San Antonio Spurs: Player Power Rankings Week 2

By Rhys T-J
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Spurs Top 5 Player Power Rankings Week 2

Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday Feb 25th 2014 – Tuesday Mar 4th 2014

Games this week: 02/26/14 – Win vs. DET, 02/28/14 – Win vs. CHA, 03/02/14 Win vs. DAL, 03/04/14 – Win vs. CLE

Spurs +/- weekly total= +47

Rankings are fun. Mostly because they cause debate, but also because it is fun to categorically state something as a fact, even if there is no way of really knowing the truth. Each week I will rank the top 5 Spurs players (that saw the court during the week) by performance, measured by a combination of me watching games and their stats. If I put Patty Mills at number one, I am not saying that he is better than everyone else on the Spurs, I’m just saying he had the best week relative to expectations. 20 and 5 from Patty is more impressive than 20 and 5 from Timmy, because we assume that Duncan will get those stats on a fairly regular basis. Feel free to argue in the comments, but you are probably wrong.

I will try and bring these out every Tuesday, so will include games played from the previous Tuesday up until the Monday night before I post. (This week I’ve been sick which is why they are late, so I will include the Cavs game from Tuesday)

All stats courtesy of NBA.com/stats unless otherwise stated.

Individual +/- in ( )

Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

5. Boris Diaw

Boris and his boobs had a fantastic week and managed to do a bit of everything despite returning to the bench for good. He averaged 7.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.3 blocks to go along with almost 56% shooting. The rebounds, assists, and blocks all rank third on the Spurs this week, which is very impressive for a bench player.

Diaw’s versatility is part of what allows the Spurs to mix and match with their lineups so well, and it really helps to spread minutes around. When playing with the bench, Pop can even run the offence through Diaw, which allows him to rest his starters more without losing too much on the offensive end.

Boris, like Kawhi, will probably spend some time guarding LeBron this upcoming week, so it is good to see him productive going in. His confidence will be high, which is critical when facing such a devastating and often demoralizing force.

Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

4. Tim Duncan (40)

Duncan had another poor shooting week this week (45% from the field), but again made up for it with solid numbers in everything else, especially +/- (highest on the team). He averaged a double-double, with 10 points and 10.5 rebounds, and threw in 3.3 assists and 1.8 blocks for good measure.

He also played great D (again), although Al Jefferson was a bit of a problem for the Spurs as a whole. Given that Big Al is probably the best post scorer in the league right now, that is excusable for the old man.

Duncan played 30 minutes per game this week, which, incredibly, is above his season average. This is the point in the season where I expect Pop to give Timmy as much rest as possible, to keep him fresh for the playoffs, so we might not be seeing him in these rankings for a while now.

Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

3. Patty Mills (+35)

With the return of Tony Parker, many thought (myself included) that Patty’s minutes would fall into the low teens, maybe even single digits. The same thought did not occur to the great mind that is Coach Pop, and boy, am I glad we were wrong. CoJo had his minutes cut (down to only 8 mpg, and only played in 3 of the 4 games) which is good for Mills in the long run, and probably good for the team as a whole, as Joseph managed to have a negative +/- rating during a week in which the team went +47.

While Patty’s individual per-game stats might not jump out at you, it’s his +/- rating that really stands out. This team is flat-out better when he plays, and there are no two ways about it. I don’t know if its the spacing that his shooting provides (definitely), the fact that he rarely turns the ball over (probably) or that he talks so much smack it puts other teams off their game (almost certainly not), but Patty Mills makes the Spurs a better team when he is on the court.

The Tony Parker injury really allowed him to blossom, and if that growth continues, I can absolutely see him single-handedly winning a playoff game or two for the Spurs. Weapons like Patty off the bench are invaluable come playoff time – especially if they can average 3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and almost 9 points while only turning the ball over once per game and only averaging 22 minutes off the bench.

Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

2. Kawhi Leonard (+49)

Leonard made his return this week and suddenly, all was right for the men in black and silver. After missing his first few shots in his first game back, it seemed as if Kawhi could miss no more. He shot a blistering 59.5% from the field, and an even better 61.5% from behind the arc, which lead to a hyper-efficient (and team leading) 15.3 points per game.

Even if he had scored zero points this week, Kawhi would have been in contention for one of these coveted top 5 positions, because of his excellent periphery stats and his world-class defence. Leonard lead the team in the two most widely used defensive stats – blocks and steal – with averages of 2 and 2.5 per game respectively, as well as grabbing 6.5 rebounds per game, second only to Timmy.

This guy is key to the Spurs’ title ambitions this year, and it is great to see him get back in the team looking so healthy. The upcoming week involves a huge game against the Miami Heat, and Kawhi will be relied upon to slow down (because nobody SHUTS down) LeBron James.

As a Finals rematch (and possibly a Finals preview) both teams will be up for this game, and Kawhi will have his work cut out for him on the defensive side of the ball. After the incredible week he’s had, it might not be too much to ask for Leonard to play the King to a standstill.

Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

1.  Manu Ginobili (+33)

The Spurs had an incredible 8 players average double figures this week, and many of them can thank Mr. Ginobili. He averaged almost 7 assists, in 24 minutes per game, while also making two threes per game on only 4.8 attempts per game for a 3FG% of 42%.

Ginobili was one assist away from a double-double against the Pistons, and had plenty of “Hockey Assists” in the win against Cleveland. His clever ball movement and passing is key to the Spurs, especially when Parker is out, or on the bench.

This was especially evident during the game against Cleveland, during which the Spurs recorded a season high of 39 assists on only 43 made field goals. For those of you that struggle with numbers, that means that only 4 made baskets were unassisted, and Ginobili was at the centre of that night of magic passing – all 14 Spurs recorded at least 1 assist, and Manu lead the way with 6.

Ginobili had such an assist-happy week, he even tried to pass to the ref during the win vs Charlotte (1:18 in)

Not only has he been the most effective Spur this week, he has been the most fun to watch. He even had the funniest moment of the week – an exploding shoe. What can’t the balding Argentine do?

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