The reloaded Spurs took the court last night with a familiar
starting lineup that included All-Stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Michael
Finley, along with sharpshooter Matt Bonner and newcomer Richard Jefferson.
Facing Chris Paul and his upstart Hornets,
The curious presence of Bonner and Finley in the starting five, however, took me back to a conversation I had during last season’s playoffs with Graydon Gordian, who along with Timothy Varner runs 48 Minutes of Hell, easily the most on-point Spurs blog on the net. Prior to the Spurs-Mavs series, I asked Graydon if he thought a team with Bonner and Finley in the starting five could ever win a championship. After some shared laughter this is how he replied.
“I don’t think that this is the start of another championship run,” said Graydon. “Maybe I’m wrong. But no there never will be a team, and not because Michael Finley and Matt Bonner aren’t up to snuff but because Michael Finley will be gone in the next couple of years. Matt Bonner’s a hard player to talk about because in some ways you look at the guy and you feel that he seems so limited in so many ways. I see why Pop has gained more trust in him. He is making his shots and has continued to do it all season. On the defensive end of the ball he’s making stronger rotations. He’s not a great defender by any means but he’s certainly improved in that area. Pop has always been a guy who likes to go with balance, who likes to have not necessarily his five best players as starters. He likes to mix and match so that they play well for a full 48 minutes so in some ways that’s why Matt Bonner is out there.”
So don’t fret Spurs fans. Another thing about Pop is that he values “corporate knowledge” of the team’s system above all, so other players will crack the starting lineup in due time. He’s also won a few NBA championships along the way.