The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Monday, August 29, 2005

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa

What in the ever-lovin' hell are the Spurs doing signing Nick Van Exel? This could go just as bad as the Ron Mercer experiment did a couple of years ago. Let's break this down now:

We now have three point guards- Parker, Beno, and Van Exel. I'm putting my money on Beno being out of the loop. Parker and Beno have nowhere near the height or the size to be combo guards, Van Exel does. At the two we've got Manu and Brent Barry, with Van Exel able to do occasional duty here. Michael Finley or Devin Brown also fit in here too. At the three it's Bruce, Horry, and either Finley or Brown. Manu can also play here if we go small. The Power Forward slot is filled by Tim, Big Shot Bob, and Fabricio Oberto. The center position has Nazr Mohammed, Rasho, Timmeh, and Oberto that can play it.

First, it's becoming painfully clear that Pop did not like the way Tim was crowded upon in the Finals. The amount of shooters we've got on this team, either consistent or streaky, is crazy right now. The question now becomes, how do you get each and every one of these guys meaningful minutes? Parker, Van Exel, Manu, Brent, Bruce, and Horry are definitely on the roster and with the exception of Horry- who can play some minutes at the four spot- will all be fighting for the same pool of 144 minutes/game. That's not including Finley or Brown.

Now I'm not worried about Manu, Brent, or Bruce (add Devin here if we re-sign him), they're consumate professionals who'll bite their ego and take their lumps for the good of the team. But what about Hollywood, I mean Parker? Finley has also been a professional for his entire career, but that can be pretty easy when- with the exception of the end of last season- you've always played 35 plus minutes a night. How does he hold up when he plays 15 minutes over the span of four or five games like Pop's been known to do with his bench? And has anyone, ever, in the history of the world, said the same thing about Nick Van Exel?

Finally, Van Exel is the type of player who needs his touches to score, I don't know if I see him getting his baskets in the flow of this offense. And Nick needs a lot of touches at that, his highest shooting percentage- 42%- came in his second season in the league. He hasn't cracked 40% in the last two seasons. Now granted you can't get too many good shots when you're playing for Portland or Golden State, but still. Van Exel has also never averaged less than 27 minutes/game.

I understand where Pop and RC are coming from with this signing. We need more backcourt scoring and better ball-handling, at least until Beno starts to get it. And this is most likely an insurance policy should Finley not come here. Plus, should we sign Finley, we immediately have a couple of guards to pick from for a potential trade package with Rasho or Nazr.

But, couldn't we just use Barry as a combo guard here? He's done it successfully before in Seattle. This would get him on the floor for more minutes and would allow Brown or Finley more minutes backing up Manu and Bruce at the two and three. I'm just not liking this signing one bit.