This season was a disappointment. It was Tony's turn this year to get repeatedly injured. Mason played like a D-Leaguer. Tim played well in the first half and then slowed down. Manu played like crap in the first half and then became SuperManu. RJ . . . ugh. All in all, a really uneven season that saw the team finally come together at the end, but it wasn't nearly enough.
On the bright side, DeJuan Blair and George Hill have shown that they will be fantastic complementary players for Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili. And now Bonner, Mason, and Bogans are free agents. So maybe Duncan's window isn't closed just yet.
Tony Parker had a down year. His numbers were down across the board, and he only played 56 games. When he was healthy, he seemed to be somewhat hesitant and slower than normal. I don't know if that's a sign of things to come for him, but all the talk about trading Parker is ridiculous, IMO. Parker is the closest thing the Spurs have to a "true point guard" -- which is pretty funny.
George Hill stepped up big time when Parker was hurt. I freaking love Hill. I don't think his ceiling is all that high, but I imagine he'll continue to improve his shooting and ballhandling. He's going to be a great all-around player at the 1 and the 2.
The Spurs could use a decent 3rd PG. I don't think Garrett Temple is that guy.
Coming off of ANOTHER injury-plagued season, Manu Ginobili started the 2009-2010 campaign playing like a slightly-more-mobile Thunder Dan Majerle. He was playing inside the offense, taking outside shots, and generally ceasing to be the focal point for opposing defenses. Something happened in the Spring. It's like he suddenly became confident and began slashing and creating and throwing incredible passes. His defense was solid. It was, arguably, the best Manu Ginobili I have ever seen. As always, injuries are a concern going forward. But it's looking like he's going to have another offseason of no NT play, so the extra rest makes me optimistic.
Mason and Bogans were pretty useless this season. At his best this season, Mason was a decent, but not great, shooter. He was a total liability on defense. Bogans was a horrendous player on offense, but -- at his best -- a dogged defender in the mold of Bowen. (But not as long or crafty.) Bogans would be the more attractive option to stay if he had developed a reliable corner 3, but I think his tenure is over. Good riddance to the both of them.
RJ. Mothertrucking RJ. Talk about an up-and-down season. Heck, every single game felt like an up-and-down season for RJ. For much of the season, Pop played RJ mostly alongside Parker and Hill while Manu rested. In other words, RJ was out there with two scoring guards and was basically forced to fend for himself. Pop FAIL. Eventually he figured out that RJ needed a creator (like he had with Kidd in NJ) and put Manu in with RJ for most of RJ's minutes. That worked remarkably well when things were clicking. But RJ still struggled with his shot, he failed to attack the rim consistently, and his defensive lapses were maddening (though that might have something to do with player he replaced.) His contract is expiring, so it would seem that he's tradable. Relying on Manu's health for RJ's productivity seems like a waste of $15 million per season. Still, strangely, I kinda want to see what he can do in his second season under Pop.
So the Spurs might be OK parting with Mason and Bogans and keeping Manu and RJ. Malik Hairston can be a capable backup at SG/SF, IMO. That leaves at least one other spot to fill.
Tim Duncan looked like 2007 Tim Duncan early in the season. He was carrying the team up until the All-Star break when, almost like clockwork, he started to break down. He got sluggish on both ends, he had no lift on his shot, and he had trouble defending the pick-n-roll. He still played well, but he clearly could not shoulder the load on his own as defensive anchor and offensive post presence. He needs help. Not much else to say about that.
Antonio McDyess, on the other hand, played like crap for the first 3/4 of the season. He was lost out there. There's no other way to put it. But somehow, his 18-footer magically appeared. He rebounded, he hustled, and, best of all, he did a spectacular job defending Dirk. He's earned another look, despite his age.
DeJuan Blair was a pleasant surprise. The rookie was an absolute ballhawk. When he gets near the rim, he's money. No ACLs, no problem. He needs to work on his defense, though. He needs to stop defending with his hands. He's always in foul trouble, it seems. And he needs to develop an outside shot if he wants to share the court with Timmy. You can't have both playing at the same time, since they tend to occupy the same space and DeJuan is only 6'6" or something. I think he should watch Charles Barkley videos all summer and workout with Paul Millsap.
Matt Bonner. I love him. But if he can't hit a shot, he needs to go. His defense this season was better than usual, which is to say, it was serviceable. But still -- he's only useful if he's hitting shots and stretching the floor. He didn't do that this year, perhaps because of his hand injury. But I think it might be time for him to go.
So the Spurs definitely need a player or two at PF/C. Splitter is possibly coming over, which would be nice since the Spurs currently only have 1 player taller than 6'10". And a defensive-minded PF/C would make sense.
In summary: Mason, Bogans, and Bonner should not be re-signed. Hairston should expect a larger role next season. Splitter should be signed. The Spurs should draft/sign a backup SG/SF, a third-string PG, and a backup PF/C.
Parker - Hill - ? (Temple) ?
Manu - Hill - ?
RJ - Hairston - ?
Duncan - Blair - ?
Splitter - McDyess - ?
[ Edited by dobophile on Jun 2, 2010 at 7:37 AM ]