Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Talking Off-Season With Jeff of Project Spurs

We are talking to lots of team bloggers and getting their takes on what their squads will be doing in the off-season. Now we have Jeff of the great Spurs blog, Project Spurs. Make sure to check them out and stay up to date on everything Spurs.

1. Let's first talk about the Spurs big trade. Getting Richard Jefferson for Obricio and some other old guys, how happy did that make you feel? How close were to you writing that the Spurs front office really wasn't doing their job?

So happy I packed Oberto's bag, got him a 1-way ticket to Milwaukee and lied to the Dept. of Homeland Security that he is illegally in the USA and needs to be deported immediately to Argentina. Said to Bowen thanks for everything, see you at your jersey retirement party in SA and asked Thomas "Can we get you back instead of Oberto and Bowen?" That's how happy I was. Seriously the Spurs lacked that athletic small forward. It was very apparent in the Mavs series when Howard was having his way with the Spurs. This was a missing piece the Spurs needed to address and they sure did! Four guys (Jefferson, Duncan, Parker and Ginobilli) who can score over 20 a night has to be something other West teams are nervous about. As for me writing on the Spurs front office, I was taking a "wait and see" approach. So far I like what I see and will wait to see if they address the Spurs other weakness. . . center position.

2. You have been a guy that has wanted to get rid of Manu Ginobili for a while. In talking to you when we meet in New York, I know you don't trust how healthy his ankle is anymore. All that being said, what pieces would you like to get for him? I know you would want young, athletic talent, but who would be at the top of your list?

Well seeing how everyone knows Manu's health is questionable, I shouldn't expect a lot in return. I like what Washington offered for Manu, but I would want to get high draft picks for him and a legit big man. With Duncan's NBA career is closing to an end and it would be time for the Spurs to start rebuilding around Parker and trading Manu might just help.

3. The big time guy the Spurs picked up in the draft was DeJuan Blair. Talk about how happy you were to get him and also talk about the craziness of the draft since you got to go.

The Draft was so much fun. Just being with people who enjoy the NBA was good enough for me. It didn't matter if you were a Spurs fan, Bulls fan, Knicks fan, etc just all of us there hoping the best for our teams was the common bond. I even found myself yelling and booing teams picks for no reason. Also getting drunk and twittering live was a bad idea. Nonetheless it is something every NBA fan has to do once in their life. As for Blair what can I say, the Spurs had a glaring weakness in the paint and Blair fits that need. I often wonder if it's the Spurs organization who does their "homework" or are the rest of the NBA teams that stupid. If Blair pans out he would be added to the list of gems the Spurs found late in drafts (Parker, Manu, Hill, Blair). This guy is as rugged as they come. Physical, a beast on the boards, passionate on the court, and can grab offensive boards. Plus he annihilated Thabeet when they met head-to-head during their college days. Still, the thought of Duncan, Gooden and Blair in the paint for the Spurs just brings to me a smile.

4. Tim Duncan is no young guy (in NBA years) at 33. Predict how many more good years he has in him and what his legacy will be with the Spurs.

He has 2 more years. His knees are a concern, and he lost a lot of lift in the post. However it was awesome while it lasted. His legacy is cemented to this franchise. He was cool on the court, almost unstoppable on the court, never became a "diva", put team first above himself, allowed others to blossom, and led by example. The memories he gave Spurs fans are endless but I say his performance against the Nets in the 03 Finals, his 3 against the Suns in the playoffs, and seeing him play side-by-side with David Robinson are etched in my mind. He was never boring and when he is gone, then we will see people give him the credit he deserves which is a shame.

5. This question comes from the Fan House twitter: Are you concerned about DeJuan Blair-is he an injury risk/not a smart pick?

A bit. There has to be something to his knees if a bunch of teams passed on him. I heard doctors red-flagged Blair causing numerous teams to pass on him. However the Spurs get a guy who is not getting a guaranteed contract, low risk (financially), and if he does work out then the Spurs win as well. I say smart pick, low risk. Besides he did play a full season at Pitt and showed no signs of knee trouble.

6. This is from Howlin' T-Wolf (also check their blog): Besides obviously health what's the biggest key for the Spurs to win it all?

I say "rest". The core guys (Duncan, Parker, Finley, Manu) play deep into the playoff year after year. Any amount of rest will pay dividends for the Spurs long-term. My concern right now is how Parker will feel heading into the season. He is playing for the French National Team this summer and hope he isn't tired come opening night. Another key is how quick the new guys can gell with the Spurs system. Young guys like Blair, McClinton, Mahinimi, and Hill and the newest Spurs Richard Jefferson will need to take advantage of any practice time. As the saying goes, it takes about 1 full season to understand the Spurs system.

7. Getting RJ was clearly a step towards more contention for the Spurs. With every great team, there are down years and growing pains that ensue at some point. When does that point come for the Spurs and do you as a fan think you are prepared to cheer during tough times?

That point comes when Duncan retires. Sure Parker is there but gone is the low post threat TD provides that helps Parker to get to the lane easily. As a Spurs fan I know we won't abandon ship. Sure I am very critical about the team but I never stop defending them, reminding others they have 4 titles, etc. Spurs fans around the world will continue to cheer for them even when times are tough.

8. Another Twitter question from thattalldude (he does some writing for Jeff, at Project Spurs) Who are the top three centers to target in free agency? And will we see another trade before the season?

Top 3 centers to target: Zaza Pachulia, Andy Varejao, and Rasheed Wallace. Pachulia provides more toughness in the paint, Varejao will do the dirty work, and Wallace gives the Spurs another low post threat, scoring and shot blocking. As for another trade I sure hope so if it involves dumping Bonner. However I don't see another huge trade like the RJ trade but I can see them signing another free agent like Rasheed Wallace.

9. Lots of people interested in the Spurs, this question is from nmiko: Do you think the spurs are still interested in Sheed after they got Blair?

Oh yes. Blair is a nice, young big man but there is nothing like the experience Wallace brings to the table and his ability to block shots, board and score. He is an established vet but I hope Blair spends more time learning from TD and not Sheed should he come to SA for obvious reasons.

10. If you had to take Fabricio Oberto to dinner to give him his late celebration as a now former Spur, where would you take him and what would you say to him? How much crap would you give him?

I would take him to the Wendy's dollar menu and say to him "The Spurs couldn't sign Scola but got you? You can't board, play volleyball on the court and posted a pic of yourself on Twitter shirtless, eating ice-cream. Seeing you on the court actually made me miss Rasho Nesterovic. Have fun in Detroit!" I might give him some thanks for his play in the 07 Finals but he never was the right type of center the Spurs needed to play along side Duncan.

11. Hot seat question: how far do the Spurs get next year?

If they stay healthy and address the center position I say WCF vs the Lakers. Again if they don't address the center position then Spurs are in for one hell of a fight going up against Gasol, Odom, and Bynum. Right now all we got is Bonner, Blair and Duncan. Doesn't reassure me.

Thanks again to Jeff. Remember to check out Project Spurs!