It just feels wrong.
It’s not going to change things really; the Spurs will be the Spurs. Maybe even a little better version of the Spurs. But this starting five just feels weird:
Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair.
Coach Gregg Popovich has not settled on that yet according to the San Antonio Express News, but it’s starting to look that way.
Starter Manu Ginobili. Not really used to that. Sure, he started 22 games last season, but the Spurs were always at their best when he was coming off the bench fresh when everyone else was just a little winded
But this doesn’t change much. In crunch time, Ginobili was always in there. Starter, sixth man, he role will largely be the same, it’s just how the minutes are divided up.
But Blair in the frontcourt with Duncan is a change. Last season it was Antonio McDyess who was the big man up front doing the dirty work that let Duncan be Duncan. Now it’s Blair — who is better at the dirty work. Popovich is right to be concerned that Blair can’t spread the floor with a jumper, allowing teams to clog the lane more easily, but this is still the right move. More Blair, Less McDyess the better.
However, it also leaves you with a 6’7” center… well, we all know he’s a forward and Duncan is the center. The Spurs can define it however they wish. But it doesn’t change the problem that against the elite — the Lakers, Celtics Magic, even the Mavericks in the West — that creates matchup problems.
The Spurs need 6’11” Tiago Splitter to step up if they are going to really take a step forward. The Brazilian rookie has plenty of international experience, but right now he is sidelined with a strained right plantaris muscle. He should be back soon, but his absence combined with Blair’s nose for the ball and hard work means Splitter is coming off the bench.
Blair and Ginobili are the starters. Still sounds odd.