By Sam Stern
In the words of Gregg Popovich, “I want some nasty!” As our much anticipated season
is underway, we have been faced with a bit of adversity. This player is a 2x Defensive
Player of the year, the 2014 Finals MVP, and 2x All-Star. He is known as “The Claw” for
his gargantuan hands that he uses to swipe balls away from his opponents every game.
This breathtaking player’s name is Kawhi Leonard. He has been out since the beginning
of the season with a sudden right quadriceps tendinopathy aka inflammation of the
thigh, that has sidelined him this entire season thus far. Not only have we been without
this defensive juggernaut, but we have also been without the Hall of Fame Frenchman,
Tony Parker. The 18-year veteran has influenced the squad on both ends of the floor
every year dishing out the ball, and doing some messy work in the paint. His veteran
knowledge and skillful background has been missed throughout the season so far.
Now…onto the very exciting news… We have LaMarcus Aldridge draining shots, bullying
opponents down low, and taking over the helm. LA had a quiet meeting with “Popa” Bear
regarding the direction he was wanting to go in this season to put him back at the top
of the big man category. That conversation affected his play in a very positive
way, and Pop has let Aldridge roam free as he has been averaging a phenomenal 22
PPG. Those 22 PPG have filled in very well for the Kawhilous Spurs, as Kawhi averaged
25 PPG last season. Aldridge has found his midrange shot once again, and has been
shooting them with confidence every single time. After a rough playoff last year shooting
wise, coming into this year he looks more like himself once again. What has to be going
through his mind, is when in doubt, take the midrange.
“THREEEEEEEEEEEE!” The Spurs public address announcer Jonathan Sanford is used to yelling this word about the three-point sharpshooter Danny Green who is having what might be the best season of his career so far. He has been shooting with reckless abandon at an astronomical 39 percent. A huge part of his game that he has integrated into his repertoire is his off the dribble moves. On November 2nd against the high powered Golden State Warriors,
Green dropped MVP point guard Steph Curry and then tomahawked a dunk right on
Kevin Durant’s head. Anyone who is a fan of the Spurs knows that seeing Danny Green
dunk is rare, so when it suddenly happens, all you can do is smile in awe.
We have been lucky to have the Argentinian slayer Manu Ginóbili providing vintage
moments throughout the season thus far. He has been knocking down threes, actually
dunking, and harassing every opponent on the defensive side. With injuries to
Leonard and Parker, the court has been open to many of our young and up and coming
Three youngins that have had the opportunities to succeed in Coach Pop’s system are Dejounte Murray, Brandon Paul, and Bryn Forbes. These three players have contributed to this team every time they are called to start or come off the bench.
Dejounte Murray and the Australian attacker Patty Mills have been switching
starting point guard position throughout the season. Both have had very
entertaining games so far this season, and it will be interesting to see what the rotation
looks like once TP comes back. Brandon Paul is a 26 year old rookie who is
knowledgeable at both ends of the floor for San Antonio. He played overseas in Turkey,
Spain, and Russia, where he was a league star on all three teams. This year we have
been without our hidden gem Jonathan Simmons that left to go to the Orlando Magic
last summer in the action packed free agency period. We needed someone to fill in
on both ends of the floor like Simmons did. Paul has filled the roll seamlessly and has
been giving his all to every game he has played thus far. Lastly, there is the former
Michigan State guard Bryn Forbes. Forbes has always been a great shooter,but this
year, he has been shooting the ball with more confidence than your normal 2nd year
player. Forbes is skilled when it comes to taking an opponent one on one. He
and Danny Green are not just spot up shooters anymore, but off the dribble threats too.
With Parker and Leonard aiming for a December comeback, we have plenty of
basketball left in this long season.
Just one question remains as we go on, can we keep up our winning culture this season?
No need to fear, Coach Pop is here!