Spotlighting and Breaking Down San Antonio Spurs' Shooting Guard Position
The point guard and power forward positions may house the San Antonio Spurs' top stars, but it's the shooting guard spot that can claim the greatest depth.
There is no emerging All-Star and no clear-cut standout. But each of the three shooting guards on the roster is talented, and within the position is unquestioned diversity. In Manu Ginobili, the Spurs have an established veteran. Danny Green, on the other hand, is on the rise, whereas Marco Belinelli—the team's newest addition—is neither young nor old, but 27 years of age with a unique skill set that makes him a valuable asset to any team.
The exact rotation will be continuously altered as the season progresses, but with such depth, it's evident that the Spurs have a talented contributor at the 2 regardless of who is on the floor.
Order reflects projected depth.
The epitome of a role player, Danny Green has become one of the San Antonio Spurs deadliest three-point threats, as well as a strong defender.
Aside from that, Green isn't even starter-worthy.
However, with the sudden influx of "three and D" players, Green is a valuable contributor despite his lack of a balanced attack.
After taking command of the starting job when Ginobili was sidelined just two short seasons ago, the former UNC Tar Heel emerged from anonymity and has become a fan favorite in San Antonio. His record-breaking shooting clinic in the opening games of the NBA Finals helped to make the young guard a household name beyond the city, as he prepares for another season as an important facet of a contending squad.
In 2013-14, he'll take on a similar, specialized role. The ball-handling and passing will be left to Tony Parker, and the inside scoring will fall in the hands of Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter. But as for providing the team with a go-to shooter from beyond the arc, Danny Green will headline a long list of capable players as he enters the upper echelon of three-point threats in today's Association.
He was rumored to have improved his all-around game, per John Diaz of Project Spurs, but even if his repertoire encompasses solely a long-range dagger, Green will assume the starting job, and should succeed in giving defenses another offensive threat who simply cannot be left unguarded.
The first shooting guard off the bench will also be the first player off the bench, and who better to assume that role than the man who has done so in a rather electrifying manner multiple times over the course of his esteemed career.
Manu Ginobili may have starting-worthy talent, but he's always shined in his role as the sixth man, providing the team with a scoring and playmaking spark off the bench.
Throughout his career, Ginobili has been a member of three championship teams and a pair of All-Star squads. He was also awarded the sixth man accolade in 2008. To put it simply, the 36-year-old veteran brings both experience and talent to a squad that doesn't really lack either.
However, recently the aging star has run into a myriad of injury-related issues, and the effects have been quite evident. Few will forget his lackluster performance in last year's finals, something that Spurs fans have been trying rather hard to do.
Yet, in 2013-14, Ginobili will no longer be an integral member. He'll still be relied on as a contributor, but his performances will rarely be the downfall of this deep squad. He'll evolve into a luxury, whose hot shooting and valuable playmaking skills will help guide the team to glory at times, though he'll be forced to watch from afar when his turnover-prone self takes over.
Inconsistency is truly the only consistent thing about Ginobili's game, and expect plenty of it in the upcoming season.
But along with his handful of struggling turnouts, fans should expect the occasional "throwback Manu" performance from time to time.
As the team's newest and most intriguing addition, Marco Belinelli brings a variety of talents to the table, the majority of which reflect the skill set of Ginobili.
Belinelli has undoubtedly shown a high ability to contribute in multiple areas—primarily as a scorer and orchestrator.
Yet, he's bounced around the NBA landscape numerous times during his relatively short NBA career, and the main reason as to why would be his inconsistency. He shot under 40 percent last year as a member of the Chicago Bulls, though his contributions undoubtedly saved the team numerous times.
With San Antonio, expect a similar outing—and a campaign nearly identical to that of Ginobili. Both will be used as a passing shooting guard, and both will turn in fairly inconsistent results.
But each will have his fair share of highlight-worthy nights, and the energy that Belinelli brings to the table is unparalleled.
He'll come off the bench either alongside or to replace Ginobili, and while the team won't look to him as their savior, he'll be an X-factor in determining their success.
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