- Created on Sunday, 18 August 2013 15:41
- Last Updated on Sunday, 18 August 2013 21:00
- Written by David Rountree
The San Antonio Spurs are entering next season with the bitter taste of defeat in their mouths, and they will be hell-bent on trying to make it back to the NBA Finals to redeem themselves. One of the major factors that will determine their chances of grabbing that fifth title will be the development of their young frontline. Tim Duncan will remain Tim Duncan but it is the other players like Baynes, Pendegraph, and Splitter that the Spurs need to improve.
The Spurs have the luxury of having Duncan around to help teach these players good bigman practices, but there is another person that could be just as beneficial to them—former Spurs' superstar David Robinson. Robinson was the most athletic center to ever play the game, but he wasn’t always the most gifted offensively at first. He had to work on his game, developing a jump shot and hook shot in the offseason.
These are both moves that the Spurs’ bigmen desperately need to add to their games. For instance, in last year’s playoffs teams wouldn’t guard Tiago Splitter outside the painted area.
Robinson in his later years helped anchor the Spurs’ defensive schemes and stayed one of the best defensive players all the way up to his retirement—that’s what the Spurs current bigman unit needs. Sure the Spurs do need a little bit more scoring from starting center Tiago Splitter but it would be his improved defensive skills that would propel the team to the next level.
Robinson can’t pass on the talent but he can pass on valuable knowledge that these younger players could use. In 2003, the last year Robinson played, he wasn’t near his physical peak but his basketball IQ still made him potent. The Spurs should make it a priority to sway Robinson out of the owner’s box every once in a while to work with the Spurs’ raw talent.
Robinson could be a huge difference maker, especially for Tiago Splitter who has been limited offensively. Robinson may be able to relate better to Splitter than Duncan, since Splitter’s role is similar to what his was later in his career.
Teams like the Houston Rockets have made it a priority to bring in former players to consult younger ones like Dwight Howard. The strategy isn’t a bad idea and could be a huge motivating factor for up and coming talent.