The beginning of the final verse of Frank Sinatra‘s “My Way” perfectly encapsulates the 2010-11 San Antonio Spurs: “And now, the end is near, and so I face, the final curtain.” It’s been a great run, but this is one old team. Timmy Duncan, fantasy legend and one of the greatest power forwards of all time, is 34 going on 70. Manu Ginobili is listed at 33, but has felt the impact of the Medicare donut hole. Tony Parker Longoria is only 28 but with Abe Vigoda‘s ankles. I won’t even get into Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess.
While things have been looking kinda bleak since being bounced in the second-round of the ’09-10 playoffs by the Suns, something funny happened on the way to the Alamodome. Reinforcements, namely George Hill, DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter, have rejuvenated hope in Southern Texas, and the Spurs may just have one final run left in them. Duncan has fallen off the last few years, but still produced 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, a surprising 3.2 assists and 1.5 blocks and should come somewhat close to repeating those numbers this season. No longer a high fantasy pick, you’ll still get value out of the future hall-of-famer in the late third/early fourth round. I’m sure I’ll pass on him as much as I’m sure that I’ll regret it.
Word to the wise: Never count Ginobili out. For my money this is one of the 10 best shooting guards in my lifetime and a multi-category beast. I would have donated a kidney if it meant the Knicks would sign him, just to change the organization’s culture. He is passionate about winning and despite the injuries and the proclivity to produce more off the bench, keep those 16 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 steals and nearly 2.0 threes per game in mind in the eighth round or so. Parker was crushed by injuries last season and was never able to get it going. His lack of steals and inability to knock down the three keeps him as a better point guard in real life than in fantasy, but he ain’t half bad. He’ll make up for the those categories by being one of a handful of lead guards capable of shooting 50 percent from the field (.490 career), and is an injury to Duncan away from becoming more aggressive on the offensive end. Don’t forget when this happened in ’08-09, and Parker was dropping 30 a game like it was nobody’s business.
Ready to take on a much larger role this season is Hill, who will likely be involved in an even minutes split with Parker and Ginobili. The third-year man is loaded and a solid sleeper this season, especially given the injury history of his backcourt mates. I think I’m going to casually look his way in the 12th or 13th round and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him finish the year averaging 14 points and 4-5 assists with decent threes and steals. Jefferson is an interesting case. Like Parker, he has always been a better real-life player than a fantasy one. He didn’t seem to fit in at all last year and his numbers (12.3, 4.4, 2.0) suffered. I think he is a bounceback candidate, but won’t do enough to warrant consideration before the 13th round. Even though he will probably not start, I will take a look at Blair long before Jefferson. Per minute, the beast from Pitt is one of the top rebounders in the league and his field goal percentage should be sublime. Not only would Parker reap the benefits of a Duncan injury, Blair is capable of physically decimating his opponents with more court time. If the Splitter thing doesn’t work out, I’d like to see Duncan slide to center and Blair start at PF.
Speaking of the 6-11 Splitter, he comes to the Spurs already polished, having played professionally in Spain, where he was League MVP in ’09-10. The Brazilian is expected to share minutes in the middle with McDyess, but should prove the more worthy of a larger role as the season progresses. Tough to say where he should be drafted, but my guess is that he’ll be a solid third center and a nice mid-to-late round grab. McDyess has battled injuries most of the past 10 years and has admirably continued to produce. He just doesn’t belong on fantasy rosters anymore.
PG: Tony Parker, George Hill
SG: Manu Ginobili, James Anderson
SF: Richard Jefferson, Matt Bonner
PF: Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair
C: Tiago Splitter, Antonio McDyess
Up Next: Oklahoma City