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Gregg Popovich

Same Old Spurs (emphasis on "Old") — San Antonio Spurs Season Preview


Starting Five: PG Tony Parker, SG Manu Ginobili, SF Stephen Jackson, PF Boris Diaw, C Tim Duncan 

Key Bench Players: SF Kawhi Leonard, PF Tiago Splitter, SG Danny Green, F Matt Bonner, G Nando de Colo, SG Gary Neal, PG Patty Mills, G Cory Joseph

Key Additions: G Nando de Colo 

Key Departures: SG James Anderson

New NBA season on the horizon, same ol’ Spurs.  Gregg Popovich still patrols the sideline, Tony Parker still runs the offense, Manu Ginobili still provides unlimited #SWAG in the 4th quarter, and Tim Duncan still mans the paint, quarterbacks the D, and goes glass at least once a game.  This is essentially the same Spurs team as last season’s team, only one year older.  

This is not to say that being the same team as last year is a bad thing.  Last year’s team won a league-high 50 games, was the #1 seed in the West, steamrolled through the first two rounds in the playoffs, and gave Pop some nasty in taking the first two games in the Conference Semi’s, until the Thunder simply found another gear and the Spurs could not keep up.




So what can we expect if the Spurs in 2012 are going to be a lot like the Spurs in 2011.  Well, we can assume they will monitor the minutes of Duncan (36 years old) and Ginobili (35 years old) even more so than last year.  They’ll shoot a lot of 3’s and score a lot of points, and a crew of unheralded bench reserves (Danny Green, Matt Bonner, Gary Neal, de Colo, et al.) will alternate as the hot hand from distance.  Tony Parker will have more freedom to attack, while  Kawhi Leonard will continue to develop into one of the better two-way players in the NBA.  Steven Jackson and Boris Diaw will become more comfortable in the Spurs system.  The Spurs will win a lot of regular season games.

“Key additions” is a misnomer for this preview, as the only “new” player on the roster is 25 year-old Frenchman Nando de Colo, a 6’5″ shooting guard who played for Valencia in the Spanish ACB League last season.  De Colo was underwhelming in the Olympics, looking like a competent guard who is above-average in most facets of the game but may not have one “NBA skill” that defines him. In the small Olympic sample, de Colo looked like just a decent athlete, a good but not superb ballhandler, a good shooter but not a sniper by any means.  The lack of an NBA skill may mute de Colo’s overall effectiveness in year one.  Regardless, the Spurs could use some fresh legs, and de Colo should receive some backcourt minutes behind fellow Frenchman Tony Parker, Ginobili, Gary Neal, and Danny Green.

With the Lakers and Clippers both adding reinforcements and the Thunder improving from within, the lack of more “Key additions” could be a telling theme for the Spurs as they are passed in the Conference hierarchy.  The most important players on the roster — guys like Ginobili and Duncan and Parker, and even Jackson and Diaw — these are players who are what they are, players in or past their prime who will not play beyond the level they have been at for the past few years.  Given that, the Spurs desperately need their young guns to improve.  

Kawhi Leonard is a 6’7, 225 lb. wing who will be 21 this season.  8 points and 5 rebounds was a nice line as a rookie, but Leonard needs to come into camp with a more consistent jumper and a more refined offensive game in order to progress into something more.  6’11” big Tiago Splitter will be 27 this season; is he anything more than the 9 point/5 rebound guy he was last yeRead more...

MAMBINO’s NBA Coach of the Year

Everyone talks about how the criteria for Most Valuable Player in any sports league has such nebulous criteria for its winner. What makes a person more valuable than another? How do you measure “value”? What makes “value” in the first place? Is it raw skill? How much he helps his team win? The intangibles of his leadership? Or is it a combination of all of those answers? But to what extent does each of those factors weigh? The MVP is such a tricky award, and why the debates every year are more mercilessly available than Bobcats front row tickets.

This is actually the award trophy. It looks like Dora the Explorer made it.

However, as murky as the waters of the MVP are, the award for Coach of Year may rival it.

What makes a Coach of the Year? Does it go to the man who best defies expectations? Or does it go to the man that best lives up to expectations? Is it the coach who faces the most in-season adversity, or the one that never allows his team to face it in the first place? I’ve been watching the NBA for most of my life, and intently for more than a decade, and I still don’t know the answer.

You might not care about this award, and rightfully so. After all, the very integrity of it has been irreparably destroyed just by the mere fact that Sam Mitchell, Mike D’Antoni and Mike Dunleavy have the same amount of awards as Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson and Rick Carlisle (I went on a longer, more detailed rant months ago, which you can check out here). However, that’s why MAMBINO is here, my friends. Much like Nickeback restored order to the credibility of modern rock n’ roll, your favorite, humble sports blog has come to help inform you the best two choices for the 2012 NBA Coach of the Year. You can’t go wrong with either choice, except for the fact that I’m right and BockerKnocker is dead wrong. Check it out!


Gregg Popovich

KOBEsh: The San Antonio Spurs have been left for dead 4 years running. Just a year after their 2007 championship, every prognosticator and critic pronounced the Spurs’ window not just closed, but shattered and replaced by a new, hi-def TV. Timmy was too old, Manu was too hurt and despite the fact that he’s STILL somehow not even 30 today, that Tony Parker would never be good enough to be the star that made a team a contender. What everyone forgot is that they have the best coach in the league at the helm.

If you gave this award to Gregg Popovich every single year, would anyone have a problem with it? I don’t think so. Whether you like him or not, or dismiss the Spurs because of their drab colors, drab superstars or small-town presence, the fact is that Gregg Popovich has been the best coach in the league for over a decade now. 100% true. The Spurs completely overhauled their offense and personnel last season, moving from a slow, half-court oriented offense revolving around Tim Duncan’s post presence, to a more up-tempo, fastbreak style attack. Popovich led a team many thought would finish 7th or 8th in the Conference to the best record in the West, and a number 1 seed. Poised to dominate the playoffs with the Lakers in a down year and the Mavericks without a second star to help Dirk, the Spurs faced their biggest match-up nightmare, as the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies took a buzzsaw to the Spurs’ front line and dispatched them in 6 games.

Coming into 2012 with a hectic, condensed schedule, a shortened training camp and old legs as their primary pieces, everyone predicted the most disastrous results possible for the Spurs (well, except maybe here). Now, here we are, 4 … Read more...