San Antonio Spurs: 3 Point Guard Options After Chris Paul in Free Agency
By Rob Wolkenbrod
San Antonio Spurs, Feb 24, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) in action against the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter at Staples Center. The San Antonio Spurs won 105-97. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs lost out on Chris Paul, but options remain for them at point guard.
The San Antonio Spurs lost out on a top free agent target, as Chris Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The Los Angeles Clippers will acquire multiple pieces in the deal including Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Sam Dekker.
This could have given the Spurs a big-name option at point guard, to pair with Kawhi Leonard and start building the closest thing to a “superteam.” However, with Paul gone, plans will obviously change at the one spot.
Who should the Spurs turn to next at point guard, if they want a bigger name to step in? There are multiple options for this.
Mar 22, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) dribbles up the court during the first quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
3. Derrick Rose
We recently noted how Derrick Rose is a player that the Spurs should avoid this offseason. However, with the organization also interested in signing him, it makes this a legitimate option.
This isn’t the 2011 Rose that anyone would get. He’s coming off four knee surgeries, including one in April. So there’s little to no reliability there, despite him playing in 64 games last season. After showing an ability to score adequately (18 points per game on 47 percent shooting), there could be a market for him.
If Rose signs with the Spurs, Gregg Popovich should limit his minutes as much as possible. That means no more 30-plus minute performances, keeping to a plan that was put in place for aging veterans like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Rose is only 28, but the history of injuries should warrant caution.
Rose could split time with Dejounte Murray at point guard, giving some way to the 2016 first-round pick in minutes. That way it gives Murray an extended look and allows the former NBA MVP to rest more often than usual.
Signing Rose is risky, but a possibility for the Spurs. Given this organization’s success in resting players before, things could work out between these two sides, depending on the cost.
Next: Sergio Rodriguez
Mar 20, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Sergio Rodriguez (14) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic guard D.J. Augustin (14) defends during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
2. Sergio Rodriguez
Unlike Derrick Rose, Sergio Rodriguez is a more conservative option for the San Antonio Spurs. This is especially if they feel Tony Parker will be back for most of the season, as well as giving Dejounte Murray more time.
Rodriguez returned to the NBA for the 2016-17 season, after being away for the previous six years. This saw him play a backup point guard role before, and returned to do the same, except he started 30 games.
While Rodriguez showed his skills as a ball-handler (5.1 assists per game), he only shot 39 percent, but also at a 36 percent clip from beyond the arc. So he didn’t impress, but did enough to play a supporting role on the Philadelphia 76ers.
Rodriguez could join San Antonio as an insurance option at point guard. He could get about 20 minutes per game to start the season, then transition into role somewhat deeper on the bench, spelling someone when needed. That may be the best spot for the 2006 first-round pick at this stage of his career.
This isn’t a splashy signing for the Spurs, but a safe option for depth. Let’s see if they show interest in him on a one or two-year deal.
Next: George Hill
Nov 4, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard George Hill (3) dribbles the ball as San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) defends during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
1. George Hill
According to Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News, the San Antonio Spurs and George Hill are interested in a reunion. This comes six years after Hill was dealt to the Indiana Pacers, at the 2011 NBA Draft:
“Hill has long desired to reunite with Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich since 2013, when he re-signed with the Pacers, who traded him to the Utah Jazz last summer. Hill still maintains a residence in San Antonio, and frequently works out at the team’s practice site when in town.”
Hill had success in the Alamo City, spelling Tony Parker at point guard from 2008-11. He started 55 games across three seasons, averaging 9.9 points on 45 percent shooting. This boosted his value, enough for the Pacers to trade and make him a starter for five seasons.
If the Spurs bring Hill back, would he only take a short-term deal, potentially for two years? That could be possible, as he played in 50 or fewer games in three of the past six seasons, including last year’s stint with the Utah Jazz. This is despite putting up 16.9 points per game — a career high.
Next: Top 10 Free Agent Targets for the Spurs
Parker won’t be out forever, however, and Dejounte Murray will return in a backup role (if the Spurs don’t acquire anyone else). So if Hill returns, he could end up playing a sixth man role or as an undersized two guard.