Patty Mills and his Spurs team mates have debuted in a new commercial for barbecue hamburger company H-E-B Specialty Burgers.
Watch the full commercial below:
Politics and basketball. You wouldn’t think they go together, right?… Wrong! Both the major parties in Australia are struggling for support and I see only one solution to this. Bring in a new major party. The Spurs Party and have Patty Mills as Australia’s new Prime Minister.
This is a no brainer. The popularity of Patty Mills is through the roof in Australia at the moment. He has given people with no interest in basketball a reason to watch and connect with the game. Patty has done his time on the bench and is ready to move up to the big time. Last season Patty was a glorified mascot. Waving towels and getting trash minutes at the ends of games to show what he could do. This season was a different story all together. Patty showed himself to be one of the better back up point guards in the league. A spark that Miami had no answer for in the NBA Finals. Patty was the dagger in the heart of the Heat fans and players alike in the third quarter of Game 5. The game was still a contest until Mills came out a splashed 3’s from everywhere and brought the crowd into the game with his energetic defense. This shows a new level of maturity for Mills. He made all the right decisions and is ready to become Australia’s Prime Minister.
Deputy Prime Minister
Technically Aron Baynes was born in New Zealand but Aussies love to claim a kiwi. Baynes now joins the likes of Phar Lap, Russell Crowe, Crowded House, Keith Urban and the somewhat contentious Weet-Bix as items and people that Australia have lovingly claimed as their own. Granted Baynes did not get a great deal of court time which means he will have plenty of time to help out his Prime Minister at anytime and we’ve seen that Baynes is also capable of stepping into a starting role for the Spurs and he did not look out of place.
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Logically this role has to go to Tony Parker. For starters he is French and it is difficult to say no to anyone with a french accent. Being on the Spurs lineup it is also obvious that Parker gets along well with people from other countries. The Spurs have the most nationalities represented in the NBA with their roster registering 10 internationals at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. Parker has also shown that he wants to be friendly with everyone. Parker proved this in his short lived marriage to Eva Longoria. Lovely lady and watching Desperate Housewives is worth it just for her but this wasn’t enough for Tony. He wanted more Foreign Affairs experience (see what I did there?) This is a great trait for Australia and will see Australia making many new international allies.
Kawhi Leonard. This kid (22 years old!) proved his worth in the NBA Finals, scoring points at will with aggressive moves to the hoop and deft jump shots but he also played outstanding defense against one of the best in the league, Lebron James. Kawhi has earnt his spot as Treasurer in the Spurs Party because he started at the bottom and wasn’t expected to rise so quickly so Kawhi understands the value of money but his endorsements and contracts are only going to grow bigger from here. This experience with discussing contracts with multi-billion dollar companies and understanding how to best spread the wealth will make Kawhi the perfect Treasurer.
Minister for Education
Coach Pop. All you need to do is look at what he has done for the Spurs to see this man knows how to educate others. Pop is arguably the most respected coach in the game and all players thrive under Pop’s coaching theories and ideals. On draft night Pop always manages to spring a few surprises. He was one of the first to see the value in drafting international ballers. Players who had already stood out in a team orientated style of play and players he knew would understand and respect a team game. Look at the expansion and growth of the team under Pop. Manu wasn’t always a superstar. He grew into the role and learnt from the best coach in the game. Parker is the same. If you need some more recent evidence just look at the growth of Belinelli and Patty Mills this season. Pop is the only choice for Minister of Education.
Minister for Communications
The leader of the Spurs. Tim Duncan. He doesn’t often say much but when he does people listen. Timmy knows when communication is needed and when it should be stopped. Remember back to Timmy dragging a talkative Tony Parker away from the officials to stop a certain tech foul. Tony did not complain. Tony, along with the Spurs lineup, know that when Timmy Duncan talks, you listen. Opposition players know that Timmy is the man to talk to when playing the Spurs. He has the respect of every baller in the NBA and was Lebron’s first point of call when it came welcoming the Spurs to the Finals.
Minister for Health and Sport
Will Sevening, the coaches and staff at the San Antonio Spurs. But mostly Will. Will is the Head Trainer at the Spurs. The Spurs aren’t exactly the youngest team in the league. They have an average age of somewhere around 30. Three of their main players; Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobilli are 37, 31 and 36 respectfully. Will has to put these “veterans” through their paces on a daily basis but also has to ensure Duncan and co. are at their physical peaks, remain uninjured and have the required rest breaks to thrive. It’s a fine line to walk but Will has done it with ease and thus gets the gig as Minister for Health and Sport.
Minister for Defence
Danny Green may not be the guy you think of when it comes to defence but look at the job he did throughout the NBA Finals. Scoring important steals. Swaying the momentum of the game to the favour of the Spurs and shutting down the potent offensive force that is Dwayne Wade. Green still has plenty of improving to do but he has shown the potential to be a star in the future. Not only did he shut down Wade and take countless steals, he is also a menace when shooting the long bomb, a pre-requisite when it comes to being a Minister for Defence.
Minister for Arts
Marco Belinelli. Coach Pop has never been a fan of the three-point shot, openly stating he doesn’t like the role the shot has in the game. This season though things changed. Coach Pop started running plays for long range bombs. Embraced the shot and made it a huge part of the Spurs Championship winning attack. With shooters like Patty Mills, Danny Green, Manu Ginobilli and Marco Belinelli, Pop had little choice but to use the three ball. Belinelli’s shot is like a work of art. He has the balance, poise and a sense of occasion when pocketing the long ball. Not only is his shot a masterpiece but Belinelli is also Italian and everything sounds arty and awesome in Italian. Pizza. Spaghetti. Gelato. Point proven.
Minister for Agriculture
Honestly I found it hard to choose a Minister for Agriculture on the Spurs but Matt Bonner does look like the ultimate country boy. The ginger hair, beard, freckles and his awkwardness on the floor, all pre-requisites when it comes to being a Minister for Agriculture. Personally I think he’d be a better farmer than baller but he does have a Championship Ring which is more than I can say about myself.
Minister for Finance
Peter Holt is the owner of the Spurs. I’m not sure if it is entirely his doing but how Holt has managed to keep Manu, Duncan and Parker on the same team for so long when they could have been earning millions more elsewhere is some kind of voodoo magic. Each of the three are legit stars in their own right but have bought into the Spurs game and Holt is a wizard on the books. Not only has he kept the big three together but also brought in players with potential and has shown a willingness in keeping these potential superstars around and continued to develop them. Just look at Patty Mills, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Congratulations Peter Australia’s new Minister for Finance.
Minister for Social Services
A person who on the court is always looking out for others. More concerned with getting the assist. Hitting the right player at the right time in the right position. The choice for this spot was easy. Boris Diaw. A passing big man. A player who seems to have eyes in the back of his head. Kawhi did get Finals MVP but for me Diaw wasn’t far behind. Diaw doesn’t need to put the ball through the hoop to earn his pay, he does it through a subtle bounce pass through the key or a pass to the corner for the open three. Boris didn’t get many starts throughout the regular season but as soon as the Finals came Diaw stepped into the center position with ease and proved worth his weight in gold.
Minister for Trade and Investment
Tiago Splitter. A big man from Brazil. Splitter wasn’t brought over to the NBA straight away. He was given time to develop in European and Brazilian Leagues. Tiago would’ve been a superstar if he’d stayed in the Euro Leagues but once the time was right decided to ply his wares in the NBA. Splitter has proved to be adequate back up for Tim Duncan, giving the Big Fundamental time for his body to recover. All the time and effort that the Spurs invested into Splitter paid off with his huge block on Dwayne Wade during the NBA Finals (may have been a goal tend).
Minister for Employment
I was struggling at this stage to come up with positions but I had one spot left and one person to go so it is what it is. Manu Ginobilli you are now Australia’s Minister for Employment. It is because of you and your team orientated brand of ball that has allowed the Spurs to stay strong and consistent for many years. Manu, with Argentina, showed the rest of the world the importance of team basketball. Focusing on passing and team plays rather than individual brilliance. The NBA stood up and took notice incorporating this team style into NBA playbooks and also drafting many international ballers into the NBA. Thanks Manu.
There it is. Australia take note. The Spurs have solved all your problems. As you can see the entire roster has the resume required to thrive in their new positions and should obviously be brought in immediately (or not)…
In what can only be described as a 5-game bloodbath, the San Antonio Spurs shoved aside the pain and anguish of last season’s epic defeat, to claim the franchise’s 5th title with a dramatic 104-87 victory in San Antonio tonight.
After a season fought with the events of last year’s finals fresh in their minds, the Spurs sparred with Miami for 5 games, and in reality, it was probably lucky to get that far. Miami were beaten in every sense of the word with the Spurs capitalizing on an understrength bench, and the weary, battle-hardened legs of the Miami Heat.
Throughout the series the Spurs flawless style was put on display for the world to see, and the Heat were never really in it, even with their superstar providing stellar numbers for his team. The Spurs enjoyed incredible shooting numbers, including a first half record 75.8% in game 4, tough, stoic defense across all five contests, and a will to win that was surely born out of the agony of the 2013 Finals.
Patty Mills and Aron Baynes became the first Australians to capture an NBA title since Andrew Gaze with the Spurs in 1999, and Luc Longley with Jordan’s Bulls a year earlier in 1998. Mills was sensational off the bench for San Antonio, going 5 from 8 from three, and pouring in 14 third quarter points to push the lead out to an unassailable 25 points in the third quarter.
LeBron James briefly threatened to make the game interesting early in the forth quarter, pulling the team to within 14 points, but the Spurs rallied again through Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard to put any chance of a miracle Heat comeback out of contention.
James, although obviously dejected, had another great game contributing 31 points on 10/21 shooting, pulling down 10 boards and dishing out 5 dimes. The same could not be said for his supporting cast, with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the starters combining for just 32 points, and an even worse performance from the bench, who contributed an unimpressive 24 points for the game.
A highlight for Spurs fans was the 22-year old Kawhi Leonard claiming the NBA Finals MVP award, after a great series in which he lead from the front with the old brass of the Spurs lineup. Today, Kawhi poured in 22 points, raked in 10 rebounds and provided defense on LeBron James that was worthy of the award he now holds.
Big things lie ahead for Leonard, who now occupies the same company as Magic Johnson, who at 22 also won Finals MVP with the Lakers.
This was a special title for San Antonio, again proving that age shall be no burden, and that anything really is possible with the right attitude. Their coach Gregg Popovich, emotional after today’s win, said of his players and staff, “I’ve never been prouder as a coach, and never been more satisfied with a season than I am with this one.”
He is stalwart in his opinions, and guided in his system. Every play is meticulously designed to perfection, and scrutinized with a wrath only Pop can muster. He is the very embodiment of what a coach should be, not that he’d ever claim that to be the case.
Popovich has long preached that all the hard work, and pain and emotion that these players feel will get them over the line eventually.
Today, he was proven right.
Tony Parker submits his entry for worst free throw of all time. It didn’t count, but still…
The NBA is now a small man’s game.
In the 90s, the NBA was known as a big man’s league. With superstars like Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Alonzo Mourning roaming the paint, the prevailing thought was that if you didn’t have a dominant – or at the very least, a capable – centre on your roster, then you were going to struggle to compete with the league’s elite teams.
Either that, or you needed Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
Not only was there a number of great players at the ‘C’ position, but the second and third tier of centres in that era were also very good players. Rik Smits, Brad Daugherty, Dikembe Mutombo, Vlade Divac, Arvydas Sabonis, etc, were no slouches.
In fact, if any of those players were playing today, they would probably be ranked in the top 2 or 3 centres in the game, rather than being placed much further down the pecking order, like they found themselves in the 90s.
Such a sentiment highlights a not-so-subtle shift in the NBA in recent times. Though there remain a number of very good low post players in the league, the position with the most superstar depth at present is actually point guard.
While in the 90s many believed that you simply couldn’t do without an elite centre, that narrative has now changed to having a high caliber point guard on your roster.
Which suggests that the NBA is now a small man’s game.
Actually, that line – and the heading – is a little misleading. It’s not that the NBA has suddenly shifted to being a league for midgets, but rather that there is a feeling that you need a playmaker to be truly successful in the modern NBA.
In essence, the belief is that you need a point guard if you want to win, because it seems like every NBA team has a good-to-great one calling the shots at present.
At the elite level, there is Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo.
On the second tier, there’s John Wall, Mike Conley, Damian Lillard, Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday, Eric Bledisloe and Ricky Rubio.
Behind those players, there is a solid cast including Jeff Teague, Jose Calderon, Andre Miller, Kemba Walker, Jarrett Jack, Brandon Jennings, Jeremy Lin, Raymond Felton, Steve Blake and Jameer Nelson.
You also have this season’s rookies with amazing potential, Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo.
That’s 27 quality point guards, and I haven’t even considered primary ball-handlers like LeBron James, Andre Iguodala and James Harden, who aren’t listed at ‘PG’, but very much play that role for their teams.
Another player absent from the list is two-time league MVP Steve Nash. Considering how quickly he has succumbed to Father Time, there’s a good reason he has his own paragraph: he still deserves a mention, but he’s no longer anywhere near elite, and there have even been whispers he may retire at any moment due to his injuries.
With so many quality floor generals, NBA General Managers now treat the ‘1’ position the same way they did the centre spot in the 90s. In other words, their thought process is “I gotta get me a point guard!”
The NBA has always been a copycat league. As soon as a team has some success with something slightly different, everyone jumps on the bandwagon.
Such trends have included: getting a center, needing 3 All-Stars, going small, going big, pressing, Twin Towers, building around one high volume scorer, tanking, going ten deep, implementing run & gun offenses, stretch 4s, building through the draft, hiring a college coach, playing zone, corner threes, recruiting international players, rough and physical defense, and the list goes on.
And so we come to point guards, somewhat the 2013 phenomenon.
Though the desire to have an elite level point guard is born out of the depth at the position at the moment, it’s always made sense to have a good NBA quarterback.
Good point guards handle the ball, display leadership ability, control the flow of the game, get all their teammates involved, play the role of ‘coach on the floor’, initiate the offense, break down the D if the offense falls apart, get easy buckets, push the fast break, and generally run the team.
Without all those qualities, most teams today – and throughout history – would struggle to win basketball games.
Though many will disagree, I personally think the point guard is the most important position in basketball. Of course, I would say that as an ex-point guard myself.
Yet regardless of your own opinions on which position in basketball is the most vital, one cannot deny that it is currently the era of the great point guard in the NBA, and it’s making for some highly enjoyable play.
This content was first published on The Roar at www.theroar.com.au
So I caused a bit of a kerfuffle earlier today when I claimed that Russell Westbrook wasn’t as good as most people make him out to be and as such, I decided I’d give you my top 10 players heading into the 21013-3014 season.
There isn’t a bigger stage in the hoops world than the NBA Finals and today was definitely no exception. The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs put on a game to remember as the Spurs took the win away from home in a thriller to lead the series 1-0.
The game started well for the Spurs with a 9-2 run but the Heat responded with a 7-0 run of their own. Chris Bosh was shooting the ball well early as Duncan struggled to score but had 5 rebounds and 3 assists in the first. The Heat shot the ball better at 52.9% from the field compared with San Antonio’s 42.9% and the Heat took a 24-23 lead into the break.
The second quarter was another see-sawing affair. The Spurs defensive rotations weren’t up to scratch early as Ray Allen hit a three to start the quarter and Mike Miller and Norris Cole followed up with three pointers of their own soon after, which took Miami to 6 -11 from the 3 point line. The Spurs offense was patient relying on ball movement but the Heat were in the driver’s seat early in the period.
Some could excuse Tim Duncan for putting in some sub-par performances throughout these playoffs with his pending divorce hanging over his head. However Duncan, the consumate professional, has not let these problems get to him, even beginning to close in on Magic Johnson’s record for most double-doubles in the post season.
Howdy folks! We’re back today with the latest team season preview taking a look at Western Conference favorites the Oklahoma City Thunder, Perennial dark horses the Philadelphia 76ers (or will they be?) and southern giant killers the San Antonio Spurs. Enjoy!
Oklahoma City Thunder
How Will They Do?
Oklahoma City are the NBA’s darlings, rising out of the ashes of the Seattle Sonics. Last year they fulfilled what most predicted – making it to the NBA Finals before being steamrolled by the Heat juggernaut. This season brings another series of high expectations and even more challenges. As the Lakers rebuilt and retooled for another assault on the title the Thunder took stock and made very few changes. Last season was an important moment for this franchise as it gave them the irrational confidence that they can now reach the highest heights. The biggest story line coming out of this camp this season will be can they re-sign James Harden? Currently the team is cash strapped. They hold the contracts of Durant, Westbrook, Perkins and Ibaka in their hands. Harden is the icing on this cake, coming off the bench with confidence, fearless determination and one of the best ball handlers in the league. Harden’s presence cements this team atop the Western Conference, without him there is an air of uncertainty. We really like how the Thunder have built upon their roster and given themselves depth at most positions. Collison & Jones backing up Ibaka & Durant as newest Thunder recruit Thabeet brings size off the bench. Harden, Maynor and Cook act as dynamite off the bench lifting the tempo of the team whenever they are on-court. Sure it’s not the deepest team in the league but it’s one of the most reliable, you know what you will get from your bench. Very similar to Moneyball it’s about working your way to a win any way you can. Coach Brooks knows this, has assembled a squad capable of challenging every team in the league. This team is one of the most explosive and dynamic in the league, a League Pass must every night. There is no doubting they have the talent, if they can just sprinkle in a dash of experience (gained from the 2011/12 Finals & Olympics) this team could destroy the Western Conference. Look for them to pick up 55-65 wins this year.