article written by Chris Giannotti
In order to create NBA history by forging a 41 and 1 home record, you need more than star players and arguably the best coach on the planet. While it is comforting to know that your team can rely on Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge every night, the San Antonio Spurs have more in their arsenal than those two marquee players. This InTheGymRange.com article, will examine the San Antonio Spurs deep and talented veteran reserves, as well as a younger player that is waiting in the wings to take on a larger role.
David West is a 6’9 Power Forward who was a 2003 NBA First Round selection by the Hornets. West played 8 seasons for New Orleans, where he was selected to two All Star teams. He is also the franchise’s all time leading scorer. West left New Orleans after the 2011 season to sign with the Indiana Pacers. During the 2015 off-season, West signed a free agent contract with San Antonio. This was a classic San Antonio front office steal, as West took less money to sign with a proven winner. Throughout the course of the 15-16 season, West has proven to be Coach Popovich’s first big man sub. West has averaged approximately 7 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes of action.
Boris Diaw has been a steadying and vital front-court reserve for the Spurs since the 2011-2012 season. The 6’7 Diaw was a 2003 1st round selection by the Atlanta Hawks. A truly multi skilled big man, Diaw has proven to possess elite level passing skills for a post player, as well as having a reliable three point shot. Diaw’s career highlights include winning the 2014 NBA championship as a member of the Spurs and also winning the 2006 NBA’s Most Improved Player Award as a member of the Phoenix Suns. Diaw has averaged 6.4 points and 3.1 rebounds this season.
Since he was a star player for the St. Mary’s (CA) Gaels, Patty Mills has always intrigued me as a player. The 6’1 Australian point guard has been Tony Parker’s backup since the 2013-2014 season. Mills steadying bench play has reduced the minutes burden on Parker, and his evolving three point touch has provided the Spurs with great floor spacing. Mills has averaged 10 points per game this season. Mills is regarded as one of the NBA’s better point guard back-ups and has the ability to change the complexion of a game due to his driving and shooting ability.
Even though his production and minutes have decreased, Manu Ginobili still provides Coach Popovich with a valuable crunch time presence. Ginobili can still use his patented Euro-step to get a bucket or fouled when his team relies on him. Ginobili’s accomplishments are extensive and extremely impressive. He is a 4 time NBA champion, 2 time All-Star, 2 time All NBA Third Team and the 2008 NBA 6th Man of the Year Award Winner. He is arguably one of the greatest 6th men of all time. Ginobili is averaging 8 points per game this year to go with 4.6 assists.
I have been watching high school basketball in the state of New Jersey for over 30 years and Kyle Anderson is the best passing big man that I have ever seen. Anderson was the Spurs 2014 1st round draft pick out of UCLA. He played two years for the Bruins, He was a classic Spurs selection. A player that some draft pundits, claimed was too slow and didn’t have a position. He landed with the best possible franchise that suits his talents. The Spurs constant motion offense that emphasizes passing and cutting best accentuates Anderson’s truly unique skill. Anderson has averaged 4.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
Kevin Martin, acquired mid-season by San Antonio from the Minnesota Timberwolves has seen limited action although he has the ability to get hot from 3-point range. The 33-year old former first round pick has averaged over 17 points per game in his career. While he is nearing the end he still has the ability to produce when called upon.
40-year old point guard Andre Miller might not get much playing time, however he is a true professional who brings vital leadership abilities to any time he plays for. The former University of Utah star might be retiring at the end of the season and it would be great for him to possibly have his last season end with an NBA World Title ring.
These players have been vital to the San Antonio Spurs success this season. They spell the starters and provide valuable back-up minutes. All of them play within a team concept. While the Spurs are down 3-2 to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Semifinals, Popovich has used his bench to near perfection. If there was a definition of how to use a bench, the 2015-16 version of San Antonio would be it. For all NBA general managers and franchises, the San Antonio Spurs bench is a perfect example of how to build and fill out a 15 man roster. Nobody does it like the Spurs.
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