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Friday, March 06, 2009

Good Deal for Spurs

The Spurs bolstered their frontcourt with the addition of free agent 6-10 forward/center Drew Gooden, whose rights were recently renounced by the Sacramento Kings shortly after they acquired him in a trade with the Chicago Bulls. Even better for the Spurs, they did not have to give up a rotation player to sign him and, presumably, his salary will not seriously impact their salary cap situation (consistent with usual team policy, the Spurs did not announce the terms of Gooden's contract).

Gooden is averaging 13.1 ppg and 8.7 rpg this season while shooting .460 from the field, numbers that are right in line with his career norms (12.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, .470 field goal percentage). He can make the faceup jumper or hit a nice turnaround shot from the post. He rebounds well and, even though his assist numbers don't necessarily show it, he is a decent passer when so inclined. Gooden is not a great individual defender but he started in Cleveland for Mike Brown--a Gregg Popovich disciple--on a team that made it to the 2007 NBA Finals, so it should not be hard for Gooden to quickly learn San Antonio's defensive system.

Popovich likes to pair Tim Duncan with another seven footer to wall off the paint on defense but this season he has yet to really find a fully satisfactory frontcourt rotation. Matt Bonner is a lights out shooter but he gives up a lot defensively. Kurt Thomas is solid defensively but is a limited minutes player at this stage of his career. Fabricio Oberto played an important role on the 2007 championship team but seems to have fallen out of favor. This means that if Gooden picks up the system quickly and stays healthy then it would not be surprising to see him get significant minutes and maybe even join the starting lineup.

Although the Gooden signing is good for the Spurs--and could even be interpreted as being good for the league in terms of potentially making the playoffs more competitive--it has to be frustrating for fans of "have not" teams to watch the "haves" get good players on the cheap while their teams seem to be doing nothing more than cutting costs and praying that they hit the Draft Lottery jackpot.

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posted by David Friedman @ 5:49 AM



At Saturday, March 07, 2009 7:58:00 PM, Blogger Joel said...

Gooden is active on the glass and a capable complementary scorer, but I can see him driving Popovich bananas with his penchant for missing defensive assignments.

If he can avoid having too many of those lapses he can certainly help a Spurs frontcourt that is lacking in size and athleticism.

At Monday, March 09, 2009 6:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mental lapses are partly caused by chemistry problems. Gooden was hustling and rebounding but got dirty looks from James for every mistake he made. Despite his hideous haircut, I don't think his basketball IQ is as bad as the media makes it seem. He lacks focus, sure, but playing for a contract always helps in that department. I agree, it's a good deal for the Spurs.



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