HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — You have to feel for the guy in charge of changing name plates above the lockers in San Antonio.
He’s been extra busy in the past few weeks, adding new placards furiously after Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Patrick Mills have all been added to the Spurs’ roster.
San Antonio remodeled the roster of a team that was already considered a contender without these new additions in a shrewd move from a franchise that has a history of making them.
Similar to what the Lakers did at the trade deadline in adding Ramon Sessions, the Spurs went out and snagged pieces via trades and signings that they feel can push them over the top in the postseason. Even more important, they’ve added players that make them arguably the deepest team in the league.
Each and every one of the Spurs’ newest additions will play a significant role in the postseason, particularly Jackson, whose familiarity with the program makes his transition easier than most. Diaw, who joined the crew after being bought out by Charlotte, adds frontcourt depth. The ex-Blazer Mills, who spent much of the year playing in Australia and China, adds a capable, young point guard to the mix after T.J. Ford retired earlier this month.
No one is happier with all this than mainstays Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, who realize that the added depth improves their chances of chasing down another Larry O’Brien trophy to add to their collection.
And when the usually stoic Duncan’s perspective, via Tim Griffin of the Express News, matches our perception of what’s going on in San Antonio, the rest of the league needs to be on alert:
“This is as deep as I’ve ever had a team here,” Duncan told reporters after the Spurs’ victory in Sacramento. “We’re using everybody possible. And that’s been great, especially in the condensed season.”
For the first time since the trade deadline, [Spurs coach Gregg] Popovich had a complete roster at his disposal. And he got contributions from throughout his bench, which outscored Sacramento 55-20 in Wednesday’s game.
Manu Ginobili came off the bench to score a team-high 20 points in his first back-to-back game since recovering from a hip flexor. Tiago Splitter produced seven points and six rebounds, all coming in a productive stint in the first quarter. Gary Neal shot his way out of a recent slump by hitting all four shots in the second half for 13 points after missing his first four shots. Stephen Jackson scored six points in 16 minutes in the second half when he received most of the playing time. And Boris Diaw didn’t score, but he grabbed four rebounds, dished off two assists and was a pest defensively.
“I really trust that unit,” Ginobili told FOX Sports Southwest. “We’re going to hustle and we’re versatile, we’re long and we can switch a lot. I think whenever we get used to playing with each other, we have a very special unit.”
Special is right.
That doesn’t mean they are guaranteed anything in the postseason, of course. The Mavericks proved last season that whatever impressions we might have of a team during the regular season can be dispelled over the course of two wicked months of playoff work.
But in a condensed season, where every little tweak to a roster will be magnified come playoff time, the Spurs have made some of the most significant moves of any outfit in the league.