San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich Needs New Lineup

Tim Duncan

Soobum Im-USA Today Sports

As the San Antonio Spurs prepare to wage war against the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday night, the recent injury to big man Thiago Splitter should cause Gregg Popovich to reassess his strategy.

With Splitter gone, the Spurs will need to adjust their lineup to relieve the newly added workload on Tim Duncan. It’s no secret that Duncan is not getting younger, and with Splitter out the Spurs will have to rely heavily on Duncan to carry them to the All-Star break.  Until Splitter is healthy, the lineup will start with the backcourt duo of Tony Parker and Marco Belinelli which has seemed to work for the Spurs this season. Parker’s ability to penetrate and Belinelli’s shooting prowess have complemented each other quite nicely. Kawhi Leonard continues to be a consistent asset on the boards  as well as keeping the tempo of Popovich’s offense when needed. The seemingly ageless Duncan has managed to average 14 points per game and 9.5 rebounds this season as the anchor in the low post.

Now Spurs’ fans could assume Boris Diaw would be the next likely choice to fill the void in the paint. And while that would be a logical move with Diaw having the experience and shooting range to stretch most defenses, let us not rule out the possibility of Danny Green coming off the bench to start at the small forward position. If Leonard moves to the power forward position, this wrinkle in the lineup could pose offensive and defensive threats as fans witnessed in last year’s NBA Finals.

The lineup would force defenses to match up to shooters on the perimeter and allow Duncan to play one-on-one in the post. On the defensive end, it would relieve pressure off Duncan by creating opportunities for trapping on the block.

Popovich has enough experience to deal with the loss of Splitter, but he will have to devise a lineup to best preserve Duncan for the playoffs.

Winston Harris is a San Antonio sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @winstonharris34, add him to your network on Google and “Like” his Facebook page.

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