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Tag: Jonathon Simmons

Missing Kawhi, “Peak Powers” LeBron With Paul Garcia, Tas Melas

Kawhi Leonard | San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard’s ankle injury has sadly removed any remaining suspense as to whether or not the Warriors are likely to coast into the Conference Finals (Mark Runyon/Creative Commons).

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In this two-part episode, The StartersTas Melas joins us to discuss the league’s biggest storylines, such as the highly anticipated third straight Warriors-Cavaliers Finals matchup, the Celtics’ rapid and robust rebuild and Paul George and Gordon Hayward not qualifying for max extensions. But first, Paul Garcia of Project Spurs and Analyzing the League stops by to detail the incredible impact Kawhi Leonard’s injury has had and will continue to have on San Antonio’s prospects of upsetting the mighty Warriors. If you need to get in the mood, peep a handful of excerpted quotes below:

Paul Garcia: 8:45-9:28: “If there’s one lineup I think that can work, it’s [Dewayne] Dedmon at the 5. The only problem with that, which is why Pop hasn’t really been playing him, is that he slows down the ship on offense. He can’t shoot from the outside, he’s obviously just a rim runner, but defenses are good enough in the playoffs are good enough to take that away… They can try to go small… but they don’t have a team built to play small. They have a team built to play big, so that’s something they have trouble with. And the Warriors haven’t even thrown out their best stuff yet.” Continue reading

Jeff Garcia: Kawhi Leonard “Lurking in the Shadows” of MVP Race

Jeff, a longtime Spurs reporter, discusses Gregg Popovich’s dominant, yet under-appreciated, squad in this exhilarating episode.

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Amid all the talk of a potential third straight Cavaliers-Warriors Finals matchup and a statistically historic MVP race between Russell Westbrook and James Harden, the San Antonio Spurs have quietly continued their dominance, on pace for 64 wins in the first season of the post-Tim Duncan era. Jeff Garcia, lead Spurs writer for News 4 San Antonio and Fox 29 San Antonio, as well as the host of the Locked on Spurs podcast, joins us to explain why the Spurs, as always, are perfectly content to stay below the national radar until the playoffs, and how their quiet, humble star, Kawhi Leonard, embodies that mentality. He also takes us through how, in recent years, the team has been able to transition seamlessly from a slow, grinding offense to the faster-paced, efficient one we’re seeing now. Among additional fascinating topics, Jeff tackles impressive backup point guard Patrick Mills’ impending unrestricted free agency. Particularly, will the Spurs pay to keep Mills in town and/or make him the starter over Tony Parker? Read more for our favorite excerpts from Jeff:

3:31-4:35Despite their recent success, the Spurs are perennially ignored by the national media. Jeff explains why and if it matters:

“They just get the job done, and that can get boring at times. It’s like they say: ‘death, taxes, and Spurs’…They’re sitting at 32-9. They are a defensive animal. They’re an offensive animal. But yet, overlooked…Does it really matter? Because as long as this team is jiving at the right point [and] is heading into the postseason on the right foot, has a good rhythm, they’re going to get their national media attention, and hopefully that’s going to come late June when they’re hoisting up another trophy.”

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Chris Reichert: NBA Teams “Looking for Rotational Role Players” in D-League

Pierre Jackson of the Texas Legends is one of many D-League stars hoping that an NBA contract is in his future. (Eurofan88/Wikimedia Commons)

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Chris Reichert of FanSided Network’s The Step Back visits to tell us everything we need to know about the D-League. The league expert explains the expected impact of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on the NBA’s official minor-league basketball organization, the league’s top prospects and how it has served as a laboratory for testing potential NBA rule changes. Also, what is an ambitious basketball coach’s best friend? Not a dog, bur rather a coaching stint in the D-League. Reichert is teeming with fascinating material, including how wing Jonathon Simmons went from paying $150 to try out for a D-League team to earning a key role playing for one of the greatest organizations in all of professional sports, the San Antonio Spurs. Check out some of Reichert’s rubies below:

1:34-3:28 Reichert on how the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will affect the D-League players: “They’re adding two roster spots to every NBA team and those are going to be two-way contracts, probably for fringe [NBA] players…they want to keep their rights but they really want to develop them in the D-League. Those players are going to be paid a little more. They’ll get 50,00 to 75,000. It opens up 60 additional roster spots for players, which is another great thing for D-League guys, fringe guys looking to make rosters and get an opportunity…The NBA minimums have come up 45 to 50 percent…which is going to help D-League players, because the 10-day contracts come January are based off the minimum salaries for however many years a player has in the NBA…They helped about a fifth of them, which I guess is a start, but hopefully, eventually we’ll get higher contracts across the board in the D-League.”

5:39-6:32 on the D-League as a test lab for the NBA: “I think it’s really smart. It’s a good way to gauge…what kind of effect these changes are going to have on overall gameplay and fan experience. They have a coach’s challenge in the D-League that can be used in the fourth quarter or overtime. That’s something the NBA does not have and they’ve been experimenting with it. This is the second season…They used to also use the FIBA goaltending rule, where you can hit the ball off the rim…Another thing that might actually get implemented in the NBA that they’re using this year is on offensive rebounds, the shot clock goes to 14…It keeps the game flow going, forces the offense to maybe make a faster decision on their second possession.”

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