We all know abot the Big Three and their importance to the success of the Spurs franchise, but to my mind the biggest story this season (Sorry RJ, you’ve been good, but three heads are better than one bald, peanut-shaped one every time) has been three players making their way in this world with everything they’ve got. Those three of course being Anderson, Splitter, and Neal who from this point forward will be know as the NEw Three.
As most, if not all, of you know, ESPN employs a gentleman by the name of David Thorpe. Thorpe is considered by some, to be a player development expert and by others a bit of a joke; irregardless (yes I know, but I’m being ironical), he has a platform from which to speak about NBA Rookies, and he’s speaking highly of the New Three.
Last week I mentioned that he had our guys listed at numbers 7, 11, and 33. Well, after some continued solid play those numbers have been revised. (Insider access required to see the whole list) Gary Neal has moved up from #11 to #7, Neo is down two spots to #9 and Tiago has jumped to #22.
Thorpe has these things to say about each of the New Three
of Gary Neal:
Nov. 10: Playing well is one thing; being a difference-maker for an elite team is a whole other level. Neal looks as if he’s playing against summer-league talent…
of James Anderson:
His shot and talent at making easy plays (eight assists to two turnovers in his first five games) are rarely seen in rookies. Plus, he’s not a liability on defense.
and of Tiago Splitter:
Splitter played well in all four Spurs victories. He has been especially active on the offensive glass, and is ahead of most rookies on the defensive side of the ball. With DeJuan Blair struggling, Splitter may get a look at a starting spot.
As much as I love me some Duncan, Manu, and Tony, I gotta say I love the attention these new guys are getting and the difference they are playing in the still young season. Their shooting percentages will most likely wane as the season progresses, and possibly their other stats as well, but the energy, intelligence, and poise the New Three have exhibited so far bode very well for the team’s chances this season.
Edit: And then there’s this from yesterday’s chat:
Charlie (Bored at work)
Step Brothers. Nice. Whose start has impressed you most and why (Lakers, Hornets, HEAT, Celtics, Spurs)?
David Thorpe (12:09 PM)
I’m going with the Spurs. 3 rooks in the rotation!!