01 January 2011
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff Garcia, who heads up the best website for the best team in the NBA - Project Spurs (http://www.projectspurs.com/) - your one stop shop for everything related to the San Antonio Spurs. By now, you know that the Oklahoma City Thunder rang in the New Year with a home victory over the Atlanta Hawks last night. Tonight, they begin 2011 with the start of a brutal upcoming road trip with a visit to the AT&T Center to take on the team with the best record in the league. At 28-4, the Spurs are off to a great start, which includes a 117-104 victory over the Thunder when these two teams last faced off in November. But Oklahoma City is playing great ball right now, led by the highest scoring duo in the league in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
It was great to gain some insight from Garcia, who is flat out running the best Spurs site available. We decided on a little quid pro quo, so you can go to his site to read my preview interview on why I think the Thunder can finally pick up their signature win of the season tonight. But without further adieu, here is Garcia's take on tonight's big game.
Rob Kelley: With Thursday night's win over Dallas, San Antonio continued its dominance over the rest of the NBA. With a rather "experienced" roster, are you at all nervous that they could wear down as the season progresses?
Jeff Garcia: You know one thing I been keeping an eye on is if they have peaked too soon. If you look at their final five games during their last 10 game winning streak, before getting trounced by the Orlando Magic they were barely winning by an average of 4.6 points as opposed to their 10+ point margin of victory this year.
However, Tim Duncan is getting lots of rest and playing few minutes. A well-rested Duncan will be scary for any team in the NBA come the final march into the playoffs.
RK: Is this the new Tim Duncan we can expect going forward, or will his role grow again in this offense?
JG: He understands in this new offense he isn't the focal point anymore. Now the emphasis is on guard play (Tony Parker and Ginobili) which has led to the Spurs outstanding start to the season. Duncan is taking on a similar rold former Spurs player David Robinson did in his twilight of his career. But how nice is it for Spurs fans to know once the game grinds to a halt in the playoffs, you have Duncan waiting in the post to go to work.
RK: Through all of the off court issues that Tony Parker has been dealing with, you have to be pleased with his shooting percentage and on the court play. Yet for some reason, his name always comes up in trade talks? Why is that?
JG: Well they cooled off and there hasn't been any discussion of any trade. However, it was mainly due to his comments during the summer (how he'd like to test the free-agency waters), the play of Hill, the New York media clammoring to get a quality guard in the mix with the Knicks, all led up to the many off-season rumors.
RK: Gary Neal was huge against Dallas on Thirsday night. Do you expect more out of him as the season rolls along?
JG: Indeed. He is clutch, a reliable shooter, and a not-so-typical NBA rookie. He came to San Antonio with tons of expereince playing pro-ball overseas. He understands his role and that is what keeps Popovich happy.
RK: I have to ask because I have always been a big Oklahoma State Cowboys fan. I loved James Anderson in college. What type of pro do you see him becoming?
JG: A solid pro! He is just what the Spurs look for in a player. He is a solid community guy, eager to learn, can knock down the shot and to my surprise, he is actually not that bad of a defender as many thought he would be coming into the NBA.
It's unfortunate he suffered an injury but as soon as he gets back, he will only bolster the Spurs bench. Scary thought for the rest of the NBA knowing this Spurs team is not at 100%.
I would like to thank Garcia for his time and insight on the NBA's best team. I would wish him and his Spurs luck tonight, but as you know, that would be against protocol. But make sure to stop by his site regardless!