Bramlet's Giblets: November 4, 2006
Yes, the Spurs got spanked on their own floor by LeBron and Co. last night. But despite that ugly fact, it’s a good day to be a Spurs fan. Of course, the astute and loyal fan will ask, “When is it not?” The astute and loyal fan is a smartass. Of course it’s always a good day to be a Spurs fan—my stating it is merely a rhetorical flourish to emphasize all the reasons the last week or so have given us to be especially happy:
- Many NBA pundits are picking the Spurs to win it all this year (or at least get to the Finals), including Charles Barkley, Kenny The Jet, Steve Kerr, Jack McCallum, Marty Burns, and Mike “The Wrath” Khan. (What a cool last name that guy has. I would totally throw my head back and yell “KHAAAAAN!!!!” if I ever met him. I’m sure he’s heard it a million times before, but I don’t mind being predictable and clichéd if it means I get to go Shatner on someone’s ass.) Jolly good of you pundit bastards to try to jinx us, but the Spurs will be more than good enough to overcome your weak-ass reverse Mojo. Some of these pundits (such as KHAAAN!!!) are also picking TD to win the MVP award. While I think Timmy will be as impressive as ever and will have what will be perceived as a comeback year, it will be nigh impossible for him to win it over guys like LeBron, Carmelo, and Dwyane [“Sic”] Wade—fantastic young players who will have to carry their teams on their backs and in their jocks. The numbers these guys will put up, and the fact that they don’t have Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker to help them carry the load, will (rightly) weigh too heavily in their favor. But individual awards don’t matter. What matters is that a lot of great (and a few not-so-great) basketball minds, including many of the NBA’s general managers, recognize the truth that should bring a year’s worth of joy to the heart of every Spurs fan: that our boys are going to bodyslam, hogtie, and gag Larry O’Brien (gimp style) and bring him back home to San Antonio.
- The Spurs kicked Maverick ass twice in one week. Although the first of those victories was a preseason game, it sure looked to me like the Mavericks wanted to win that one. And then the Spurs went into their gym a week later, took a few good jabs, and seized the game by the nads in the fourth quarter, just the way Bramlet likes it.
- Although Bramlet admits to being a bit disappointed in some aspects of the Spurs’ offseason moves—that we didn’t manage to either bring Scola over or trade him, that Javtokas doesn’t seem to have been worth bringing over, that we didn’t get J.R. Smith—it looks as if the Spurs’ roster is in great shape after all. Matt Bonner is a tough, blue-collar bomber who will probably be a significant contributor after he adjusts to the Spurs’ system and style of play, Jackie Butler’s drool-inducing potential suggests that he will eventually take over the Spurs’ starting center spot, and yesterday the Spurs finally picked up Bruce Bowen’s understudy, one James “Tiberius” White. Scuttlebutt among Spurs fans is that the FO wanted this guy in this year’s draft, and thanks to a roster jam in Indiana, they’ve now got him. Supposedly Rick Carlisle was in tears when he announced the cut, saying that it was the hardest cut he’s ever had to make. Peter Holt may be a “thrifty” owner, but at least he’s shown that he’s willing to pick up contracts of guys who the FO apparently believes will be important to the success of the team, now and in the future. Devin and Melvin, we love you guys, but White seems to have serious, serious upside, especially in the hands of Pop, Bruce, and the Spurs’ staff. He will give the Spurs’ aging, not-so-athletic roster a huge boost.
- Of course, for those who are actually paying attention instead of just buying the media’s lazy mantra about the Spurs’ current rotation players being old, our long-term situation is actually quite good: Jackie is 21, TP and Beno are 24, Bonner is 26, Scola (if he ever comes over) is also 26, we have a couple of promising under-21 players developing in Europe (Mahinmi and Sanikidze), and now we have White, who’s 24. All of these guys have significant potential, and they have smart, savvy veterans to learn from, as well as a front office and coaching staff who know how to develop young talent. Add to this the fact that the Spurs FO will have great contract flexibility (as of the summer of 2008, the only contract obligations they’ll have will be to Timmy, Tony, and Manu), and it’s safe to assume that the Spurs will be kicking ass for years to come.
- In the short term, Frankie Elson is the most promising of the new players. He’s already showing what he can do in a good system, with smart players around him who know how to take advantage of his athleticism. He improved rapidly as the preseason progressed, and two good showings against the Mavs in a week can’t be a fluke. Elson is going to be a real threat on both ends of the court and will help us match up against the NBA’s new generation of mobile and athletic bigmen. Imagine the Spurs’ transition attack with any combination of TP, Manu, TD, Francisco, Brent, Beno, and Finley on the court. It will be a thing of fearsome beauty.
By the way, dear readers, if anyone is wondering when I’m going to provocatively answer Michael’s provocative response to my provocative post in defense of Pop’s coaching decisions, well, I thought I’d give the new guy the spotlight for a while, but I’ll fire back soon. In the meantime, I’ll just express my admiration for his eloquence and prolificness (prolificity? prolifitude?). You haven’t changed my mind, Michael, as nothing short of a lobotomy could accomplish that anyway, but you made some good points that deserve a properly derisive, dismissive, scathing response. And you’ll get it.
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