New Deputy Needed In San Antonio

As it stands now, there’s only one team in the West with a real shot at keeping the Thunder from reaching the NBA Finals, and it’s the Spurs, winners of four trophies and still moving along with the nucleus of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

In a seven-game series, where half-court basketball rules, you’d have to give the Spurs a decent chance, especially given their veteran leadership and championship experience. Plus, this could be Duncan’s last ride; he becomes a free agent this summer and it would not be a big surprise if he just decided to retire.

Given T.J. Ford’s sudden retirement yesterday, shouldn’t the Spurs seek insurance in the backcourt, where they’re somewhat thin? Well, if you believe in Gary Neal, then maybe not. However, this isn’t the time to take a chance on Ginobili’s body. Maybe the Spurs should take a serious look in getting some relief help; someone who comes to mind is D.J. Augustin, the former University of Texas star who’s being shopped by the Bobcats and has the attention of the Blazers, perhaps.

Running the point is a bit of a twist for Neal, whose chores were mostly restricted to knocking down open jumpers. He spoke with the Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News about a potential new rold:

(Gregg) Popovich said Neal will continue to get some time at shooting guard, as he did in Monday’s 112-97 victory over the Washington Wizards. He attempted only two 3-pointers in the game, making one.

Neal knows his primary focus must be learning to run the team from the point.

“It changes my whole role,” he said. “My position, the shots I was accustomed to getting, the way I have to play, all of it changes.

“The biggest thing is the mental approach changes. As much as I would love to be a 42 or 43 percent 3-point shooter, which is how I’ve been judged since I got here and how I judge myself, shooting 3-pointers at the point guard position is totally different. As far as I can tell, there’s only two guys in the league who shoot 40 percent from the point guard position, and that’s Chauncey Billups and Steve Nash.

“You just have to change your mentality and your understanding that your value to the team has changed. Once you accept that, I think the rest of it comes pretty routinely.”

This is a point guard’s league right now, with stars or potential stars lining almost every team. In the West, the Spurs could ultimately face Russell Westbrook at some point in the playoffs; do they have enough in Parker to reduce worries about the position? Besides, there isn’t enough practice time left in the season for Neal to “learn” to play the point. The Spurs would be wise to keep their options open, in case a point guard is available by Thursday.


  1. Liam says:

    They Spurs need to give Patty Mills a call. Would make a great back-up/understudy for Parker!

  2. ochocinco says:

    @Edinspur! that is the most dumb anology as to why the media dont see the Spurs as an all American team. Now that New York Knicks got Lin playing for them , what the media will avoid them bc he is asian what about Paul Gasol of lakers. “that is racist!” get a clue man, Duncan is an American, Tony has dual citizenship, and as far as the city of SanAntonio goes there are 5 Major Military installaions in the city, you can hear the American Anthem play everyday at 5pm from across the city. Perhaps the media is anti-American!

  3. Ion57 says:

    Quote made on :
    March 13, 2012 at 10:07 am

    What have the spurs done in the last 5 years ?
    Won the division title two times ?
    2010-11 – (61-21)
    2009-10 – (50-32)
    2008-09 (54-28)
    2007-08 (56-26)
    2006-2007 (58-24)

    Your question should be rephrased to what havn’t they done ? have your grizz ever won a title, or have a winning percentage of 50 games or higher for 5 consecutive years during a reg season? If not then you should shut up.

    The San Antonio Spurs have all-time winning percentage of 58%, have won 2031 games (all-time) and have lost 1469 games (all-time). Only behind LA and BOS. 4-titles and still have part of their main core from those years of (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007).

  4. LG-1 says:

    Spurs need a combo guard like Jamal Crawford or OJ Mayo.

  5. Rik says:

    I don’t think it’s good for the spurs to trade for a point guard especially since they’re trying to trade for Josh Howard as well. And why would they anyway? the spurs could sign Justin Dentmon from the toros.

  6. Anthony says:

    I LOVE how Lakers fans just have amnesia, like they didn’t get swept out of the playoffs last season. No upgrades, no major moves, in their favor anyway. They’re done, their time is over, Kobe is not getting another ring. Chris Paul didn’t end up there, Dwight Howard doesn’t want to go there. Just face the facts. The article was about the Spurs anyway.. Everybody knows the Lakers backcourt stinks. With the exception of 1 player.

  7. Rummpd says:

    Well written colum and I am sure Popovich and the SAS trust is quietly mulling options to improve the Spurs before the trade deadline or after if someone goes on the waivers. IMO Lakers cannot also be ruled out and I am a Spurs fan and the Grizzlies if healthy can also play with anyone.

  8. Ismo says:

    OKC has a big problem. They only have 3 reliable scorers. Maybe they can carry the offensive load for an entire 7-game series? I doubt it. As far as the Lakers go, I’ll wait to see if you make a trade. Lakers are in a tailspin right now, post Phil Jackson era. Stop being so spoiled. You have no bench, no real point guard, and your offense is a mess. I only give you the slightest chance betting on Kobe and 2-7 footers. That’s about it. Spurs will go as far as health permits. GO Spurs GO!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Edinspur says:

    The problem with Spurs is the fact that the media don’t see them as an ‘All American Team’. With non-American big names like Manu, Parker, Duncan etc I feel they aren’t ridiculously overhyped like most American players. Whereas Clippers with CP3 and Griffin, Lakers with Kobe and Gasol, OKC with Durant and Westbrook, all look so much more attractive to journalists. I feel its because they actually don’t want Spurs to do well, don’t want to realise that this is one of the best franchises in NBA history,


  10. Mark R says:


  11. tip says:

    There are some good backup guards in this league. There are prob better; but, as a detroit fan, I can say Will Bynum is pretty good. But, not a strong 3 point shooter.

  12. N1256 says:

    There is always talk about how great Phil Jackson was in LA, but now he’s gone and lets face it Pop is more experienced than any other coach in the NBA. So lets focus on that and not all the trades because with him the Spurs will be a championship contending team.

  13. Matt P says:

    what about Patricks Mills, solid backup for Parker… and keeps with the International flavor of the side

  14. Amitpal says:

    For the spurs it’s all about health. If they go in 100% healthy they are as good as any team in the NBA. That’s a big if. Spurs don’t have the greatest talent but they have the most complete team with the best coach in the NBA by far in Pop. And all u annoying laker fans, no they dont have no chance at beating thunder. The speed and quickness of the thunder is to much. And Kobe is old and has played a lot of minutes this year. He’s going to wear down in the playoffs and with almost zero bench the lakers arent going anywhere.

  15. Chris says:

    The Spurs are fine at the guard positions. Parker and Ginobili can handle the playmaking and Neal has been a decent back-up point guard. It’s the frontline that really needs improvement. No way are the Spurs making it far in the playoffs with Blair being the starting power forward. Bonner is also a proven playoff choker. Tim and Tiago are both very great, but the Spurs need a 3rd big to compete in the West.

  16. rayray says:

    they need bruce bowen

  17. Zzoe says:

    I like both the Spurs and Lakers against OKC…either one may be the team. and it’s hard to beat experience…which both SA and LA have. If they have to face each other, that would answer the q’s about which is the better team…until that happens, speculation reigns supreme..i wouldn’t bet against either one of these teams. And could my Blazers please busta move and bring Augustine , Brooks or another PG who can do more than Felton’s been?

  18. Shaun answer me this do you think the Bulls,will finish the play offs ,and win the Champion Ship with C.Booser,and they do not add any back up Center or Forward? i really think they should trade him very soon,i dont think they have enough people to get the job done,with what they have now, do you think the front office is sitting on their wallets?

  19. brosky says:

    The best guy for the spurs would have been george hill…..jus sayin
    btw im a spurs supporter since ive been watching basketball

  20. Mike says:

    San Antonio get no chance if they face Grizzly in the playoff However if they play OKC they get better chance. I’ve seen Westbrook lost control many time whenever he play good point guard like Parker.

    • D says:

      Memphis hasn’t beaten the Spurs this season. If Spurs stay healthy Memphis won’t have a chance.

  21. frogman says:

    I do agree that the spurs could be a threat to OKC, in the playoffs. This is coming from an OKC fan. But not for the reasons mentioned.

    For OKC: 1 how strong does Sefolosha come back? He is hands down our best perimiter defende
    2 And this is the BIG one – Does Scott brooks give to James Harden the trust that EVERYONE else in the league already knows he deserves (possessions about equal to westbook)> Go look up the numbers, Harden is one of, if not the most efficient player in the league. (also he’s no sloutch on defence)

    For SAS: Its all about the 3 point shot> SAS plays the most effective 1 in, 4 out this league has ever seen. I have watched SAS knock down ridiculous amounts of 3″s the last 2 years

    BUT_ I believe in a 7 game series that SAS will not be able to pull off 4 nights of great 3 point shooting. 2 yes, 3 maybe, Still OKC in 6

    • Jackal says:


      OKC is 1-8 against the Spurs over their last 9 meetings. Spurs have even been missing one or two of their big three for 5 of those 9 games, and yet, OKC still only managed 1 win in their last 9 meetings. And that was @OKC during a Spurs back to back and 4th game in 5 nights, just after Ginobili got injured and the Spurs didn’t figure out how to play well without him yet.

      Westbrook also plays poorly against Tony Parker. For his career, he only shoots 36% against Parker while Parker shoots 50% and gets his typical godd numbers with no dropoffs against Westbrook.

      I can’t see OKC beating SA 4 of 7. Much less 4 of 6. lol.

  22. FrankA503 says:

    Lots of PGs needed in the west for teams to finish the season as serious playoff threats, and thats either backups or starters. Portland, Utah and the Lakers are still looking for starting PGs while OK City, San Antonio, Memphis and Phoenix are looking for quality backup PGs.

    As for the west teams that don’t need any PG help.
    Dallas has Kidd and Beaubois and is looking for some frontcourt help, possibly with a Josh Smith trade.

    Houston has Lowry and Dragic and are kind of like last years Memphis team, young and below the radar. Possibly another suitor for Josh Smith with a Parsons, Budinger and draft pick trade. Or Gasol still delivered to Houston without giving up Lowry, Martin and Dragic.

    Denver has Lawson and Miller and is finally getting healthy again. Denver will be on the rise and won’t require any trades prior to playoffs. A deep team that score in bunches.

    The T-wolves losing Rubio might cost them a playoff birth. Ridnour and Barea are quality PGs who can get them there, but having Ridnour start at PG now instead of SG leaves them thin at SG with Webster considered there only legit SG. The T-wolves will move Beasley so possibly signing a starting SG or SF will keep a deep playoff run alive without Rubio.

    The Clippers will make the playoffs with Paul and Williams. But like the T-wolves the Clips will miss that 3rd solid PG in Billups. Bledsoe has taken a while to heal and won’t get the time to improve his play for playoffs. The improved play of Foye is nice. As well as the signings of Martin and Simmons to bolster the frontcourt reserves. The Clippers are a big away from going deep into the playoffs. A return of Kaman could change that.

  23. Gonzo says:

    I couldn’t agree anymore =) GOSPURSGO!!!!

  24. Janick23 says:

    It all comes down to injuries, everyone knows that… if Ginobili is 95% healthy there´s no better team chemistry in the nba and a bigger heart that the Spurs. Spurs finally have some size to defend and hopefully some health to play. With the healthy big 3 I dont see how the west can stop the spurs!

    • ivom89 says:

      I really loved TJ’s play, too bad he got that serious injury. I am a Spurs fan now since 2008. I live in Holland and the very first game I watched in my life was Phoenix @ Spurs first playoff game of 2008. Duncan shooting the 3 to tie. Ginobili doing what not. Spurs never looked as good as now for me in the last three seasons, and I watched EVERY game. Duncan played terrible last playoffs against Memphis. He looks way better right now. Manu was out for the first game. Parker was nowhere near the confidence level he has right now. I loved Splitter from the very first minute, his length, strength and agility. Finally that is coming through this year. I think these two big and two small men are the core right now, and all the others are doing a great job of completing this team. Green, Neal, Bonner, Blair, RJ. If these guys all stay relatively healthy, with tim, tony, manu, tiago staying really healthy. There is no better team. I should not forget to mention Pop, the boss. Again, in my opinion, there is no better team, a whole bunch of better players in terms of dunking, running, jumping, shooting, whatever, NO BETTER TEAM.

      • D says:

        Welcome to American basketball ivom89. Nice to see there are a few Spurs fans outside of South Texas (I live outside of Texas too). I’m surprised anyone outside of the U.S. has even heard of the Spurs. Even with four world championships in the last decade most people don’t know much about them. Nice decision.

  25. Gonzo says:

    Ahh man i love how SAS fly under the radar every year, getting harsh comments from critics, like ” they’re too old, Duncan Is done” ” Ginobli ain’t got it no more” And then, when they start talking about contenders for the title, we’re always in the talks.Last year we were hurt and that most likely was the reason for the Grizzlies suprising us.However, this year i have faith in my SAS and the THREE AMIGOS with a great leader that is Tim Duncan(Favorite Player Since Rookie Year) , and of course how can i forget Coach POP (best coach in the NBA today if you ask me). DRIVE FOR FIVE BABY!!!!!!! FUNDAMENTALS HAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE KEY my friends. =)

  26. WayneJKosh says:

    Spurs need a 6’3″ – 6’4″ PG, to stand the height of Westbrook coming playoff time. If the Spurs an Thunder meet up in the playoffs. I like the idea of Aaron Brooks. D.J. Augustin would be a interesting grab for the Spurs, wouldn’t want them to give up any good pieces. Keep Gary Neal though. Possibly give Charlotte James Anderson, and a draft pick . . I know everyone would disagree with the draft pick but I as a fan of the Spurs are trying to get to the NBA Finals this year, not wait til’ later on down the road. D.J. Augustin don’t stand at 6’3″ or 6’4″ but he’s obviously 6’0″, same height as T.J. Ford. Aaron Brooks is the same height 6’0″. Pretty small PG’s, have the quickness advantage though. Will see coming Free Agent time, March 15. Would like San Antonio to make a move, for a big man & a PG.

    • robbay2 says:

      its not like they will be trying to get blocks or get the rebound, perimeter defense is perimeter defense.

  27. Cedric says:

    Spurs need a back up point guard and a 7 foot big manTrade Blair,Jefferson,and Anderson

    • blogan2175 says:

      i agree this is my favorite team we need to trade 4 josh smith beasley of minn or even AI from philly and alsoo go get kaman make a deral for him jamal crawford would help also or try and go get one of the bigs from utah or cousin from kings

  28. Willy says:

    The key in the matchup between OKC and SAS if there’s any is the 2-guard. Sefolosha or Harden? One of the best defenders, or a good offensive player? And the problem at the point is that both points use the same method most of the time, which is driving in the lane. Timmy, and not to be against SAS fans cause I like him a lot, can’t matchup with Ibaka, Ibaka is too good of a defender, but the 15-footer will be his only option. And seriously, I think they should get a backup PG for James Anderson and Cory Joseph perhaps

  29. People thought I was crazy when I spoke up about the spurs being a solid team this year, but haters will always hate..tony parker’s play this season has uplifted the spurs who still have a few seasons left before they need a total franchise face lift..see where I ranked tony amongst the NBAs best point guards:

  30. rokka says:


    best froncourt in the NBA? Are you seroius?

    • Josh says:

      Bynum and Gasol.. who exactly is better? Both very skilled, athletic, and as long as they are healthy, then yes 100% the best frontcourt.

  31. N1256 says:

    The Spurs should try for John Wall trading players like Gary Neal and RJ

  32. cvqqqq says:

    You missed one thing Jwatt, the Spurs also have the best coach and the best bench in the NBA, while the Lakers USED to have the best coach and have a below average bench. They are just riding on Bynum and an aging Kobe right now.

    • dd def says:

      does anyone else find it irritating that regardless of what the conversation’s about or what’s being said there’s always atleast one LAL fan coming in talking about how much better the lakers are? how did an article about the spurs fire up a fool about his holier-than-thou lakers?

      • Josh says:

        To be fair, I think what fired him up a bit was the fact that Powell said – “there’s only one team in the West with a real shot at keeping the Thunder from reaching the NBA Finals, and it’s the Spurs”.. that should be more than enough ammo to anger Laker fans.

  33. kyl3johnson says:

    Steve Nash and Chauncey Billups are the only ones? How about a little research first, Luke Ridnour was deadly from behind the arch last season at 44%. If anything that’s who the spurs would want, he plays good D as well. But you won’t be able to rip him away from the Wolves now that Rubio is gone…

  34. Suriken says:

    the Lakers r without Odom, Phil and Bynum’s knee is too fragile. though I can’t wait to see LAL SAS matchup even in regular season. I am sure healthy Nuggets and Clippers (only with the hot shooting Mo) can solve OKC too. And it’s too early to forget about Dallas.

  35. Jones17 says:

    Shaun Powell should rue the day thinking the only team capable of beating Thunder is the Spurs. If the Spurs are capable of playing ‘half court offense’ to challenge the Thunder, so are the Lakers. The Grizzlies with Gay and Randolph fit, are capable and destroyed the Spurs without Gay last season. What have the Spurs done in the last 5 years to warrant such a comment?

    • LL says:

      It’s okay to hate, just know your ball…

    • J-Watts says:

      In the last 5 Year, NOT including this season, the Spurs have won the Finals, Got to the Conference Finals, had a 61 win season, never lost more than 32, finished with at least a top 15 Offence each year and a top 11 Defence each year….thats more than enough to ‘warrant the Comment’

      • Bigpapabean says:

        Well Said J-Watts

      • Sean says:

        @Jwatt If what the Spurs have done in the last five years “warrants the comment”, then what about the Lakers? Theye been to the finals 3 times, won twice in back to back seasons, They have the nba’s leading scorer in Kobe and the best frontcourt in the nba. nice try though

      • ivom89 says:

        @Sean The man did not say the Lakers are not serious contenders for the West, he just explained why the Spurs are.

      • Belizeboy says:

        @Sean, stop being a hater. J-Watts was defending the Spurs and didn’t even mention the Lakers. Obviously the same would hold true for them, but I can tell you’re another LAL fan that is mad your team isn’t the talk of the town (league rather) anymore.

    • Jackal says:

      What has LA done lately? Got swept. Grizzlies? 1 playoff series win in franchise history. Blazers? Not even in the playoff picture. etc etc.

      Rather than let your blind hate for the Spurs cloud your already poor judgement, why don’t you ask that same question about every other team in the west? Including the Thunder, who have only been out of the first round a single time, and only got to the WCF because they played the 8 seed in the 2nd round (barely winning at that).

      Spurs have 3 titles with their current core. No other team in the NBA has that many titles with their cores. So what have they done? I dunno, win more games and more titles than any other core in the league? What haven’t they done?