With the San Antonio Spurs still reeling from the injuries sustained to Tiago Splitter and Danny Green, yet another blow was dealt, literally. However, the Spurs do not need to panic about the broken nose of Matt Bonner. They have solid bench players who are more than capable.
The injury to Bonner is not the news that Gregg Popovich wants to hear right now. As he looks down the bench, Pop can’t help but think he is only a few more injuries from calling former Spurs’ big man David Robinson out of retirement. But before measures get that drastic, let’s consider that the Spurs’ depth is not shallow, to say the least, and they seem to have a knack for plugging guys into the system without missing a beat.
The sixth man position will probably be toyed around with between Manu Ginobili and Marco Bellinelli, depending on how each are feeling physically. Both are playing great basketball this season, but the x-factors have to be the rest of the bench.
Patty Mills and Corey Joesph will have to share the brunt of the bench minutes in the backcourt, as Popovich has been sporadic in his use of Nando de Colo. Mills is adjusting well to his recent spike in court time, averaging 7.2 points in the last five games, but that number will need to go up if the Spurs expect any success. Joseph is a third year man out of the University of Texas. In one year with the Longhorns back in the 2010-11 season, he averaged 10.4 points per game to go along with three assists per game. While his strength lies in shooting, he is best used in the Spurs’ lineup as a ball handler that can keep the offense in motion with the least turnovers possible.
As for the Spurs’ frontcourt bench help, Jeff Ayres will have to grow up exponentially in the next few weeks. His game is still raw, but the potential he shows in glimpses is very encouraging for the Spurs.
Popovich is not stranger to these situations and with the trade deadline approaching, some help may be enlisted by the organization. Either way, the Spurs will have to step up their efforts another notch to impose their quiet will on the West.