Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Lineup consistency is crucial in the playoffs. It is harmful to both the players and the team if definitive roles are not set before the regular season's end.
Unfortunately for San Antonio, the extended absences of numerous top performers has done little to help solidify the team's rotation.
Parker, Mills, Leonard and Tim Duncan have fixed roles. Beyond that, though, exists unfortunate ambiguity.
Boris Diaw and Splitter have been used interchangeably as starters, though that has been purely the result of different opponent strengths.
The real issue lies in the shooting guard and backup big-men—excluding Diaw—spots.
At the 2, Ginobili, Belinelli and Green have all emerged as top rotation players. However, a definitive pecking order has yet to be set. Green is often tabbed as the starter, though Ginobili is often used as the principal player at the position. That said, it can be argued that Belinelli has played the best of the three.
While all of them will need to have significant playing time in the postseason, the Spurs will likely use the final few weeks to experiment with different late-game lineups in order to ensure that nothing is unclear by the playoffs.
Similarly, the big-man rotation behind Duncan, Splitter and Diaw is anything but confirmed. Jeff Ayres has been the most used of the remaining names, but he has done little to separate himself from the rest of the pack. As to where the raw but talented Aron Baynes enters remains unclear, as does the usage of three-point specialist Matt Bonner. Throw in the newly acquired Austin Daye, and the Spurs have some lineup issues that need to be addressed.
Luckily, they have time to experiment before coming up with a finalized solution, though a solidified rotation should be established as soon as possible.