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  #1  
Old 01-20-06, 12:56 AM
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MySA: Mohammed ready and strives to be able

Mohammed ready and strives to be able
Web Posted: 01/20/2006 12:00 AM CST
Johnny Ludden
Express-News Staff Writer

MIAMI — The Los Angeles Lakers were in town, but to Nazr Mohammed that meant only another night of cheerleading.

A third-year center with Philadelphia, Mohammed hadn't played in nearly a month. With little reason for that to end, he made sure to get in a hard workout before the game.

As Mohammed returned to the locker room, 76ers coach Larry Brown told him the NBA had suspended Matt Geiger for a steroid violation. Theo Ratliff was already out with a wrist injury.

Not only was Mohammed starting, but he also would be needed to guard Shaquille O'Neal for the first time.

"I was already dripping with sweat," Mohammed said. "I felt set up."

Mohammed scored 12 points in the 76ers' victory. He also learned that no matter the circumstances, he had better be ready to play each night.

Almost five years later, Mohammed continues to adhere to that. With O'Neal and the Miami Heat waiting at American Airlines Arena tonight and Robert Horry likely missing his second consecutive game with a lower abdominal strain, Mohammed figures Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will call on him. When, or for how long, remains to be seen.

After starting every playoff game in the Spurs' 2005 championship drive, Mohammed's place in the rotation has been anything but consistent this season. Rasho Nesterovic's improved play, Mohammed's own struggles and the tendency by teams to use smaller lineups have dropped his minutes to an average of 12.7 per game.

"It's extremely tough, but what can you do about it?" Mohammed said. "The last thing you want to happen is have the opportunity come and not be prepared for it."

Mohammed realized that last season. Acquired from New York for Malik Rose at the trade deadline, he played sparingly until Nesterovic sprained his left ankle in April. Mohammed averaged 7.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in the playoffs as a starter.

The Spurs figured Mohammed would begin this season as he ended last. But after his wife and newborn son became ill during training camp, he missed two weeks of workouts. His conditioning was further set back because he fasted in observance of Ramadan.

Mohammed has worked his way into shape, but his time on the court has remained limited.

In Wednesday's victory over Milwaukee, Mohammed had two points and five rebounds in 24 minutes, his most action in almost two months. His performance was much like his season: productive at times but not error-free. After Bucks center Jamaal Magloire broke loose for a dunk in the fourth quarter, Mohammed unsuccessfully tried to force a pass into Michael Finley.

"As a starter, you have to really mess up in order to come out before four minutes," Mohammed said. "When you're coming off the bench and you try to go out there and make a spark, and it doesn't work, you're coming out of the game."

Though Mohammed is a better rebounder, he lacks Nesterovic's awareness of where to be in the Spurs' defensive sets. Nesterovic may not be athletic enough to make some plays but rarely is caught out of position.

"With some things, like trapping baseline on the post, it takes a second to click because I've never done that," Mohammed said. "But the more I'm here, the more I'm learning."

Mohammed is glad Popovich has evaluated him on how he's performed and not on his overall stats. That included a compliment Monday after four points, two rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes against Memphis.

"If I was him, I'd be frustrated," Popovich said. "But this guy comes to practice every day and busts his (butt). I have to take my hat off to him. It's a tough situation he's in."

That Mohammed is in the last season of his contract only complicates matters. The Spurs discussed an extension with him over the summer, but he decided to table talks until the end of the season when he'll become a free agent and be eligible for a five-year contract. Under NBA rules, the maximum extension he could have received last summer was four years, $28 million.


Mohammed, who said he's at the point where contract length matters more than annual salary, remains hopeful of staying.

"I'm trying to impress coach and let them know what I can do and how I want to be here for the long run," Mohammed said. "But at the same time I don't want to do anything out of the ordinary that can hurt the team."

Mohammed's size and contract have attracted interest from teams in need of a big man before the trade deadline.

The Spurs are assessing their options, but any improvement may need to come internally: Tim Duncan, whose sore right foot has hindered his ability to defend and rebound, and Horry will have to play better if the team is going to defend its title. Athletic rebounders available via trade, like Seattle's Reggie Evans, would struggle taking minutes from Duncan, Horry and the team's centers.

Of course, if the Spurs desire more rebounding, Mohammed thinks he can help. His most frustrating moment came in the second half of last week's loss to Detroit when he remained on the bench while the Spurs were mauled on the offensive boards.

"Everybody is going to have to do their part for us to repeat," he said. "And at some point, I'm going to have to do mine."

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  #2  
Old 01-20-06, 01:08 AM
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I learned a little. I had no idea that he was fasting earlier. Thats interesting. Heres to hoping he finally finds his groove by February.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:15 AM
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Is this what you would call," A view from the other side" article?

More power to you Nazr Mohammed. You're a Spur and for as long as you are a Spur, you got my support. It doesn't mean that you aren't above constructive criticism though.

May all the Spurs Bigs be healthy and ready to play when the time counts most.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:17 AM
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i had brought up before that around the start of each season, muslim players are nowhere near even %80 because their bread and water diet leads to malnourishment. shareef has had this happen to him frequently
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Old 01-20-06, 01:18 AM
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I didn't realize that we had discussed a contract extension and Nazr refused. He seems to know what he has to do, he just needs to do it. I'm sure no one will say that since Pop had a microphone shoved in his face, he had to say something nice. He says he wants to stay, but who knows.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:18 AM
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Nice read, but Laura... you do realize you have started another 10 page debate about the never ending discussion

I will say this, though, the Spurs are very fortunate to have players who know how to say the right things. From the 1st to the 13th, they will all say what should be said most of the time.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:26 AM
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Keep working hard Nazr!

The Spurs will need all the frontcourt depth they can get against the only opponent that really matters - the Pistons. They will need Nazr's help before it is all said and done.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurs21 Cowboys21
Nice read, but Laura... you do realize you have started another 10 page debate about the never ending discussion
Hey, don't shoot the messenger I'm really pulling for him, too.
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  #9  
Old 01-20-06, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnwhuxley
Keep working hard Nazr!

The Spurs will need all the frontcourt depth they can get against the only opponent that really matters - the Pistons. They will need Nazr's help before it is all said and done.
Yeah they will, and thats for sure!!!!!!!!!!! I agree.
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  #10  
Old 01-20-06, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Tim Duncan, whose sore right foot has hindered his ability to defend and rebound, and Horry will have to play better if the team is going to defend its title.
It's gonna be tough. Tim is hurting and Horry gets worn out if used too much during the regular season. ALL the other bigs need to step up but even if they do I am not sure what SA does with the Pistons in a finals where Detroit may hold HCA.
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  #11  
Old 01-20-06, 09:46 AM
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throw it down nazr

I like nazr and it would be nice if he could play his way back into the starting lineup but the guy needs to throw it down when he gets the ball down low. He too often is not ready for it and he bobbles the ball with those stone hands of his...
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  #12  
Old 01-20-06, 10:38 AM
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Keep working hard Nazr!

For all of the Nazr bashers who said he doesn't practice or work hard:


"If I was him, I'd be frustrated," Popovich said. "But this guy comes to practice every day and busts his (butt). I have to take my hat off to him. It's a tough situation he's in."
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Old 01-20-06, 11:22 AM
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Ramadan was in October, as was training camp- and the Spurs have had no problems with his conditioning or his physical shape. It explains absolutely nothing about why after 11 months with the Spurs, he can't learn the system-- is he simply unable?? And the Spurs are frustrated by it. I personally never said he doesn't work hard. I blamed his low BB IQ.

I find it interesting that these articles about him no longer talk about how he should be starting or when will he again. Johnny Ludden wrote in late October when Nazr came back that he would be starting within a couple of weeks. I told you he was wrong then and no one believed me. Someone said this article would raise a debate but as I have tried to tell people, that debate is over.

This article also mentions that the Spurs have at least considered trading him-- I noticed no one highlighted that.

I also told you over the summer that he had no interest in a contract extension because he wanted the big payday. The figures his agent had in mind that he would be worth this coming summer were outrageous.

As for Nazr, I hope to see his play improved. People thought the "competition" between Rasho and Nazr would be good for the team to get the most out of them. I have seen Rasho improve in areas he needed to, but I honestly haven't seen it produce the same results in Nazr.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TodTango
Is this what you would call," A view from the other side" article?
It isn't a coincidence that the "Rasho" article was written by Mike Monroe and then this "Nazr" article came out by Johnny Ludden. Don't be surprised to read Buck's "Oberto" article that should be soon to follow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy
"If I was him, I'd be frustrated," Popovich said. "But this guy comes to practice every day and busts his (butt). I have to take my hat off to him. It's a tough situation he's in."
Pop said the same thing about Rasho during the play-offs.
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Last edited by user name; 01-20-06 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 01-20-06, 11:38 AM
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I would love to see Nazr perform reliably in the defensive rotations and be a reliable option to improve our rebounding against athletic front courts.. With Tim a bit gimpy we need to have both Rasho and Nazr playing solidly in their roles for this teams true potential to be realized.
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Old 01-20-06, 11:38 AM
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Do you people believe the San Antonio Spurs can beat the Detroit Pistons in a 7 game series with Rasho playing 22mpg?
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  #16  
Old 01-20-06, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Notorious MI21
Do you people believe the San Antonio Spurs can beat the Detroit Pistons in a 7 game series with Rasho playing 22mpg?
No, he needs to play more.
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Old 01-20-06, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichB
No, he needs to play more.



Way to take the bait right off the hook RichB.

Last edited by Supernatural Anesthetist; 01-20-06 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichB
No, he needs to play more.
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  #19  
Old 01-20-06, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Notorious MI21
Do you people believe the San Antonio Spurs can beat the Detroit Pistons in a 7 game series with Rasho playing 22mpg?
If we play Detroit I prefer more Nazr and less Rasho, if we play Miami I prefer more Rasho
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Old 01-20-06, 12:50 PM
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IMO, if the Spurs are going to play the finals with Detroit, I think that Rasho will play so-so all the games, and the Spurs will lose quickly in 4 or 5 games.

If Nazr plays, he will have 2-3 10 points with 10 rebound games, which will gave the Spurs some chances, to win the series. However, he needs to improve his defensive rotations.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunkman
IMO, if the Spurs are going to play the finals with Detroit, I think that Rasho will play so-so all the games, and the Spurs will lose quickly in 4 or 5 games.

If Nazr plays, he will have 2-3 10 points with 10 rebound games, which will gave the Spurs some chances, to win the series. However, he needs to improve his defensive rotations.
How exactly should we expect him to do that over the next 5 months, when he hasn't been able to do it over the last year??
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Old 01-20-06, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichB
How exactly should we expect him to do that over the next 5 months, when he hasn't been able to do it over the last year??
I thought he looked allright during the playoffs... That was less than a year ago.
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  #23  
Old 01-20-06, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_chantana
i had brought up before that around the start of each season, muslim players are nowhere near even %80 because their bread and water diet leads to malnourishment. shareef has had this happen to him frequently
This is do some research next time.

Ramadan fasting is from sunup to sundown, they can eat and drink after sundown. It is not a "bread and water diet", nothing like that.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake
who was it that was mentioning colored glasses in the other thread?

well whoever it was, here's a perfect example for you.
I'm looking at the situation objectively Blake. I always have in this situation.

I just happen to think differently than you do. "Rose Colored glasses" has nothing to do with my opinion, while unabashed hatred for a Spurs player has almost everything to do with yours and so many others opinions on Rasho Nesterovic.

I look at each player and evaluate their plusses and minuses and long ago decided that Rasho is the best option to have as our starter and the one who deserves the majority of minutes at center.

It's not anything personal. I don't hate Mohammed and I don't wish him any ill will. Nesterovic doesn't pay me to endorse him and I don't get anything out of it - except ongoing threads of hateful BS from people like you.

I'm not over the moon about either one of them - OK? I've never claimed either of these guys to be anything close to an All Star center. BUT THESE ARE THE CARDS WE HAVE TO PLAY WITH.

So, I look at both players, evaluate them and I decided long ago that Nesterovic gives us the best chance to be successful. It isn't his advantage by a large margin - but it's his advantage nevertheless.

I was extremely hopeful that Mohammed could have played out of his funk and begun to contribute in the manner he did during the playoffs last year. That hasn't been the case. But I'm also not going to make excuses for him either. He's a professional. But the fact of the matter is this: he appears that he hasn't shown the coaches enough knowledge of the situation either in practice or in games to warrant any more time than he recieves right now.

I hate that fact and I hate that nearly halfway into the season, he still isn't doing anything different about that. Just as people seem to "expect" certain things out of Rasho because of his size or his contract - I also fully expected Nazr Mohammed to have a firm understanding of the team defensive and offensive schemes at this point in his Spurs career. It works both ways friend.

I'm sure no one wants to win a 2nd straight championship more than Gregg Popovich. And I firmly believe that if he felt Mohammed's play benefitted this team more than Rasho - the shoe would be on the other foot, and Nazr would be the guy . But that hasn't been the case - has it?

This arguement over which mediocre center is better is all just a matter of opinion between fans. It really is an irrelevant arguement. We're just fans. We don't follow these guys 24/7 and we don't know what happens during practice or out on the floor. We don't know this team as well as the coaches do - and speaking for myself, I'm more willing to have faith in their opinions of our players, than in my own or in anyone elses.

Ultimately, the only opinion that really holds any water is that of the Spurs head coach. And it appears that he has made his choice.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraBC
That Mohammed is in the last season of his contract only complicates matters. The Spurs discussed an extension with him over the summer, but he decided to table talks until the end of the season when he'll become a free agent and be eligible for a five-year contract. Under NBA rules, the maximum extension he could have received last summer was four years, $28 million.[/b]

Mohammed, who said he's at the point where contract length matters more than annual salary, remains hopeful of staying.
This may not be accurate (as usual, it's never good to assume everything from SA express is totally accurate), but if the Spurs actually offered 4 years 28 mil (they may've offered less probably) and Nazr refused that, then

1) Nazr is dumb to not take this kind of money.
2) This could be why Pop has more incentives than he should to ride Rasho instead of Nazr.
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  #26  
Old 01-20-06, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robinson50
This may not be accurate (as usual, it's never good to assume everything from SA express is totally accurate), but if the Spurs actually offered 4 years 28 mil (they may've offered less probably) and Nazr refused that, then

That sounds right.
That averages out to $7 mil per season but his first year salary on the extension wouldn't have been much more than what he's cuurently making in this his last year of the current contract which is why I said all last summer if the Spurs did make Nazr an extension offer his agent nor I would recommend accepting the extension.

BTW, by offering Nazr that extension shows that the Spurs were planning on keeping Nazr beyond this season and the extension would have put his salary on par with Rasho's deal.
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Old 01-20-06, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunkman
If Nazr plays, he will have 2-3 10 points with 10 rebound games, which will gave the Spurs some chances, to win the series. However, he needs to improve his defensive rotations.
I somehow do not recall Nazr having 2 or 3 10-10 games last play-offs against Detroit. What I do recall is him diasppearing after the first game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amente
That sounds right.
That averages out to $7 mil per season but his first year salary on the extension wouldn't have been much more than what he's cuurently making in this his last year of the current contract which is why I said all last summer if the Spurs did make Nazr an extension offer his agent nor I would recommend accepting the extension.

BTW, by offering Nazr that extension shows that the Spurs were planning on keeping Nazr beyond this season and the extension would have put his salary on par with Rasho's deal.
We put up the numbers this summer. I believe the max would have started around $6M the first year of the extension. NOWHERE does it say the Spurs offered him a maximum extension- only that they discussed AN extension. We don't know for how much or how long they were willing to give him. I actually don't believe they were interested in the full four years- hence the mention about Nazr's interest being in the length of the contract.
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Old 01-20-06, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElNonoMasa
I thought he looked allright during the playoffs... That was less than a year ago.
You thought wrong. He was awful defensively throughout the postseason, esp against Seattle and Detroit. But then he made up for it with offensive boards and points. Now, though, he's a bit better defensively but still disappointingly far from learning the system.

Nonetheless, we will still need him come playoff time. The guy can still play. Horry might not last the entire season, so we'll need all the bigmen to step up. I just hope he spends a bit more time watching tape and practicing his defensive rotations, and not let his contract situation distract him.
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Old 01-20-06, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnwhuxley
I just hope he spends a bit more time watching tape and practicing his defensive rotations, and not let his contract situation distract him.
Every article about him has his comments about his contract situation and I don't like that. Players during the season aren't supposed to discuss those issues- but instead say they are focused on winning a championship. Manu- Tony, et al have done that in past seasons.
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Old 01-20-06, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichB
I'm looking at the situation objectively Blake. I always have in this situation.

I just happen to think differently than you do. "Rose Colored glasses" has nothing to do with my opinion, while unabashed hatred for a Spurs player has almost everything to do with yours and so many others opinions on Rasho Nesterovic.

I look at each player and evaluate their plusses and minuses and long ago decided that Rasho is the best option to have as our starter and the one who deserves the majority of minutes at center.

It's not anything personal. I don't hate Mohammed and I don't wish him any ill will. Nesterovic doesn't pay me to endorse him and I don't get anything out of it - except ongoing threads of hateful BS from people like you.

I'm not over the moon about either one of them - OK? I've never claimed either of these guys to be anything close to an All Star center. BUT THESE ARE THE CARDS WE HAVE TO PLAY WITH.

So, I look at both players, evaluate them and I decided long ago that Nesterovic gives us the best chance to be successful. It isn't his advantage by a large margin - but it's his advantage nevertheless.

I was extremely hopeful that Mohammed could have played out of his funk and begun to contribute in the manner he did during the playoffs last year. That hasn't been the case. But I'm also not going to make excuses for him either. He's a professional. But the fact of the matter is this: he appears that he hasn't shown the coaches enough knowledge of the situation either in practice or in games to warrant any more time than he recieves right now.

I hate that fact and I hate that nearly halfway into the season, he still isn't doing anything different about that. Just as people seem to "expect" certain things out of Rasho because of his size or his contract - I also fully expected Nazr Mohammed to have a firm understanding of the team defensive and offensive schemes at this point in his Spurs career. It works both ways friend.

I'm sure no one wants to win a 2nd straight championship more than Gregg Popovich. And I firmly believe that if he felt Mohammed's play benefitted this team more than Rasho - the shoe would be on the other foot, and Nazr would be the guy . But that hasn't been the case - has it?

This arguement over which mediocre center is better is all just a matter of opinion between fans. It really is an irrelevant arguement. We're just fans. We don't follow these guys 24/7 and we don't know what happens during practice or out on the floor. We don't know this team as well as the coaches do - and speaking for myself, I'm more willing to have faith in their opinions of our players, than in my own or in anyone elses.

Ultimately, the only opinion that really holds any water is that of the Spurs head coach. And it appears that he has made his choice.
Well said.
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