Yeah, let’s just say I’m still in pre-season mode. I’m like Shaq, I gotta play myself into shape. Anyway, here are five thoughts about the Spurs 99-95 season-opening win.
1.) Can people shut up about Duncan being washed up? At this point, he is what he is. Somebody who can occasionally throw up 20/10, play solid defense and set terrific picks to fuel the Spurs offense. He’ll have off games, but come on guys. He’s 36. Not 108. With Tiago Splitter’s improvement, expect him get less minutes than last year. He’ll be fine for the playoffs, which is the only thing that really matters anyway.
2.) Speaking of Tiago Splitter, Tiago Splitter! With exactly zero DeJuan Blair, Splitter is going to have to play big minutes. Before the season I was admit about San Antonio trading for another big to protect the rim and match up better with the Lakers. But if Diaw and Splitter continue to play solid, we might not need to. But then again, a Splitter/Neal or Patty Mills might be enough to get another body.
(That might be the most homer paragraph I’ve ever written. Why don’t I just compare Splitter to Omer Asik and stop beating around the bush already?)
3.) Everybody, welcome to the Anthony Davis show. He’s doing exactly what he did in college: affecting the game without the ball and throwing together three or four hyper-athletic plays. The Hornets’ athleticism and shot blocking will keep them in every game. Especially if Al-Farouq Aminu does what he did tonight every night.
4.) Glad to see the Kawhi Leonard pre-season hype carried over to game one. It was all him in the third quarter to put the Spurs in command. With a healthy Manu and an improved Kawhi, the Spurs could lock down the No. 3 slot of “teams with an abundance of just stupid talented perimeter guys” behind Miami and OKC.
5.) Still Tony Parker’s team? Still Tony Parker’s team. Despite sitting for a good chunk of the second half, Parker nailed the biggest shot of the game to put the Spurs up for good. I said before the season that Parker was going to lose his Top 5 MVP spot to Rondo. I don’t think Tony is going to let that go easily.
Bonus point! Living in the heart of ACC country without a favorite ACC team, I develop complex relationships with players from every team each year. There have been guys I loved, like Jeff Teague, Kendell Marshall, Gerald Henderson, Malcolm Delaney and the aforementioned Aminu. There have also been guys I’ve just really hated, often for bad reasons, but they’ve earned my hate none-the-less. The Hornets employ, in my expert opinion, two of the 10 douchiest players to pass through the ACC. And they’re both guards! Greivis Vasquez and Austin Rivers are a Harrison Barnes trade away from owning the first ever all-ACC douchebag perimeter squad! Keep your options open, Dell Demps. Your next marketing campaign was in the previous sentence.