Inside today’s Spurs Roundup:
- Breaking down the genius of the pick and roll!
- The failure of the 17-foot jumper!
- And checking in with Roundup favorite “LatinD”!
But first, a story:
In 1934, the Washington Senators were terrible. The previous season, under first-year manager Joe Cronin, the Senators won 99 games and went to the World Series. In Cronin's second year, the team won only 66 games and finished seventh in the American League.
I mention this because, in 1933, the Washington Post had been purchased by Eugene Meyer, who’d previously served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Meyer wasn't all that familiar with D.C. sports, and so in 1934, he was confused as to why the Senators had experienced such a fall from the previous year’s success.
His daughter, Katharine Graham, notes in her autobiography that Meyer sought out the counsel of Shirley Povich, the legendary Post columnist. What's wrong with the team, he asked Povich? The scribe's reply was simple: The Senators don't have any good pitchers.
It's Meyer's next thought that's gotten me thinking this week, a week in which the Spurs have dangled seemingly limitless trade offers across the league. Said Meyer:
"Tell me, maybe it would be good for the Washington Post, how much does it cost to buy a pitcher?"
As Graham notes, back then, Meyer "had already grown to realize the importance of sports to newspaper readership." In 2010, we at KENS 5 know the feeling. When the Spurs are playing well, people are tuning into to catch highlights and checking the web for stories. When they're not, our coverage goes unnoticed.
This is a season that was supposed to end one place for the Spurs: in the NBA finals. Judging by the team's actions here at the trade deadline, the organization doesn't think they're anywhere close to reaching the title round.
Richard Jefferson's on the market. So is Roger Mason, Jr. So is Antonio McDyess.
That's three players, all of whom have started games for the Spurs this year, and all of whom are apparently expendable.
But then there are the expiring contracts of Michael Finley, Matt Bonner and Ian Mahinmi. In NBA terms, an expiring contract is trade bait.
So that's six players, all on the market. In return, the Spurs are looking for a big man. Tyrus Thomas and Amar'e Stoudemire are the rumors of the day.
Now, I've fired up the ESPN Trade Machine. I've considered the options. And what I've come away with, ultimately, is this:
There really isn't anyone on the market who I can say automatically turns this team into a title contender. No matter what happens at the deadline, the questions are still there: Can Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker turn it on down the stretch? Will Tim Duncan's knees and body hold up? Is this team even good enough defensively to contend?
But hey, maybe it would be good for KENS 5. So how much does it cost to buy a 6'10'' big man who can put up a double-double each night?
My favorite basketball read of the week, via the folks at "48 Minutes of Hell:" breaking down the simple genius of the Spurs' pick and roll.
Consider the Following
The good folks at Hoopdata have some remarkable data on every NBA player. So consider this:
Richard Jefferson is shooting 63.8 percent at the rim (his highest percentage in the last four seasons).
He's shooting 36 percent inside of 10 feet (that's a full 15 percent worse than his total from that distance in 2006-7).
From 10 to 15 feet, he's shooting 31.3 percent.
From 16 to 23 feet, he's shooting 42 percent.
From three-point range (23 feet, 9 inches and beyond), he's shooting 35.4 percent.
How, exactly, is a player as effective shooting from inside 10 feet as he is from nearly 24 feet away? And how, in the 14 feet between those distances, could his shooting percentage vary so wildly?
I just don't understand it.
One More Thing
At the outset of this Rodeo road trip, KENS 5 introduced you to an Argentinean Spurs fan who'd come to America to follow his favorite basketball team. Now, over at Pounding the Rock, "Latin D" writes about his infamous meeting with Manu. It's worth a read.
The Roundup is a weekly look at Spurs basketball and the NBA. Dan Oshinsky is a digital media producer at KENS 5. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.