Mar 24, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) talks to head coach Gregg Popovich during the second half against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE

Q&A With Quixem Ramirez From Air Alamo (Spurs Game Preview)


Sometimes it’s best to get an opinion of a team from someone who watches and follows the team all the time. So that’s what you can expect here. Air Alamo is a site here on FanSided that covers the Spurs. Sixers play the Spurs tonight. I asked Quixem some questions and he gave some very good answers. He also asked me some questions and my answers are over at Air Alamo. So let’s get to it.

Q.  The Spurs are still one of the best teams in the league. But, age is a factor. How long is the contending window going to stay open, or is it even still open?

QR: A popular misconception around the league is that the Spurs are incredibly old. That’s not true. While we shouldn’t be classified as young per se (27.5 average age), the simple truth is that the Spurs bench and supporting cast are young and ripe with potential. Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair, Danny Green all play significant minutes of the bench. And all of them are under 27. So, yeah, while Tony, Tim and Manu are getting up there in age, I feel that the window can be extended. Last year, I probably would’ve said about two years. If the Spurs front office makes sound moves as we transition from the Duncan Era (don’t remind me), then I can see that extending a couple of years.

Q. What is the Spurs’ strength(s)? What do they do well?

QR: The Spurs are an elite offensive team. The multitude of options at our disposal are endless. We can go small (Parker-Manu-Kawhi-Jackson-Timmy) without sacrificing too much defensively. We have a surplus of great shooters (Bonner, Neal, Manu, Green, Kawhi) and our frontcourt is one of the most proficient passers in the league. Seriously. Tiago Splitter is an adept screener on pick-and-rolls and Manu is incredible at finding teammates. There’s a lot to think about.

Q. Again, the Spurs are still one of the best. But, what does this team need to work on? What are their weaknesses?

QR: The Spurs struggle defensively. But, in this area, the Spurs have a lot of capable defenders that can guard multiple positions. Manu, Danny, Kawhi, Stephen Jackson are all invaluable given their ability to guard positions 1-4. Although we are 17th in defensive efficiency (101.9 points per 100 possessions), I do like our tendency to protect the rim, allow long 2s and run off shooters from the 3-point line. Those are elements conducive to good defense.

Q. In this lockout season, how well has the coaching and medical staff taken care of their players? How have the older players looked out on the court? Overall, how has the team been able to adjust to this tough season?

QR: Adjusting to the season took awhile but I feel that transition period is over. Gregg Popovich is the best game-manager of the game, in-game playcaller and he has keen awareness when his players (ie: See Pop resting Tim, Tony during 11 game win streak against Portland) need a rest. Only one Spur is averaging more than 30 minutes per game. As the Spurs get into a dense schedule, I don’t see fatigue as a real problem. Pop will respond by resting anyone when he deems necessary.

Q. Who’s the team’s MVP this season?

QR: Tony Parker. More so than other Spur, Parker has consistently played at an elite level and has essentially carried the team. Some would say he’s playing at an MVP level and I wouldn’t disagree with that notion. Parker has six 30-plus point games this year (he had six assists in each game) and one 40-plus game this year. Most impressively, Parker is getting to the rim with impunity, knocking down midrange jumpers and creating for his teammates. I am enthused with his average of eight assists per game.

Q. How far do Spurs go in playoffs?

QR: At least the second round. I really don’t think we are going to have a repeat of last year. Our roster is more fluid and more diverse than last year. If we were to get the Lakers in a playoff series, I’d be worried. I feel we can pull that one out but it will be tough given their size and newly acquired point guard Ramon Sessions. OKC is the No. 1 seed but I don’t feel threatened by them. We’ll see. If I had a gun to my head, though, I’m picking the Spurs to reach the Finals.

Q. What advantages do Spurs have over Sixers?

QR: Not as much as you would imagine. We are a better shooting team and I like our frontcourt depth, but both teams are good at preventing offensive rebounds and taking care of the ball. It’ll be interesting to see who will create more possessions because both teams don’t readily give those away. That could be the difference between winning and losing.

Q. What and/or who from Sixers will give Spurs trouble?

QR: A month ago, I was pining for the Spurs to acquire Nikola Vucevic in a trade. I love his seven-feet frame, cheap contract, age and his tough interior defense. I’ll be sure to be watching intently when he enters the game. Also, I’ll be looking forward to watching Andre Iguodala because I appreciate his balanced game.

 

So that’s it. Again, you can head over to Air Alamo to see my answers to his questions. Follow Quixem on Twitter @LWM_sucks And really, FanSided writers are pretty smart people. Follow FanSided writers for informed opinions of at least the other NBA teams.

Tags: 76ers Featured Spurs