The Spurs have been dancing for some time with the question of when, exactly, it makes the most sense to ditch a marquee player or two in the name of rebuilding. Some said the summer of 2010 would have been the right time, but then they went and won 61 games. Even though they were followed by a disappointing playoff loss to the Grizzlies, those 61 wins were something of a magic pass to keep the team together again this season. But now that their best player, Manu Ginobili, will miss a fat chunk of this short season, I have to think there'll be more Spurs intrigue than usual at the 2012 trade deadline. John Hollinger points out that Ginobili's broken hand "couldn't come at a worse time, either -- the Spurs have 19 games in the next 30 days. Even with Ginobili, San Antonio showed the same weaknesses it had a year ago. The Spurs are an offensive team these days, ranking only 22nd in defensive efficiency so far. In particular, their glaring lack of capable defenders at the 4 leaves them at a perennial matchup disadvantage come playoff time against the West's legions of elite power forwards." Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell: "There is great risk in demanding too much of Duncan or Parker in the early weeks of this season’s condensed schedule. Duncan, in particular, would not withstand heavy minutes on short rest. This is not to say Duncan is an automatic injury -- it’s more of a comment about his ability to play well on limited rest and what it would mean for his body in advance of the postseason. Big picture, then. The Spurs will be fortunate to play .500 basketball without Ginobili. If the Spurs play much worse than .500 in Ginobili’s absence, they could struggle to secure a playoff seed, even with a late season push, upon his return." A win-now strategy is still the default, but the arguments to rebuild are getting stronger by the day.
This is an interesting list. When you sort it that way, it takes the same guts as PER rankings, but minimizes those who have hardly played any minutes. Leaders become LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony. By strict PER, Andrew Bynum is the most productive, but he has played just two games.
Ever wonder how to be David Stern? A how-to guide. I'm joking, of course. Sort of.
Breaking down exactly how it is that Ricky Rubio cures cancer. Or whatever it is he does, exactly.