San Antonio Spurs power forwards posted an aggregate 14.0 PER last season according to 82games.com. That was the lowest PER of the five positional groups as shooting guards narrowly beat them with a 14.7 PER.
It wasn’t due to poor shooting efficiency; power forwards were third in effective field goal percentages. The group didn’t particularly attempt as many attempts at the rim, partly due to Matt Bonner, and they didn’t get to the line to assuage their efficiency, also partly due to Bonner.
Still, they were productive compared to other teams. The Charlotte Bobcats’ point guards were their most efficient unit, posting a 14.1 PER. (All fairness aside, I probably did not strengthen my argument by including the Bobcats.)
Three interesting statistical quirks happened last year in Diaw’s abbreviated stint with the Spurs: He assisted on a mere 16.1% of San Antonio’s possessions last season. While above-average for most forwards, it was not near his career assist percentage of 20.6%. His turnover rate also rose above his career average. Had he qualified for minutes, his 28.1% turnover rate would have put him among other proficient turnover creators like Reggie Evans, who finished with a turnover on 29.9% of his possessions last season. The only saving grace for Diaw was that he shot the uncharacteristically well from beyond 16 feet — 50% on long 2-pointers and 61.5% on 3-pointers, respectively — so he may be due for a lot of regression this season. But it also just as likely that his turnvoers and assists start trending in the right direction.
Bonner didn’t attempt a single shot in 13 minutes against Montepaschi Siena. He did grab six rebounds so he wasn’t completely unproductive. Bonner is not in jeopardy of losing his job because of his perimeter shooting but Spurs fans are growing impatient with every underwhelming playoff performance. If he continues to struggle in high pressure situations, San Antonio may find him expendable.
Blair’s fluctuating role has fueled him on the basketball floor. He finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three steals in the Spurs’ first preaseason game, tying guards Nando De Colo and Cory Joseph for the team-high. His mobility does not seem to be a huge issue and neither does his jump shot, in which he has flashed a decent mid-range jumper. It wouldn’t be too outlandish if Blair earned more minutes and potentially his starting job should Diaw be ineffective.
With range that extends past the free throw line and a knack for rebounds, Powell is a reliable source for floor spacing and rebounding.
Depending on how the coaching staff utilizes Wilkerson — which wasn’t much on Saturday — he could be one of the next few cuts.