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Can The Switch Flip “The Switch”?

By Jeff Koch on March 11, 2011.

Detroit 104, San Antonio 111  //  52-12  //  1st in the West

Sacramento 103, San Antonio 108  //  53-12  //  1st in the West

The big news to come out of the Spurs back-to-back victories against Detroit and Sacramento is the switch of Antonio McDyess moving into the starting line-up for DeJuan Blair. The boys over at 48MoH did a great job discussing the impact and the reasoning behind the decision by Popovich and his staff. As they say, the switch is like our mid-season acquisition, only he comes with complete knowledge of the system, the team, the coaching staff, and the players.

I love the move and I love the timing. MyDyess is our second best frontcourt player and probably our best (or at least most reliable) frontcourt defender. In the loaded Western Conference, we can’t afford to give up anything in the frontcourt, not with the likes of Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nene, Andrew Bynum, Dirk Nowitzki, and David West out there. With McDyess moving into the starting line-up, that gives us our 4 most important players on the floor to start the game, as they most likely will be to close it (with that 5th spot rotating between Jefferson, Hill, and probably even Neal, depending on situation and necessity). Coach Pop and his staff have been doing a wonderful job monitoring McDyess this season, leaving plenty for the stretch run. In many ways, he’s been like our secret weapon all season, only being broken out in emergencies. With 20 games left in the regular season, it’s time to start rounding into Playoff form, something no team has done better over the last decade than the Spurs.

I also love the move for Blair, provided it doesn’t shake his confidence. Everything about Blair screams bench player, a statement I make with nothing but praise. He is all energy and hustle and angles and heart and desire. He is the perfect player to come off the bench and inject the game with his unique brand of basketball, to change pace and momentum. He’ll also get to match up against other teams reserve big men, which should be a distinct advantage for him. Plus, since Ginobili is still often used as the playmaker with the second unit, he’ll still be able to play with the guard that he has the best on-court chemistry with.

The Spurs have shown the first card of their hand and thrown the first chips into the pot. The playoffs must be just around the corner.

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