Grading Every San Antonio Spurs Player Through Game 5
Nobody on either team has had more spectacular individual performances than Danny Green, who could possibly be a candidate for Finals MVP if the Spurs end up winning the championship. Some others have struggled to produce consistently and have been marred by shoddy play for much of the series, like Manu Ginobili.
This slideshow will evaluate every player on the team and provide a grade for each player's performance so far in the Finals.
The Low Minute Guys
Joseph has only seen more than 10 minutes of playing time in one game so far in the series, and that was the game where Tony Parker sat out most of the second half with a hamstring strain.
He has shown the ability to produce when called upon. In Game 2, Joseph scored nine points and shot 3-for-3 from the field in nine minutes, even though the Spurs got blown out and lost the game by 19 points. Unfortunately, he hasn't shown that same confidence in any of the other games.
With Green transformed into a shooting machine and the Heat playing more small-ball than before, there isn't much of a need for Bonner anymore.
He played in every game in the series for a total of 36 minutes, but he only managed to connect on one three point attempt. Normally, he would be out there more often to space the floor and defend bigger guys, but Bonner is just outmatched on both ends of the floor right now.
Diaw didn't see significant playing time until Game 5, where he registered 27 minutes to help the Spurs win that game.
However, in the three other games he has appeared in, he was only effective in Game 4, where he recorded nine points and three rebounds in 11 minutes of action. Other than that game, he's been largely ineffective throughout the series.
Parker is the second-best player in this series and he's playing like he's the best, despite suffering a hamstring strain in the middle of Game 3.
He's averaging 16.2 PPG and 6.6 APG while shooting an efficient 49.3 percent from the field (per Basketball Reference). Although his numbers are down from the regular season, he is still breaking down the Heat's defense consistently when they are zoning in on him.
Game 6 was highlighted by another great shooting display from his teammate Danny Green, but Parker scored 26 points on a shockingly efficient 10-for-14 from the field.
If Parker continues this kind of play, he will be the frontrunner to win the Finals MVP if the Spurs win one more game.
Green broke the record for three-pointers made in a Finals series and he has 25 of 38 three-point attempts in this series so far, which is good for 66 percent.
Furthermore, he has been the most consistent player on the entire Spurs team. One incredible shooting performance may be a fluke, but five games in a row of spectacular long-range gunning has caught everyone's attention.
If Green keeps up this kind of shooting, he has a legitimate chance of being crowned the Finals MVP if the Spurs win the series.
So far, he has been crucial to the Spurs' success.
Leonard hasn't been as effective on offense as he had been throughout the rest of the playoff rounds. But when LeBron James is defending him, and he takes on the task of defending him on the other end of the court, there are bound to be some difficulties.
Leonard averaged over 56 percent shooting from the first round of the playoffs to the conference finals, but is only managing to shoot 49 percent in the finals. However, he increased his rebounding average to a stellar 10.2 per contest, which shouldn't really be that surprising since the Heat were one of the worst rebounding teams during the regular season (per Hollinger's Team Stats).
Nevertheless, he has held James to one of the least efficient playoff series of his career. Leonard will definitely be a player to watch, as he's only 21 years old and still developing.
Ginobili has not only been struggling in the Finals, but also the entire postseason and regular season.
His postseason field goal percentage is the second-lowest of his career and the lowest since his rookie season.
However, he came through when the Spurs needed him the most. Game 5 was the most important game of the series, and Ginobili broke out of his funk and scored 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting, and dished out 10 assists.
His Game 5 performance alone would probably bump his grade up two letters, but Ginobili is certainly headed in the right direction.
Gary Neal had a spectacular Game 3, scoring 24 points in 25 minutes, but he has been soundly effective throughout the entire series.
In five games, Neal has averaged 11.2 PPG on 45.5 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from downtown. While Ginobili was ineffective during the first four games, it was Neal who stepped in and took over some of the scoring duties when Parker was on the bench.
His scoring is right where we expected though, and there's nothing too surprising about Neal in this series. He's been solid and does what he's asked to do—provide energy and an offensive spark off of the bench.
After sixteen years in the NBA, the Big Fundamental still has it.
Tim Duncan proved experts wrong and bounced back this year and he's continuing to do work in the finals. He has averaged 15.6 PPG and 11.2 RPG in the first five games, but his field goal percentage dropped to 46 percent, which can mainly be credited to his dismal performance in Game 2.
However, Duncan has a matchup advantage on the low block against everyone on the Heat team, so he should be getting many more easy opportunities than against any other team.
The Heat's team defense has suffocated and clogged the paint, but Duncan is still Duncan. He's going to average a double-double every time he steps on the floor, especially against the smaller lineups the Heat are accustomed to using.
Tiago Splitter has been decent, but he hasn't been great by any means. He has seen his playing time steadily drop from 24 minutes in Game 1 to just 10 minutes in Game 5, where he lost his starting role as well.
After hitting 56 percent of his shots during the regular season, Splitter has only connected on 40 percent in this series and is averaging roughly half the number of points (5.4) that he scored during the regular season (10.3).
However, he's still a big body down low and his post-game has improved since coming into this league. When he's on the floor, the Heat are forced to adjust their lineup to make sure there's another big man on the floor who could guard him.
He has seen his playing time get eaten up by Boris Diaw slowly, but he's still a big man with scoring potential who can change the outcome of a game when given the opportunity.