yet connects on the lowest efficiency from all the 2s range.

Next, he can look to expand his opportunities from the 10-16 feet and 16 feet - 3pt line range as he's most accurate from there yet takes the fewest number of shots from there. DJ developed ways of getting to his pet spots from various mid range spots and after another season of experience, I expect Keldon to find more of his as well. And for a player who drives as much as Keldon does, he generates 27.8% FTs per FG attempt. Drew leads the team here at 51.7%, and DeMar is next (and best among non-bigs) at 47.8%. So hopefully Keldon can incorporate more hesitation moves to maximize drives and get to the FT line more and bring up his 74% efficiency when he gets there.

Devin ranked 9th in team minutes with 1056, an average of 17 minutes per game (he started in 7 games). He's a very intelligent and fundamentally sound player. He grabbed D rebounds and quickly made outlet passes and ran to the proper spots depending on what the situation called for; he has a beautiful high-release shot that is already hard to guard; he added a behind-the-back dribble to create space and take mid range shots; he was terrific in transition and drove assertively when given / taking the chance. He stayed ready through stretches when he didn't play as many minutes and through some very trying circumstances in his first year as a pro.

His shot distribution and accuracy from each is as follows:

0-3 feet: 12.5% which he made at a team-high (among non-bigs and players who get regular minutes) 65.8%!

3-10 feet: 8.6% which he made made at 50% efficiency which is 2nd behind DeMar among non-bigs and players who get regular minutes

10-16 feet: 16.8% which he made at 43.1% efficiency (4th among non-bigs and players who get regular minutes)

16 feet - 3pt line: 12.5% which he made at 28.9% - far too low

3pt line: 49.5% which he made at 34.7% efficiency (4th among non-bigs and players who get regular minutes).

Basically the totality of his 2s comprise 50.5% of his shots and 3s the other 49.5%. It's a fine balance, only we will definitely have to get him driving more and shooting more from 3-16 feet. He's already ranking highly in efficiency on the team in his first year. He'll need to work on his efficiency from 16 feet - 3pt line (arguably the 'worst' type of shot, but we excel at shooting from where the D gives us shots), and also the 3,which I'm confident he and Chip and thousands of reps can make excellent. It can also be argued that it's a small sample size and he'll be defended differently as he gets better. Fine and fine. But having him as an extra scoring weapon to alleviate pressure from the main scorers who'll get the attention is exactly the kind of points getter we need.

That he's also a very solid defender is a solid foundation. He knows to angle his body to make it harder for opponents to get to the spaces they want - so clever. He did tend to get beaten by quick first steps of drivers, so foot speed and adjusting to what a given opponent tends to do with come with summer physical and film preparation. He's got his head on a swivel and anticipates well and has active hands on help D so that he gets into passing lanes to deflect passes and get steals, he rotates to double or prevent drives, gets his hands into scrambles to contest possessions, and has good upright positioning to make it hard to get by him. He will definitely need to get physically stronger as he got bodied around on post-ups and some rebounds, but as he does get stronger, I'm confident that he will use the smarts and positioning he already does to full advantage to get and keep the ball.

The one player with wonderful size for the position is Keita Bates-Diop, the player we would have drafted had he been available. I think he's a smart player, good defender, good with physicality on both ends, and has shown some flair in finishing around the rim as well as being able to stretch the floor with 3s. He's bounced around a bit, and his numbers are career lows with us from minutes to efficiency at 2s, 3s, and FT's. But I like what I saw from the limited minutes he played and would like to see how he could grow in our development program.

As a team we ranked last in number of attempts from 3 with 28.4 per game, and ranked 24th in efficiency at 35%. There isn't necessarily a direct correlation between winning and the number of 3s taken: Houston, Toronto, Golden State, and Minnesota ranked 3,4,5, and 7 respectively; LA Lakers, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington ranked 24, 26, 27, and 29 respectively. But there is a correlation to better records and efficiency from the 3 - all but Golden State in the top 10 are in the playoffs. There are some anomalies like Memphis, Washington and LA Lakers who each rank in the bottom third in attempts and efficiency, but they're also on the bottom of playoff bracket, all needing to win the play-in games to get to the playoffs. Each also had unique circumstances and strengths (or playing without them) that affected their positioning.

We moved to a more transition-oriented style that better suited the young guys. We tried incorporating LMA into it as I stated in the bigs post, but it proved an unfruitful combination. Still, during his time this season, we used LMA 22.7% in his 15 games. That's still good for 4th on the team this season. That's plenty of opportunity to see if it could work. Transition won out.

DeMar led us in usage at 26.1%, scoring at 21.6PPG, and assists with6.9 per game. I expect that should he not return, the shot distribution will open up and allow for the Devins and Lukas of the team to get more chances to contribute on O. The assists will have to come from more than just our back court as DJ (5.4), Derrick (3.5) and Patty (2.4) who rank next on the list behind DeMar. Everyone else ranks under 2 assists per game. Keldon is at 1.8 and Devin is a 0.9 so we will collectively need to be better at moving the ball, at cutting and finding cutters, and at running plays that maximize movement.

Side note: much media attention has been given to Kyle Anderson's play and should we have matched the offer. Well, truth be told, he's a terrific defender and has the size we lack at SF, but up until this season, he really didn't perform up to that contract. This season he's averaging 12.4PPG, 5.7 boards, 3.6 assists - this while having been moved to the PF position. We're already getting 12.8PPG, 6 rebounds, 1.8 assists on slightly lower efficiency from Keldon who is six years younger on a rookie contract. Let's not over-react to Kyle's experience and solid but unremarkable play and trust in the development of our players who show such promise.

I can't wait to see what a summer of reps, film, and experience rewards us with next season. It'll be interesting to see whether we address the 3 position somehow, though I expect the Keldon / Devin combination to get the bulk of the work if we go the internal development route.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#5 » by GREY 1769 » Thu May 27, 2021 6:07 am

GUARDS. This was once again a position replete with players, and given our circumstances, it's a good thing because we've had to deal with injuries to key players from among the group for the past couple of years.

Only Patty played PG 100% this season out of all our guards. Next was Tre who played 92% at PG and 8% at SG. DJ played 63% as PG and 37% at SG. So that covers the players who are more PG than anything else, even though I think DJ really has a 2/3 mindset in a PG position and body and is learning and improving at the 1.

Next, those who are more in the combo guard category than the first group, Derrick played 13% at PG, 70% at SG, and 17% at SF. Devin split his time at the 2/3 fairly evenly with 46% of the time at SG and 52% at SF (1% each at PG and PF). Quinn played 17% at PG, 81% at SG, and 2% at SF. Lonnie played 3% at PG, 79% at SG, and 17% at SF.

So that's SEVEN players playing significant minutes at either the 1 or 2, and EIGHT if we include DeMar who wasn't listed as playing either position but of course as we saw he brought up and handled the ball plenty of times to initiate the O.

DJ and Derrick are re-signed to long-term deals. Patty and DeMar are UFAs. Quinn was on a two-way contract and is a RFA. Lonnie can be up for an extension this summer (I think he gets it but his comps-to-potential range is hard to gauge financially) otherwise he becomes RFA at the end of this upcoming season in 2022. Devin and Tre are on rookie contracts.

So at worst we will still have six guards going into next season. To add to this, we had 6'7 SF Cameron Reynolds come up from the G-League team, but we let him sign with the Rockets and picked up ANOTHER guard off waivers in 6'5" DaQuan Jeffries. Don't look now, that's SEVEN players in the 6'1" - 6'5" range covering the 1,2,3 positions. Still feels like we're looking to make some moves here even as their respective games and skill sets are quite diverse among them.

DJ and Derrick took turns being the lead PG as each was out for extended time with injuries. Each has strengths the other needs to work on on O and both are excellent defenders. We finally got to see them as a tandem in meaningful minutes in the bubble last season. DJ sort of plateaued then, but Derrick raised his game to a whole new level averaging over 18PPG and taking far more 3s per game. Spurs coaches have been pushing him to assert his O game consistently for a while and something finally clicked. The return of Derrick from the Denver series the season prior and then some was a revelation. Cue the toe injury...

DJ completed his fourth year (losing one to injury) and reached career highs in minutes per game at 31.9 (up around 6.5 from last season), points per game at 15.7 (up almost 4 points from last season), FG attempts per game at 14.5 (up 4.8 from last season), 3pt attempts per game at 3 (up 1.3 from last season), assists per game at 5.4 (up 1.3 from last season), rebounds per game at 7.1 (up 1.3 from last season).

These ranked DJ THIRD on the team in usage at 23.4% (.2 behind Rudy; DeMar lead the team), SECOND behind DeMar in MPG, FGAs, 2PAs at 11.6, FG's made at 6.6 per game, PPG, assists per game, TO's per game with only 1.7, SECOND behind Jakob in total rebounds per game and total rebounds (473), FIRST on the team in total minutes played with 2139, total FGAs with 974, steals at 1.5 per game.

DJ's efficiency dipped slightly in FGs with 45.3% from 46.2% last season, and FTs at 79.1% from 79.8% last season, dipped noticeably from 3 at 31.7% from 36.9% last season, and so his eFG% dipped to 48.5% from 49.4% last season despite his 2pt% improving to 48.8% up from 48.1%.

The numbers have him generally trending well the right way and noticeably well in some specific categories. It's not a given that more shots or giving up the ball necessarily will result in more points in assists so credit to DJ where it's due.

The PG position as floor general has to run not only himself but the team as the main extension of Pop on the court. He has to direct team mates, dictate pace, read, react, and adjust to defenses' initial and secondary strategies, as well as become adept in two-man games with P&Rs, passes to the right spots for teammates, off ball movement, and find his shots. The latter has generally come more naturally to him, but again to his credit, he's become better in P&R execution, developing a better chemistry with Jakob and making accurate bounce passes and dishes into slithers of open space on drives. He's better at driving and kicking out, and finding teammates on the weak side, especially the corners. He's better in getting the ball to cutters, too.

Playing with the previous generation behind TP and later with LMA and DeMar in half-court heavy sets forced him to learn the game outside of his natural comfort zone which is a huge benefit as he's more naturally adept in transition where his speed and athleticism helped find teammates running ahead. He's a willing passer even as he hasn't always recognized the right pass available soon enough in the play. He's gotten better at that, and equally important, is coachable and wants to get better at it. He's not as adept at seeing and making cross court passes, so perhaps that's something he can add to his tool bag.

I've mentioned this before in some game threads, but DJ had a significant stretch of games where he'd flat out get beaten by an opponent's first step and drive even though he stayed with the play and tried to disrupt the shot from behind or get the rebound. This first step blow by had something to do with his foot work where he'd take huge steps to try and stay with defenders but in doing so he just couldn't recover quickly enough. He eventually made an adjustment towards the later stages of the season so that he had a wide stance in bodying opponents but shortened the distance between his steps on their drives to good effect. He was able to better stay on the hips of drivers when not in front of them and this helped the help D make better adjustments, too.

DJ's Inspector Gadget arms and poke steals have always been a defining part of his game, and this season he has far better blended the instincts to pounce and the experience to not foul whether the opponent is in front of him or he's poking from behind. And he's gutsy in making the play in crucial times that affect the late game outcome or set the tone early.

His handles improved noticeably this season to where he is able to create space with his cross over and dance with the ball on a string to get to his spots using screens very well. Great rhythm and timing.

He's also learned from DeMar in finding pockets of space and creating room for mid range shots, particularly just to the right of the key and at the top of the key. His overall shot distribution was 79.6% from 2s and 20.4% from 3. More on this point later in the context of starters and the team more broadly, but he has to make a shift into increasing his 3s. Also, with all the transition push we've made, he has taken most of his 2s from the 10-16ft range and the second fewest in the 0-3ft range. It does depend on the given opportunities we create and the chances to drive versus a given opponent, but overall, he could and should drive more to generate more FT attempts.

DJ ranks fourth on our team in FT attempts but it's only 2 per game. This ranks 84th among all guards in the NBA. For all his speed, handling, and finishing ability, one area of improvement to his game is creating more chances to get to the FT line. Yes his physical frame and 180lbs aren't optimal for contact, but DJ has actually improved his finishing at the rim. He used to be erratic and the results were hit or miss but he's developed this high arching shot to get it over taller defenders and uses the glass, angles and touch very well. His 0-3ft efficiency is actually his highest at 64.9% whereas the 2s he takes the most (10-16ft) he's third least efficient of four categories, making 45.2% of them. It's great he's worked to find more of his go-to shots on the court, but hopefully the next step is making adjustments to these tendencies.

So, to sum up areas of improvement: keep expanding passing vision so that he sees the available option and makes it quicker, and work on cross court passes as well. With DeMar's status in the air, we could potentially be losing the team-high 6.9 assists per game, and so we'll need as much of a fill in with as much of the competence as we can get from DJ. Along the way if DJ could limit the one-hand passes that make Pop pull his hair out that would be great.

Take and make more 3s.

Adjust shot selection so that efficiency better matches number of shots from various areas (or just shoot great from all areas! Is that too much to ask?) There's just a slight disproportion between where he likes to and most takes his shots from and his accuracy there. His second most frequent shots are in the 3-10ft range, for example, which is 20.5% of his 2s, but he's least efficient from there at just 39%! The shot he takes least, however, the 0-3ft range, he's most efficient in. So definitely there are opportunities to become not only more efficient but also get to the FT line more.

DJ had a career-high five triple doubles this season. He's an easy stat stuffer. But we also went 2-3 in those games. Now those two wins were very early in the season, and the three losses were very late in the season so there were many other factors affecting the results. But combine these with DJ taking the most shots on the team this season with his playing the most minutes, and I wonder whether we can better balance this out next season. Part of this I think had to do with his spreading his wings with his game more this season, part of it is asserting himself as the more experienced of the young guys and stepping up when others were injured or struggling to score.

But I still wonder about his role: is DJ as secondary scoring option the player we need or the team most benefits from? Was this just a temporary happenstance because Keldon (at one point our second leading scorer) slowed down a bit and Derrick has been out? DJ can do a lot of things on both ends that show and that's great for us - so long as it's within the team concept and keeps elevating others as well.

He has a nice high release on his shot and the mechanics and reliability have gone hand in hand. Now it's a matter of creating opportunities in areas the team needs more and more in areas where he's most efficient. It's not that the mid range should be ignored, you still take what the defense gives you, but the patterns show what they do, and so there are spots to fill in with better play from recognition of shot creation and selection.

It feels strange to say at once 'shoot more' and 'do we need him to be the secondary scorer', but it's because I still wonder about who he really is as a player. Yes he's the starting PG, but as I've mentioned, because he can do so many things well, it's like he gets into a 1-2-3 position mode. When team mates are struggling, it's great that he's that spark. But at times it can also freeze team mates out. There were a couple of games in which he was clearly fuming in post-game interviews about having a hot first half only to take like 2 or 3 shots in the second and he basically said ask the coaches. Well it should have occurred to him on his own to get others better involved and if it didn't, the coaches had to step in and balance things out. It didn't happen too often, so it's not a concern, and you can't help but love the passion, but he's being taught to channel it in the best way on each play.

He has a tendency to go mano-a-mano versus specific opponents, too, which should only last so long in a team concept. He's great when he's on, but he's not that put-the-team-on-my-back go-to on O guy. The numbers don't back it up. Yet. We'll see how his game grows over the summer.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#6 » by GREY 1769 » Mon May 31, 2021 7:10 pm

I meant to finish about guards in one post but went long with DJ alone. Part of it is side effects of cabin fever from quarantine. And anyway, we have so many guards it's hard to cover all of them in detail in a single post.

Derrick. It's hard to be objective because he's my favourite. That said, I think he's our best guard in that he's the most complete and balanced with a two-way skill set that is finally being realized.

Even though DJ was drafted a year before Derrick, they've both played four seasons as pros because DJ missed a year due to injury. Derrick is two years older, so he came to us more seasoned with skills honed through four playing years at college.

In his first year, Derrick split time between PG at 45% and SG at 50% (with 5% at SF); second year, 83% at PG and 17% at SG - this was the season DJ was out, so Derrick stepped up capably, learning on the fly the nuances of the PG position at the pro level with the Spurs; third year, 9% at PG and 84% at SG (with 7% at SF) - DJ was back and largely allowed to play through return from injury (not handling a bench role for eight or so games well. It wasn't a demotion but better for him as he was struggling and better for the team) and Derrick without a word of complaint went back to a bench SG role next to Patty at PG; fourth year, 13% at PG and 70% at SG (with 17% at SF) - starting alongside DJ, after the switch was made in the bubble last season and was so successful.

All of this is to show that Derrick is a true combo guard who deftly slides into one or the other position. That he's a better natural facilitator than DJ at PG is also in part because he hasn't looked for his shot as assertively in the past. Selfless to a fault. It has taken coaxing from Pop et al to get him to unlock more of his O game and actually look for his shot. When he started in the 2019 playoffs versus Denver, we saw a glimpse of what that looked like. Then we got another glimpse of it in the 2020 bubble where he averaged 18PPG and took around 8 3s per game, and now again this season alongside DJ.

Derrick averaged a team-high 6.8 3 attempts per game; DJ was the second highest regular starter with 3; sometime starter Lonnie averaged 4.7. So with Derrick our back court averaged 9.8 attempts from 3 per game, and without him, 7.7.

The 6.8 attempts ranks Derrick 31st in the league overall, and 28th among guards. Put in another context, without Derrick, 18 players averaged at or better individually than the 7.7 attempted 3s of our starting back court. It goes to show the impact Derrick has in spreading the floor given that he is second only to Patty in averaging more than half of his shots from 3. Derrick had a fairly even split of 46.4% from 2s and 53.6% from 3.

What's terrific about his 2s distribution is that he's most efficient from the 2s he takes the most, and the 2s he takes the most are within 0-10 feet:

0-3ft: 14.3% of shots and makes 64.6% of them

3-10ft: 21% of shots and makes 47.4%

He barely takes shots outside of that range but when he does, he is very inefficient:

10-16ft: 8.2% of shots and makes just 27% of them

16ft-3pt line: 2.9% of shots and makes 38.5%

On the one hand, the shot distribution shows he takes smart shots; on the other, his efficiency outside of 0-3ft could use an all around increase, including from 3 where he connected on 34.6% which is good for 5th on the team among players who get regular minutes (7th if we include LMA and Trey but I don't because they only played 21 and 23 games respectively). Last season was his career best from 3 at 36.6% but it was on less than half the attempts this season.

Part of the big issue with Derrick is that this has been an injury-riddled season. He injured his toe late last season and had surgery in August of 2020, forcing him to miss training camp, pre-season, and the first four games as a result. He then re-injured it in his first game back and was out for a long while. Upon returning he struggled mightily with efficiency, often taking the most 3s but making near least of them. At long last he found rhythm and his erratic shooting settled. So his overall efficiency includes historically low shooting nights for context.

We were six games over .500 when we got hit with a dreaded Covid outbreak and Derrick was unfortunately one of the players out. It was another restart with yet another several games to get his wind and rhythm back and get his feet under him. And finally we lost Derrick for the rest of the season after a freak accident when he rolled his ankle on Jakob’s foot. We went 2-12 in those final games without him. As I mentioned before, there were several other factors that surely contributed to that result – schedule, fatigue, necessary line-up changes, etc. - but the overall numbers show we are a better team with Derrick playing: 18-18 with him throughout the trials of the season; 15-22 without (including the play-in which we maddeningly lost by a mere 4 points after an abysmal start).

With these several restarts for Derrick (and the team with and without him) it was frustrating for him to not stay consistent on O, but his D was ever reliable. Whereas DJ excels in the pounce poke when facing players, Derrick excels at blocking and taking charges as well as staying with drivers better. He’s heavier and has a bigger frame but he still manages to stay with drivers because he is very light footed. He is always on the balls of his feet when he shuffles them (the biggest contrast on D is DeMar who is surprisingly flat footed, especially given his off-season boxing workouts, especially given how light footed he is on O). The shuffles are also small and quick which enable Derrick to stay balanced and physically disrupt drivers – upright stance, arms up, constant presence without fouling. And his timing on blocks and charges taken have remained ever on point. Derrick was second behind Jakob on the team with one block per game.

Positives: Despite playing only 36 games, Derrick still managed to rank 4th in total blocks on the team with 36 (and was the top non-big); tied for 4th in steals per game with 0.7 (and ranked 9th in total steals on the team with 26); 4th in 3s attempted with 243; 4th in 3s made with 84; 5th in FT’s attempted with 114; 4th in FT’s made with 97; 5th in assists with 127. And he ranked 6th in the entire league at charges taken per game at 0.39; he tied for 7th in the league with 14 in total, reaching the mark in the fewest games played.

For the second year in a row, Derrick led the team in offensive fouls drawn with 29 (again, in only 36 games!) and was 5th in shooting fouls drawn, a category he led the team in the year before when he played 68 games.

Derrick averaged career highs with 29.6MPG (about 5 minutes more than last season), usage at 22.4% (4% up from last season, good for 5th this season, 4th once LMA left); 15.4PPG (4.1 more than last season), 12.6FGAs (4.5 more than last season, with the majority of it coming from the 3: 5.8 attempts from 2s - up from 4.9 in the previous season, and 6.8 from 3 - up from 3.2 last season).

Battling through a tough seesaw season may have contributed to Derrick’s assist and rebound numbers remaining right around his career average. Despite his FG% dropping about 4% below his career average, he was a steady presence on the court. He has a calming and focused way about him that infuses others especially in tense times. He also has a knack for taking and making clutch shots and plays at key moments in games. These are things that don’t necessarily show in stats, but reap huge positive rewards when we remained poised and made the right play because the guy with the ball steadied the ship.

Derrick switched his shot selection significantly. For the first time in his career, 3s comprised more than 39.4% of his shots (his previous high in his first season). Making the adjustment to also take and make the majority of his 2s from 0-10 feet solidified that his improvement wasn’t a one-off. He continued to make a concerted effort this season to assert himself from the 3 and in driving to the basket.

Things to improve: As to the latter, Derrick averaged 25.2% in number of FT attempts per FG attempt. Far better than DJ’s, but Derrick can still improve. Developing hesitation moves will help draw fouls better. Watch DeMar film. Repeat. DD’s our best G/F at it by a noticeable amount, and the rest of our G/F’s need to improve at getting to the FT line.

Once Derrick gets consistent minutes and games, hopefully he can get his assist and rebound rates up. It remains to be seen which of our FA’s we re-sign, but regardless we need our young guys to keep making the next steps in their games.

While Derrick’s made 2s were almost evenly split between assisted and unassisted as he’s now far more assertive in looking for and creating his own shot, only 13.1% of his made 3s were unassisted. And it’s fine that most of his 3s come from ball movement. But given that the majority of his made FG’s were assisted by DeMar (34), Derrick will need to take more of his shots from his own dribble.

To that end, ball handling is one aspect of Derrick’s game that noticeably lags behind DJ’s, and it’s an area of his game that he has to work on this summer. He’s a more known O player now and defenders target ways to exploit weaknesses. He was targeted by defenders who corralled him on drives and as a result he tended to either lose his dribble or pick up the ball. He was pressured and doubled in tight spaces and couldn’t dribble his way through or out of them like DeMar and now DJ are capable of doing. Developing better handles will help in creating his own shots and preserving O possessions.

He made an incredible 50% of his 3s from the left corner (all assisted) and 45.8% from the right corner (all assisted), but does need to improve his 3s from above the break where he connected on only 31.7% (on a 82.5% assisted / 17.5% unassisted split).

In general, Derrick was more efficient in scoring from catch and shoot rather than pull up shots. He used C&S more frequently (41.8%) compared to pull ups (24.6%) and he connected on his 2s at 40% on C&S and 33.3% on pull ups. On 3s the difference was more glaring: he made 37% of 3s from C&S and only 26.3% from pull ups. Something else to add to his toolkit.

Derrick’s filled into his frame well and surprises defenders with his bulk and strength on drives. He has a great floater and finishes at the rim with fundamentals. He’s been trending the right way his whole career so I expect him to continue to improve. If I see that handles and certain specific types of shots need work, I’m sure the coaching staff are far more aware and have a plan in place to improve them. He uses his body so well defensively, forcing angles that make drivers uncomfortable, making them either use outside lanes or prevent drives all together and force passes instead. He also uses it so willingly that we just hold our breath each time he steps up to take a charge or go for a block against a bigger player. It’s that willingness to sacrifice his body and lead by example that makes him such a glue guy, so important to winning, and so endearing to fans.

He’s had a freaky streak of injuries this season that surely frustrated him and affected our W’s. It comes after some weird injuries previously, be it plantar issues, or a wrist injury, or that head injury after a bad spill during the World Cup. I don’t think he easily injures so much as he’s been a bit accident prone. Hopefully he got all of them out of his system this season. It maybe also be a case of bigger role, bigger necessity in tending to body maintenance and injury prevention as well as bloody better luck.

So even in an injury-riddled season, Derrick’s defense was stellar. There are some aspects of his O to work on, but even with that, I think he’s the best overall guard we have (bias fully admitted). I’m thinking about some trades we may consider to address our guard glut and roster imbalance, but Derrick isn’t in any of the scenarios. It’s not that I have anything against our other guards; it’s mostly a gut feeling about the solid, stable presence he has in leading our team and the improvements he’s continuing to make along the way.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#7 » by GREY 1769 » Wed Jun 2, 2021 8:46 pm

Now that I'm officially finished my mandatory quarantine (and was negative throughout, plus I've had a first vaccine already), these should be shorter :D

Lonnie: This was Lonnie's third playing year after missing his first with injury. Last season he was pining on social media hinting for more of a chance with more minutes. Well this season he was second only to Keldon's 10.8MPG increase with 9.2 (even higher than Jakob's 9MPG who replaced LMA as starter). He ranked 6th on the team with 1522 total minutes played. Lonnie reached career highs with 11.2PPG (up from 6.4 last season), 10.2FGAs (up from 5.9 last season), 81.4FT% (up from 72.1% last season), and 38 games as starter (up from 12 last season).

Despite all that, you can't help but feel that there's a lot that wasn't tapped into, and that he has yet to put all that considerable athleticism together. After all that pining publicly (if not overtly) for a bigger chance, I can't help but feel it was a disappointing season in terms of unrealized potential.

Lonnie's rebounding total increased only to 2.6 (from 2.3 last season). It may sound like a strange criticism given that, for example, Derrick's actually dropped to 3 rebounds per game from 3.3 last season. True Derrick played more minutes, and playing alongside DJ can limit rebounding numbers, so even if both are lower than we hope, Lonnie's athleticism and playing alongside other guards like Patty would have brought rebounding up higher. Alongside rebounds, Lonnie's assists increased to only 1.7 per game up from 1.1 last season. Again, Derrick's plateaued at 3.3 which is what he had last season, but he also had a ton of time missed and had deal with all that came with returning from injuries time and again. Plus he had far bigger O role this season as well. Even Jakob had more assists per game with 1.9, and his usage ranked 17th out of 18 listed players at 13.4%.

Again, the trajectory is going the right way for Lonnie, just not at the rate proportionate to opportunity given he ranked 6th in usage at 20.1% (5th is we take away LMA). He was part of the six (or five sans LMA) Spurs to rank in the 20% or higher usage group, even ranking higher than Keldon's 19.2%. Sure we got more PPG from Lonnie, and more 3s, but improvements in areas that help others are necessary.

Perhaps the Derrick comparison is unfair as Derrick is our best combo guard, but it's also a good reference point for Lonnie to aspire to. Despite Derrick missing so many games (or despite Lonnie having a much bigger opportunity to step up and playing many more games), he still averaged more rebounds and assists per game than Lonnie.

Most glaring is Lonnie's FT rate: he averaged only 1.2FTAs per game, up from 1 last season. Given his biggest improvement in efficiency was at the FT line, you'd have thought he'd make it more of a go-to move. With his cheetah speed and acrobatic athleticism, Lonnie tantalizes with the package he possesses, but we don't get as much out of it here as we could and should.

Alongside that, I've written before in post-game posts about how Lonnie has a bizarre stat: the closer he is to the basket, the lower his efficiency is. He is terrible at finishing at the basket, especially given how easily he can get there, and at times he's his own worst stumbling block. With all that athleticism, Lonnie at times does a lot of unnecessary flourishes at the rim - a scoop, or fancy movement or layins when a simple off the glass finish with fundamentals will do. And when he does use the glass, the angles and touch are off. It's like his speed is too fast even for him that when he gets to the rim he rushes to finish because he got there so fast it surprised him.

To his credit, Lonnie has toned down the extra fancy moves a lot this season. But he does tend to start with fundamentals, then when he gets going he tries a couple of fancy finishes with predictable results. Let's take a look:

0-3ft: taken 22.7% of the time, making 57.2% of them

3-10ft: taken 10.2% of the time, making 42.4% of them

10-16ft: taken 9.2% of the time, making 41.1% of them

16ft-3pt line: taken 11% of the time, making 38.8% of them

Now that first row looks right: most of the 2s came from the best distance, and he made the highest percentage of them. HOWEVER, that 57.2% efficiency at the rim ranks Lonnie LAST ON THE TEAM! Cam Reynolds was the only one below him but he played six minutes total this season and is no longer on the team. Literally every other Spur, regular or spotty minutes, finished BETTER than Lonnie at the rim. This is astonishing and unacceptable from our best pure athlete, probably our fastest player as well, and one who took MOST of his 2s from this distance. It's like the most bizarre stat.

And then the subsequent efficiency for the other distances rank him higher the farther from the basket he is. Again, a bizarre pattern.

That 22.7% of his 2s at the rim ranked Lonnie 10th on the team at the 0-3ft distance, but second only to Keldon among non-bigs, which is important for us. We're a drive and kick team, at times to a fault where we have the open lane but choose to kick out for the harder, farther shot. I'm more of a take the shot the defense gives you lady, but I'm just a fan on a board so what do I know? Still, in the practical realm of making the most of a given opportunity, you hope we take and make more of the sensible, available options. But more on that later in a post about overall team progress later.

Unfortunately the corollary between Lonnie taking all those drives and shots at the rim - and from anywhere else, really - did not translate to opportunities at the FT line. Lonnie's FT attempt rate per FG attempt was again LAST on the team at 11.5%. It's hard to overstress how crucial finishing at the rim and getting to the FT line is for us, especially given that Lonnie made such big efficiency strides at the FT line, and given that we ranked tied for 9th in the league in efficiency at 79.2% and tied for 11th in FTAs at 22 per game.

On a positive note, Lonnie, like Derrick, changed his shot distribution so that it's more evenly split between 2s at 53.7% of total shots taken and 3s at 46.3%. This is a huge shift from the previous two seasons where 71.7% of his shots were 2s and 28.3% were 3s. Given that Lonnie is one of our best 3 shooters at 35.5% (third in regular minutes played behind Rudy and Patty), and we sorely need 3 shooting, this was a big positive step forward.

His form on J's and 3s in particular is textbook and beautiful. It's also beautiful when he gets to the rim, just saying.

This brings me to the biggest issue overall with Lonnie: consistency. I'd say he's improved with being a more reliable defender. He has said in interviews that he doesn't care about whether he starts or comes off the bench, he just wants to be one of the guys out there finishing the games. That was an interesting comment to make, and I think his D helped have him out there being subbed in for DeMar at times for defensive purposes. He has a great body type, athleticism, and strength to make it hard for defenders to get by him. When he's engaged, he uses his wide stance, strong legs, good footwork, and upright positioning with arms up to stay very well with drivers and force them into secondary options or bad shots.

There are also times when Lonnie took plays off or didn't put in the full effort that still has room for improvement. Watching drivers get to the rim or reaching in with his hand for lazy fouls will hopefully keep improving. He has no little choice with a D-first minded team filled with responsible defenders. Even if he's going to go all DeMar on D on some plays and then try to make up for it on O like DeMar tries to, it's not our way. DeMar got more leeway as the go-to star who came to us molded a certain way from being allowed to play a certain way his whole career. We're not about that kind of development. Lonnie knows it, has shown improvement, and hopefully will continue to do so. He's been yanked enough by Pop to know that Pop will not hesitate to continue to yank him if he gets lazy, plain and simple.

There are aspects to Lonnie's D that will also grow over time. I felt that the starting role was too much for him at times (welcome to opportunity by fire!), and a return to the bench made us better balanced on both lines. Lonnie has gotten better at rotations especially with effort in making them, but will need more seasoning in understanding where to anticipate going to as he gets better at reading the plays developing.

Positives: Lonnie's showed glimpses of his ability to be a three-level scoring threat in the future. His 3s are reliable. Even if his efficiency dipped this season from last season's 40.6%, he attempted three more 3s per game this season. That shot distribution shift I mentioned earlier basically means Lonnie took 1.3 more shots from 2s overall and 3 more from the arc, so that he took 5.5 2s and 4.7 3s per game this season.

All the efficiency work is paying off from foul line out. We'll need Lonnie to keep taking more of them, particularly from 3 and at the FT line, so the foundation for that was solidly set this season.

Lonnie handled the ball more this season, and was able to get to his spots from screens well. He probed more with the ball to see how defenses would react, and was ever wonderful in transition using his speed and athleticism to gain the advantage and get ahead of defenders in the open court. I loved those times when he'd bring the ball up at a trot, see the open lane well ahead, and just pounce in for a drive before a defender could even react. While Lonnie's efficiency at the rim has a lot of room for improvement, his willingness and ability to absorb contact there was noticeable and impressive.

I liked what I saw from Lonnie's weak side cuts to get open and take passes to the rim, too.

Lonnie's assists at times were very impressive seeing-eye-passes, too. His drives and kick outs to the corners stood out, as did drives and dishes to bigs. Nice finds in passes to cutters stood out at times, too.

Things to improve: I've criticized a lot of Lonnie's game in this post, and feel a bit bad given the improvements he's made. But in a way it's also a compliment because I believe his game can give so much more. Lonnie himself said he was disappointed in his season and has a lot to work on so that's great to hear.

Finishing at the rim is the obvious one. And when he gets there (and from all his shots in general), generating FT opportunities is a next step. Lots of fakes, spins, footwork from DeMar film is a requisite for all our young guys.

Lonnie's drives and kick outs were at times erratic. He tends to make least of them when in the air, so while I appreciate the effort, it will need some more work to get the ball to the right spots on those. It's a hard play to make, one that DeMar makes look far too easy, and one that DJ has noticeably improved in as well. Lonnie has made it, just not consistently.

Decision making with the ball will also need work. Lonnie's handles improved this season, and he was able to create some space with his dribbling. But in many of those times when he'd drive in a bit to probe what defenses would do, he'd pull back out and then just pass. It was a lot of clock use and wasted possession time with nothing to show for it. It's a first step to seeing his opportunities and making more of the right plays, but it didn't really improve throughout the season. That was the pattern he stuck to. The more the ball sticks with one player, the more defenses have time to set up. He has the handles to do more with it, so more assertive action with the ball whether it's finding lanes or passing sooner will help him and us.

I'd like to see Lonnie in more off-ball movement going forward. We don't know what the situation will be with Patty on the team, and he was the guy who moved the most off ball. Taking in parts of DeMar's passing and Patty's off ball games will help Lonnie add to his tool kit, expand his game, and help the team be able to run more plays.

Overall consistency: Besides the 3 and improving consistency on D, we never really knew which Lonnie we'd see on O in a given game. It's a wonder he nearly doubled his PPG this season given that, but it also shows that he can give more of what his skill set teases.

Part of that inconsistency so far in his career may have to do with the injury start, but after that with playing various positions more or less from one year to the next. In his first full year, Lonnie split duties at PG 42%, SG 45%, and SF 14%; last season he played PG 3%, SG 24%, and SF 73%; this season he played PG 3%, SG 79%, and SF 17%. You could argue we're rounding him out seeing where he best fits and developing a broader skill set to make him and us more versatile. With some players the cost is broader and deeper but slower development. At 6'4" I think regular SF minutes is a lot to ask but we were also in a tricky position last season of needing someone to fill in that role. To his credit, Lonnie filled the role asked of him

I think he slots in very well at the SG position, and he seemed to flourish most at this position. Despite the majority of his FGs coming from DeMar assists (47) like most of our players, Lonnie also made the next most FGs from passes from DJ (43) and Keldon (21), LMA (15), Jakob (13), and surprisingly only 10 from Patty. All of this is to say that I like that we're getting more dishes from our young guys, but that despite the DeMar passing output, Lonnie tended to operate with more freedom without DeMar beside him. Whether that's a function of DeMar's high usage or Lonnie's deferring to him when sharing the court or both, Lonnie was more assertive when he wasn't sharing court time with DeMar.

There were times when he's barely get any shots at the half as a starter; there were times when he's barely get to touch the ball but to move it to get it back to DeMar. So in terms of consistency, it's no wonder Lonnie held the ball a little longer when he had the chance to handle it, and it's no wonder that he'll need to both be more involved in the schemes as well as be more assertive with the ball (see Johnson, Keldon).

Making the most of his chances will help bring Lonnie up from middling team impact: this season he ranked 15th on the team in both offensive and defensive rating, 14th in win shares at 0.4, 17th in win shares per 48 at .012 (league average is .100), and last at 18th in value over replacement player with -0.7.

I believe Lonnie is a far better player than those stats above showed this season, and putting together more of his considerable skill set and continuing to push for more chances to do so with his good two-way play will bring about a positive change in impact for him and for us.

Lonnie's very coachable even if more of a sensitive, emotional type of guy. You could see it in his frustrations at not executing what Pop wanted or how he wanted. He's been through A LOT in his young life, and dealing with all of that as well as adjusting to being a professional is a ton for a young person growing into manhood to handle. I'm proud of all of that even as I seem tougher on him than on Derrick or even DJ. He has that much talent still left to tap into. He was crestfallen after the final game's interview, but vowed since then to work on his whole game.

One of Lonnie's best qualities is his resilience. It's quite moving and impressive that he's bounced back from so many personal trials and professional set backs. I hope that we see a break out season from him next year. He's frankly got the best package to do so and be a three-level scorer for us as well as a fully capable two-way player. A three-way scoring, defending, passing complete player is what there is to realize with Lonnie.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#8 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Jun 3, 2021 12:37 am

Patty: Full disclosure, he's my favourite player on the team. Derrick, too, so I'll just say Patty is my favourite vet, and Derrick is my favourite young guy.

Patty is our spirit leader, our longest serving Spur, our long-term vision planter in that he sees the short and long term goals and is integral to planting the seeds for now and for the future. He's just an ultimate glue guy who is a consummate pro, who is very willing to pass on knowledge and culture, and does whatever's asked of him no matter the situation.

And the situation this season has been unlike any other. What was asked of him was to be the backup PG plain and simple. Only he and Jakob played their sole positions 100%. It's quite a change from the Swiss Army knife duties Patty pulled in years past when we were depleted at guard. I know that basketball-reference.com lists him as PG 100% of the time throughout his whole career, but I also know Pop had him out there in spots at other positions as well. But this season with the position well and truly stocked, Patty was able to focus on it and be more of a sharp shooter which we needed, in addition to being the steady even keeled support fora young, burgeoning group.

Despite all the guards we have, Patty logged a lot of minutes. He averaged 24.8 per game, which ranks as the second highest of his career. His 1685 minutes played put him 5th on the team. I've been trying to find a stat I know I saved somewhere which said that Patty led the team in miles run off ball, and that was both not a surprise given his movement, and a reason why he hit a wall in the second half of the season and why why needed to rest him.

Not only was it an unprecedented season due to the pandemic, but the brutal schedule which compact our second half all the more meant that Patty was doing all that running with only one day off between games. It's a lot to ask while also needing him to be a go-to scoring punch. The one goes hand-in-hand with the other, and so when fatigue set in, the legs went a bit and Patty's efficiency took a nose dive in April and May. All season prior he had steady averages of above 41FG% and high 30s percentile from 3. Then in April these dropped to 34.3FG% and 31.3% from 3, and in May they were at 35FG% and 34.9% from 3.

It was tough to watch Patty trying to find his range as his legs under him just weren't giving him the same lift. He had games where purposely took few shots and tried to get others involved through ball movement, off ball movement, and being a dogged defender. He's been maligned in this respect especially after last season, but I think he has grown into a capable pest defender. He's 6'1" but more stocky and strong now, so when he gets into his wide stance he's actually done very well to get right up into opponents and because he's smaller he gets into pockets of their space other players usually don't get into and that makes things uncomfortable for players with the ball. He's also harder to get past physically in that stance than opponents suppose until they try.

Patty has done a great job fighting to run over screens and is frankly quite good at selling calls when he gets hit on them. He rotates well, contests with arm up, and has great foot movement to be a pest to try to get around. It's a great example for the young guards who are smaller of how to use your size to your advantage.

On O Patty has a long developed skill of finishing deftly at the basket versus bigger defenders. Though Patty ranked just above Lonnie in terms of number of FT attempts per FG attempt at 12.8%, it's a function of 70.2% of his shots coming from beyond the arc which led the team by a wide margin. Derrick was second there with 53.6% of his shots being 3s. Still, when he did get to the FT line, Patty was our best, most reliable scorer, making a fantastic 91%. He was the only Spur this season in the 90 percentile.

Given that the majority of Patty's shots were from 3, it is no surprise that he ranked 1st by a wide margin in both the number of 3s taken with 429 (Lonnie ranked 2nd with 282; Rudy, 3rd with 278), and the number made with 161 (Rudy was 2nd with 106; Lonnie, 3rd with 100 - these were the only players to reach the 100 made 3s mark, one that Derrick surely would have also reached as he made 84 in only 36 games).

The 161 made 3s ranked Patty 32nd in the league, 7 more than Bryn, 9 fewer than Bertans, for context about roles and commensurate salary. Both of the latter players who used to play for us have the 3 as their calling card, both are defensive sieves, and more about their best shot than broader games. And that's fine. Wish them well. But Patty finally got paid his worth after, I would argue, getting under-paid to stay with us. The loyalty goes both ways. He kept rewarding us with fine play for his position and exceptional leadership while taking a pay cut; we gave him more in this contract to better reflect all he does and all he provides for the team beyond what shows up on stats.

Patty was 10th in usage at 18.4% but still managed to rank 5th in total FGAs with 611, making 252 of them, good for 7th on the team.

If there's an emphasis on Patty's scoring it's because it's what he was mostly focused on doing: Get open, make your shot, repeat. And get open and make his shots, for the most part, Patty did. His P&R with Jakob was terrific and he craftily hid behind Jakob's capable screens to take his 3s. Most of his attempts from the arc came above the break (361) but he was least efficient from there, making 36% of them. However, given the volume of attempts, that also translates into 130 made 3s from that quick release. On the right corner, Patty made 12-28 3s good for a terrific 42.9% and on the left corner, the sweet spot, he made 19-40 3s, good for a stellar 47.5%.

So even though Patty had a rough final two months of the season (though he picked it up a bit in May after some much needed days off for rest, including one of the games I traveled to San Antonio to watch, but I digress, and truly it's ok, he played in the other two and was great in the Bucks game!) he still averaged 10.8PPG (the 8th Spur in double figures), 41.2FG%, 37.5% from 3 (2nd best on the team from among players with regular minutes behind Rudy), and team-best 91FT%.

Even though Patty only averaged 1.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists this season, these have never really been his role. His best rebounding season was 2.2 per game, and best assist season was 3.5 per game. Patty excels at what we need him to do: be a reliable sharp shooter, be a great off ball mover, be a solid ball handler in pressure situations, make clutch FTs and shots, and defend well enough to not be a liability as well as set the occasional high screen (we ran these liberally, too).

On top of that, Patty's value goes well beyond the numbers and into a great vet presence, one who steadies the ship, who provides the instant energy, one who coaches the guys and supports them when Pop gets on them, one who is a consummate pro at game preparation and a consummate example about giving back off the court. I loved getting to see the interactions among the players on the bench that the camera doesn't show during games or timeouts. Whether he was playing or not, Patty was always out there supporting the guys, pulling them aside to talk to them about plays, having a hand on their shoulder for encouragement, keeping the team positive and loose in a way that was supportive of the focus required to the task at hand.

In short, Patty is the consummate Spur. As a favourite of mine and a valuable contributor of what we need most on the team I hope he's the one vet we keep. We are a better team with him on it, both on and off the court, both as a player and person.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#9 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Jun 3, 2021 5:17 am

This brings me very finally to the last two guards, Quinndary Weatherspoon and Tre Jones.

Quinn has hands down the best name on the team. It's cool, long or short - Q. We drafted Quinn, a beefy 6'3" SG, in 2019 and he's been on a two-way contract splitting time between the G-League and the Spurs after spending four years in college.

Tre, a 6'1" PG was drafted in 2020 and we signed him to a three-year guaranteed contract (third year is non-guaranteed) - rare - which speaks to our gladness of drafting him and desire to keep him.

Quinn played 11 games last season, and 20 this season; Tre played 37 games this season; both spent important time in the G-League. Tre got to play in a surprising number of Spurs games, but in end-of-game situations, they were often paired together.

They played 17 games together.

Tre was paired most with Devin, Drew, and Luka at 28 games each which makes sense as he was most familiar with Luka from G-League, he and Devin developed a bond having been drafted in the same year, and they and Drew comprised the bench pairings with Tre. Youth with youth.

Quinn was paired with Tre and Drew the most with 17 games each, with Devin for 15 games, with Keita for 12 games.

All of which is to say that it's interesting both got time with their younger counterparts, and that Tre got more of them despite being the less experienced rookie. Quinn got injured in the bubble so he couldn't get traction there, and I thought that with our guard glut Tre would have had a harder time getting minutes, but he got more. I have a feeling Tre is being groomed as the next main back-up PG whereas Quinn has been given some chances to force himself onto the team but hasn't shown enough.

Quinn has a big body who uses it well though at times he barrels through opponents too much on drives. He's was a very good 3 point shooter in college with most of his seasons averaging in the high 30s percentage, but it just hasn't translated at the pro level where he averages just 18.2% for his young career despite the FT rate still being very good as in college. His FG% is better this season at 45.7% up from 29.4% last season but he was only getting 1.8FGAs this season, a dit up from last season's 1.3FGAs. These are really numbers that you have to squint to see any significance from, but those were his numbers and they serve as a reference point.

To repeat, Pop always says to play in such a way that you make him look like an idiot for not giving you minutes. In other words, earn it. You can go back and forth about whether Quinn was given a fair shot versus whether he made the most of it. Call it both. Fine. He's a good floor general, pushes the ball well, makes decent passes and is physical, but the things that he did very well did not translate to impactful enough basketball. He is up for a QO next season and I wonder if we offer it for asset retention purposes or if we part ways given our already congested back court.

Tre has flashes of Patty in him in that he's always smiling, looks like he's having fun no matter the situation, and is already a dogged defender. There are some aspects that, when you don't have to teach because a guy is built a certain way already, are a clear advantage to begin with. He's a pest on defense, shuffling his legs constantly to stay on ball handlers, making it difficult to get easy open lanes. When I watched in the G-League, he was a capable floor general, a willing passer who made the right pass, and a gutsy shot taker. I like his drives, he's fearless in them, though what worked in the G-League has yet to translate consistently with the Spurs. Time and again when he drove he got blocked or he missed when going with his off hand on either side. Patty is excellent at finding those little pockets of space to squeeze the ball through arms of defenders. Tre isn't quite there yet.

Tre looks smaller than Patty out there even though they're both 6'1". Patty has a man's build and has both slimmed down and gained muscle. Tre isn't weak, but playing at the pro level will require him to get stronger.

In two years of college, Tre improved in FG%, efficiency from 3, FTs, rebounds and assists. So he has trended the right way by the time we drafted him. He comes from a NBA family and if he can turn into a backup PG similar to what his brother has done, we'll have drafted a gem in the second round. He has a lot of growing to do, and is in just the right program to do it. I think he's a keeper, and his contract reflects that, too.

He and Devin missed out on training camp and Summer League which are important for their ongoing development, and will get to experience both this upcoming season. Their off court connection grew as they were the two rookies going through the same weird experience this season, and hopefully this grows over the summer and into the new season. It can only benefit both them and us.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#10 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Jun 4, 2021 6:23 am

So where do we go from here? From top down and bottom up, we’re very solid despite the results of the last couple of years, actually more stable, and trending the right way because we’ve kept to doing things the right way.

Pop: He signed a three year contract and though there is some speculation about it, I expect him to honour his commitment. He signed it knowing that LMA and DeMar and Patty and Rudy would be FA’s this off-season at the latest, he signed it knowing he’d have to do double duty with the Olympics ahead, and he signed it, I think, with some team and individual milestones in mind.

What nobody knew was that there would be a bloody pandemic and all its consequences to deal with. It resulted in a season stoppage, a season resumption in the bubble, followed by a new season first filled with speculation and fear realized with infected players and coaches as well as unfortunate game stoppages, then with increasing hope as vaccines were administered and fans were allowed in arenas.

Along the way, Pop dealt with an Olympics postponed – meaning the arduous task of double duty and double focus for two years in a row, games postponed and schedule condensed due to a second Covid outbreak through the team (the first had two team personnel and Drew Eubanks out which thankfully didn’t spread further) that frankly derailed our season. We were six games over .500 at that point and subsequently missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season – a first for us.

Sounds like a downward trend, but it’s a point in a continuum. Before that, we fought our way through huge adversity to tie the record for most consecutive playoffs. So we did reach a huge team milestone that will be in the record books forever with Pop at the helm.

Before that, more roster upheaval and still made the playoffs; before that, probably the most trying year in terms of dealing with a devastating personal loss and a professional attack of the core of what we stand for – and still made the playoffs. It was a time when Pop needed the family of the team as much as the team needed Pop to get through it.

There was word that C's Stevens moved to the front office because he felt burned out from the bubble. I mean, when you talk about adversity in the last four years (and that’s just what we know of), has there been a coach who’s had to endure more and been more resilient? And yet there Pop was in the final game of the season, when we clinched a spot in the play-in already so nothing on the line in that sense, ripping into the ref so ferociously that I could feel the foot stomping and yelling all the way up in the stands. There he was all animated discussing positioning with DJ during a timeout. I mean, barring a health issue (and fingers crossed there isn’t one), there’s every indication that Pop has the juice to honour his contract. He showed it both in enduring a brutal season and in the engagement even in the final regular season game.

26. People keep saying Pop doesn’t care about personal milestones, that reaching and breaking the record for all time regular season wins doesn’t matter to him. Maybe. But I want it for him. And if his assistants convinced him to go to something as inconsequential as the All Star game in 2016, surely they and the players are aware of the magnitude of setting this record. It’s not just for Pop, but the players get to be part of something historic for him that is also in the record books for the team. I think this is a huge legacy marker for the franchise, and a big incentive for the players and team in a new season that will likely have some new faces to acclimate once again.

To that end, this season we were not able to bond like Pop has long established and the team has long enjoyed: brotherhood forged through breaking break. Pop, the rookies this season, rookies in the upcoming season, and new faces can all enjoy that again. And there will be fans filling the AT&T Center. And Pop will only have the Spurs season to focus on with the Olympics finished.

With how carefully we’ve been preserving this off-season’s cap space (more on this later), I have a feeling we’ll go the acquisition of a player on a big contract and big offer to a RFA routes to balance out our roster. Pop focused on the resilience of the team and on the development of the young guys throughout. Both true. But frankly speaking the 2-11 record left a bad taste in my mouth and I want better for Pop and the young guys who are that much stronger and that much more seasoned to be a great foundation around some top tier players. We finally have a chance to have the right balance of experienced and up and coming youth, playing their proper positions, alongside some solid acquisitions.

So winning at least twenty-six games (and many more!) with a more balanced roster, with opportunities to bond at team dinners and practices, with playing in front of fans, with only the Spurs as a single basketball focus is a tremendous opportunity that this group, together with and playing for Pop will never have a chance at again. Huge huge once-in-a-career and lifetime chance to be a part of something special, to grow and win with some freedom and joy and laughter again. It’s for the record, it’s for the team legacy, it’s for the future, and it’s forever.

All that, plus, I do think with the big shakeups in the west that we can make some serious noise this upcoming season. A lot of positives to look forward to.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#11 » by SK21209 » Sun Jun 6, 2021 7:00 pm

Awesome write ups, really appreciate the effort you've put into these. This season felt really fragmented to me between the short offseason and all the Covid absences so these are really helpful to look back at the season as a whole. Even though the very end of this season was tough with all the losses, I feel really good about the progress the young guys made this season and think the franchise is in a good position. Like you said, I think a full(er) offseason and more normal training camp/next season will be invaluable for the team. The young guys seem to like playing together and welcome the challenge of carrying on the Spurs mantle. However, as much as I like Derrick and think he'll be our best player going into next season, I think PATFO should strongly consider moving him for a lottery or middle of the first round pick if the opportunity presents itself ala the George Hill trade in 2011. We could use another bite at the apple in the first round and it would probably improve the odds on our own pick as well.

I don't think the next Hall of Fame, best player on a Spurs championship team is currently on the roster, and that's okay. I'm probably going to get my hopes way too high that the ping pong balls fall our way and Evan Mobley becomes the next great Spurs big man, but in reality its probably going to be while before we have another Top 5 to Top 10 player in the league in SA. The Boston Celtics have the most championship banners but they didn't win any between 1986 and 2008. Now if we happen to strike gold in the next draft or two (dear God do I want Mobley on this team), I think we're all of a sudden the most promising young team in the league. If not, I think Murray and Keldon are well on their way to becoming solidly above average starters if not borderline all-star caliber players in the next couple of years. I still have some hope that Lonnie break out into a full-blown star, that athleticism is just so tantalizing, but there needs to be another significant jump next year.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#12 » by GREY 1769 » Mon Jun 7, 2021 1:30 am

SK21209 wrote:Awesome write ups, really appreciate the effort you've put into these. This season felt really fragmented to me between the short offseason and all the Covid absences so these are really helpful to look back at the season as a whole. Even though the very end of this season was tough with all the losses, I feel really good about the progress the young guys made this season and think the franchise is in a good position. Like you said, I think a full(er) offseason and more normal training camp/next season will be invaluable for the team. The young guys seem to like playing together and welcome the challenge of carrying on the Spurs mantle. However, as much as I like Derrick and think he'll be our best player going into next season, I think PATFO should strongly consider moving him for a lottery or middle of the first round pick if the opportunity presents itself ala the George Hill trade in 2011. We could use another bite at the apple in the first round and it would probably improve the odds on our own pick as well.

I don't think the next Hall of Fame, best player on a Spurs championship team is currently on the roster, and that's okay. I'm probably going to get my hopes way too high that the ping pong balls fall our way and Evan Mobley becomes the next great Spurs big man, but in reality its probably going to be while before we have another Top 5 to Top 10 player in the league in SA. The Boston Celtics have the most championship banners but they didn't win any between 1986 and 2008. Now if we happen to strike gold in the next draft or two (dear God do I want Mobley on this team), I think we're all of a sudden the most promising young team in the league. If not, I think Murray and Keldon are well on their way to becoming solidly above average starters if not borderline all-star caliber players in the next couple of years. I still have some hope that Lonnie break out into a full-blown star, that athleticism is just so tantalizing, but there needs to be another significant jump next year.

Hello, SK, thank you and welcome! Yeah we definitely should take advantage of some of our assets. We are now in a great position to do so. I have some ideas as to what that may look like via trade / RFA, but for sure if we can move up in the draft, especially this one, we should seriously look into it. The flip side is that if there were ever a draft that was hard to move up in, this one's it. But we've been carefully preserving cap space and raising the floor with the development of our young guys, so perhaps there's also a deal to be made in acquiring a pick with a player in a position of need whose contract we can absorb.

I think throughout the upheavals, the single through line has been development while competing - good for the team to have something to reach for, good for the young guys to get the pressure experience, and good for the bottom line. Like SD said we have a fine young group though frankly none of them have stepped up to be the AS much less HoF level yet. Even if they don't, each has room to grow, and collectively I think they're one of the best young group of players to surround a next level star. This is an important off-season for us in terms of adding talent that balances our team and takes us to a higher competitive level.
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Re: SPURS 2020-2021 SEASON IN REVIEW: PATTERNS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT 

Post#13 » by GREY 1769 » Tue Jun 15, 2021 6:16 pm

Funny how things unfold. I've been in mandatory post-travel quarantine and probing into Spurs stats, line-ups, etc., and as soon as quarantine finished, everything piled on. A few more things to say here, just haven't been able to give it proper time. Yet. Soon :D
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