Posted on October 22, 2012 at 7:00 am by Dan McCarney
The Spurs’ season is not going to hinge on who they choose to fill their 15th
roster spot. (If they choose anyone at all.)
In fact, this sort of decision doesn’t usually matter even on bad teams, let alone one that goes two-deep at pretty much every position, and is hoping to contend for the championship.
The only reason it’s become one of the main story lines of training camp is because, well, there hasn’t been much else to talk about with a veteran team that remains almost untouched from last season, when the Spurs took a 2-0 lead before crumbling against Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals.
That said, on to the battle that head coach Gregg Popovich has whittled down to two players with completely different backgrounds: Eddy Curry, the lottery bust battling to rebuild his once promising career, and Derrick Brown, a second-round journeyman just trying to get his career started.
Their playing styles and utility are equally disparate.
Curry, a classic back-to-the-basket center, still has a gift for putting the ball in the hole, as evidenced by his 68-percent shooting mark in the preseason. His aptitude at pretty much everything else that can be done on a basketball court ranges from adequate to non-existent.
An undersized tweener with a small forward’s body and a power forward’s mentality, the 6-7 Brown offers youth, athleticism and versatility. His 14-minute stint in Sunday’s loss against Orlando, during which he drilled a 3-pointer and a 20-footer, showed he might have even figured out how to hit a jump shot, in which case his value would soar.
If so, it still wouldn’t give him a single skill as discernible as Curry’s scoring ability. Which is probably why Curry dominated a recent Express-News poll about who the Spurs should take for their last roster spot. (He earned 976 votes to just 78 for Brown.) Neither fills a glaring hole for the Spurs.
It would be one thing if Curry could help slow down the Lakers’ Dwight Howard and/or Pau Gasol. Defense and rebounding, however, have never been his forte. And while it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have another scoring option, it’s not like the Spurs struggled last season without him, leading the league in offensive efficiency and effective field-goal shooting.
It’s even tougher to see where Brown would fit in light of the abundance of bodies at his positions – Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner and DeJuan Blair at power forward, and Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson at small forward. He has more room for growth – but not enough to avoid being let go by lowly Charlotte on two different occasions. (Although judging by the Bobcats’ track record, that might actually be a positive.)
Force me to choose, and I’d probably go with Curry. In addition to giving the Spurs another big body, it would be a hell of a story if he was able to pull himself back from the brink as a contributor with the NBA’s model franchise.
Fortunately for the Spurs, they’re in the position where picking whoever gets to sit on the end of their bench isn’t going to make much of an impact on their season.
Related link: Spurs Nation