San Antonio Spurs: Player-by-Player Breakdown of the 2010-11 Roster
Are the San Antonio Spurs too old?
With aging veterans Tim Duncan (33), Manu Ginobili (33) not getting any younger and lead point guard Tony Parker seemingly on his way out after the season, it's tough to predict what exactly is in store for a team that could very well be the third best in Texas.
While the Western Conference is actually looking like the inferior with a re-stacked East, the Spurs should indeed, once again, make the playoffs. But can they make any noise?
What about the supporting cast? Other than George Hill and Tiago Splitter, the San Antonio bench-mob is not exactly feared--in fact, it's not very good.
How critical will each player's success be to the Spurs succeeding this season? It's time to find out.
2009-2010 record: 50-32, Seventh Western Conference
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Garrett Temple, Guard
Height: 6'6" Weight: 190 Experience: 2nd year
2009-2010 statistics: 5.0 ppg, 1.2 rbg, 0.8 ast
Undrafted out of LSU, Temple looks like he's going to make the Spurs final cuts and enter the regular season at the end of the bench.
A four-year starter in college, the versatile swingman offers some increased energy and a defensive spark for the third-unit. After struggling to find a home in his first season, Temple eventually wound up with the Spurs and stuck after falling out of favor with both Houston and and Sacramento.
At 6'6", Temple is capable of playing the two-guard or sliding over to the three spot if the Spurs decide to go small.
Although he won't see much time (barring injury), Temple does provide the team with some crucial flexibility should they decide to trim the roster down to 13 at some point in-season.
Bobby Simmons, Forward
Height: 6'6" Weight: 230 Experience: 10th year
2009-2010 statistics: 5.3 ppg, 2.7 rbg, 0.7 ast
After enjoying his most prolific seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers in the mid-200s, Simmons inked a ridiculous 5-year pact for $50+ million with Milwaukee that was a mistake from the minute he finished signing his name.
Toiling in obscurity ever since, Simmons was a huge free-agent flop and was eventually shipped to New Jersey as a result. Things didn't get much better for the veteran as he was limited to just 23 games last season.
Now entering his first season with the Spurs, Simmons will look to re-establish himself as an exciting role player who will be asked to provide some physicality given his big-bodied frame.
No longer the dynamic scorer he once was, Simmons' best chance of providing value to this team is if he understands his role. The minute he tries to expand it, he'll be right back on the bench.
Gary Neal, Guard
Height: 6'4" Weight: 210 Experience: Rookie
2009-2010 statistics: N/A
It's not every day we see a 25 year old rookie in the NBA.
After Neal absolutely dazzled during Summer League, the Spurs signed him to a partially guaranteed contract and couldn't be happier with the decision.
Although he's a bit on the smaller side for a shooting guard, Neal's excellent acceleration allow him to penetrate past defenders with very good speed and efficiency.
While Neal certainly won't be asked to play a major role for the Spurs, he does provide a youthful option off the bench who is capable of putting up some fairly decent offensive numbers.
If the rookie hopes to keep his spot on the team for the long road ahead, he'll have to prove capable of contributing in more categories than just scoring.
James Anderson, Guard
Height: 6'6" Weight: 210 Experience: Rookie
2009-2010 statistics: N/A
The 20th overall selection out of Oklahoma State, Anderson provides an immediate ability to step in right away and provide some offense and energy in the second unit.
While he'll certainly have to earn his minutes in the regular season, Anderson's performance in the preseason is adequate reason for excitement for the San Antonio fan base.
At just 21 years old, the high-volume scorer could be in line to serve as one of the eventual building blocks once the veterans move on, and it would certainly benefit the team to get him involved early.
The team got an absolute steal when he fell to them in this year's draft, and you can bet Coach Gregg Popovich is well aware of that.
Alonzo Gee, Guard
Height: 6'6" Weight: 219 Experience: 2nd year
2009-2010 statistics: 7.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.6 ast
After going undrafted out of Alabama, Gee saw some time with the Washington Wizards last season and made the most of his limited opportunity.
Signed to a partially guaranteed contract this summer, Gee has done a fantastic job of carving out a niche on the San Antonio bench thanks in part to his athletic prowess.
Another member of the Spurs bench, Gee will be asked to play only sporadically, yet provide positive results when he's in the game--no small task.
Fortunately for Gee, he proved that he's a capable scorer and should have no problem garnering minutes on a semi-nightly basis, but he'll have to improve on his horrific free throw shooting (18-29 last season) if he hopes to be on the court when it matters.
Tiago Splitter, Forward
Height: 6'11" Weight: 232 Experience: Rookie
2009-2010 statistics: N/A
It's about time that Splitter came over to the team that drafted him in 2007.
A first round pick of the Spurs just a few seasons back, Splitter has been biding his time in Europe, developing his basketball skills, and is set to unleash his talent in the NBA this year.
At 6'11", Splitter provides the team with some much-needed size off the bench, and could even find himself in the starting lineup should DeJuan Blair prove ineffective in the role.
With serious hype surrounding his game, the European's skill-set should mesh perfectly with his new team. Although he's already battling plantar fasciitis and has been ruled out for the first game of the season, Splitter's impact is certain to be felt sooner rather than later.
Anyone who watched the FIBA tournament this summer knows exactly why the team is so excited.
Antonio McDyess, Forward
Height: 6'9" Weight: 245 Experience: 16th year
2009-2010 statistics: 5.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.1 ast
McDyess is the definition of a solid veteran presence off of the bench.
After coming over as a free agent from Detroit, McDyess fit right in with the Spurs in his first season last year. Capable of backing up both the power forward and center spots, his versatility allows for the team to give opponents multiple different looks throughout the course of a game.
Additionally, McDyess is going to be integral in the Spurs' rotation should star Tim Duncan be forced to missed time with an injury, which is a very real possibility. At 36 years old, the banging big man is past his prime, but extremely capable of still contributing at a high level.
Should the aforementioned Splitter have a tough time adjusting to life in the NBA, McDyess could be set for heavy involvement almost immediately. However, the best case scenario for the Spurs is for the team to keep him fresh for an extended run in the later part of the season.
Matt Bonner, Center
Height: 6'10" Weight: 245 Experience: 7th year
2009-2010 statistics: 7.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.0 ast
That's not Brian Scalabrine in a San Antonio Jersey?
Although he's often one of the most mocked athletes in the league, Bonner has provided solid production off of the Spurs bench for the last four seasons.
Now forced to split time with Splitter, Blair, McDyess, and Duncan, Bonner may not even average the 18 minutes per night that he saw last season.
The biggest asset to Bonner's game is his ability to stretch the floor with a smooth stroke from beyond the arc, but if he continues to have trouble rebounding the ball, it will greatly limit his ability to contribute.
DeJuan Blair, Forward
Height: 6'8" Weight: 265 Experience: 2nd year
2009-2010 statistics: 7.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 0.8 ast
Blair might be short two ACL's in his knees, but there's no lack of heart with this kid.
An uber-talent in college at Pittsburgh, Blair saw his draft stock slip considerably because of medical concerns and the fact that he's undersized.
So far, so good for the young man as he has met or exceeded every expectation San Antonio has thrown his way. Showing no fear to bang with some bigger bodies under the basket, Blair is a physical player who is all about the hustle--a trait that has seemed to disappear around the NBA.
Slated to start the season as the team's center, Blair is primed to make major strides in his second season and should flirt with a double-double on a nightly basis.
A rebounding machine despite his size, Blair could do a lot for himself (and the team) should he continue to make progress in his offensive game.
George Hill, Guard
Height: 6'2" Weight: 190 Experience: 3rd year
2009-2010 statistics: 12.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.9 ast
Tony Parker's heir apparent, Hill's stock is soaring by the minute.
Now in his third full season, Hill is set to start at shooting guard for the Spurs and could be primed to put up some big scoring numbers this season.
While he's already established himself as a legitimate scoring threat, Hill needs to develop some more well-roundedness to his game should he hope to enjoy sustained success. At just 6'2", his best long-term outlook comes as a point guard, not a traditional shooting guard.
While the IUPUI product has shown some flashes of good distribution on the court, his assist numbers are nowhere near where they should be, and that is an area he will have to improve upon.
Richard Jefferson, Forward
Height: 6'7" Weight: 230 Experience: 10th year
2009-2010 statistics: 12.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.0 ast
Didn't this experiment fail the first time?
After Jefferson came to the Spurs last season, RJ really struggled to find a role with his new team. Averaging his lowest point total since his rookie season, it seemed like a split between parties was an inevitable conclusion once the season ended.
Back again on a cheaper ticket, Jefferson will be asked to play within the confines of the system rather than create his own plays.
Similarly to Ron Artest of the Lakers, perhaps now with a season under his belt, Jefferson will feel more comfortable in his role. If he struggles out of the gate, look for the Spurs to be proactive in righting the ship.
Manu Ginobili, Guard
Height: 6'6" Weight: 205 Experience: 9th year
2009-2010 statistics: 16.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.9 ast
Is Manu the early favorite for Sixth Man of the Year?
Despite coming off the bench, Ginobili will see starter's minutes all season long.
The left-handed, European version of Kobe Bryant continues to be undervalued in throughout league circles and continually flies under the radar. And that's just fine with both he and the Spurs.
An excellent offensive talent and a pest on the defensive end, Ginobili's multi-faceted game is a perfect fit for the Spurs. Capable of contributing at a high level night in and night out, No. 20 will be heavily relied upon throughout all 82 games should the Spurs make any noise whatsoever.
Just about as professional as they come, Ginobili will have another very productive season so long as he can stay healthy; unfortunately for Manu, that's easier said than done.
Tony Parker, Guard
Height: 6'2" Weight: 180 Experience: 10th year
2009-2010 statistics: 16.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 5.7 ast
After battling injury most of last year and intense trade rumors all summer long, Parker could very well be the player with the most to prove entering the regular season.
With rumors running rampant that he's destined to head to the spotlight (Knicks?) or to possibly follow Carmelo Anthony next summer via free agency (Nets?), Parker seems focused on just one thing: winning games.
Recently receiving more notoriety for his wife than for his skills on the hardwood, Parker's success will be critical to holding the team together for the long-term. His presence on the floor cannot be understated as his ability to penetrate to the hole opens up the entire court for his teammates.
If Parker is forced to miss significant action once again, the Spurs could be in a lot of trouble.
Tim Duncan, Forward
Height: 6'11" Weight: 260 Experience: 14th year
2009-2010 statistics: 17.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.2 ast
Really, it starts and ends with Duncan.
With Popovich already planning to limit his minutes more than he did last season, No. 21 is going to have to be as productive as ever this season.
Coming off of the worst season of his career from a statistical standpoint, many are beginning to label Duncan as an aging veteran who is starting to fall off.
Just about as consistent as they come, TD has averaged a double-double in every one of his 13 previous seasons. Additionally, Duncan has served as the team's core identity ever since David Robinson retired.
Entering the 2010-2011 season, if Duncan regresses any further backward than he did last season, the Spurs could find themselves in some hot water very quickly and watching the playoffs from home for the first time since the mid-90s.
Which Player Is Most Critical to San Antonio's Success?
Which of these 14 players is most critical to San Antonio's success?
Can this team realistically compete with the powerhouses in the Western Conference, or are they just too old?
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