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OutletPass
09-22-2003, 11:24 AM
Playing with Duncan a big benefit
By Terry Brown
NBA Insider

San Antonio opens training camp in a week, and one of these three lucky contestants is in line to inherit the starting shooting guard position for the defending champs. As an added bonus, our winner will stand to benefit from countless open looks while defenders pay more attention to Tim Duncan. Here are the candidates to soon realize how nice it is to play major minutes with the two-time MVP, along with their accompanying stats from last season. Please hold your applause (and giggling) until all of the names have been read.

Emanuel Ginobili: 7.6 points per game on 43 percent shooting.

Hedo Turkoglu: 6.7 points per game on 42 percent shooting.

Ron Mercer: 7.7 points per game on 40 percent shooting.

Emanuel Ginobili
Shooting Guard
San Antonio Spurs
Profile


2002-2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
69 7.6 2.3 2.0 .438 .737


They might not look like much now, but let's remember that two of them have yet to play with Duncan, and Ginobili, the favorite, only started five games alongside him last season. After all, we can't forget about Jaren Jackson, the Spurs' shooting guard in 1997-98, Duncan's rookie season. Jackson averaged 8.8 points and made 112 3-pointers that year. As a Washington Wizard the year before, he averaged only 5 points per game and made just 53 3-pointers. A year later, Mario Ellie became the beneficiary of playing with Duncan as the Spurs won their first NBA title. Elie shot 47 percent from the field and 37 percent from long range for the Spurs after shooting only 45 percent from the field and 29 percent from long range in Houston the year before. He retained the shooting guard position the following season and went on to make 74 3-pointers. The season before he joined San Antonio, Elie made just 55 3-pointers, and when he went to Phoenix for the 2000-01 season, he made only 36.

Derek Anderson was next. In his only year as a Spur, he averaged 15.5 points per game on 41 percent shooting while making 101 3-pointers. Traded to the Blazers, he went on to average 10.8 points on 40 percent shooting with 85 3-pointers. Then came Steve Smith, 11 years into the league and wearing down dramatically over his previous four seasons. But in 2002, he led the entire league in the 3-point accuracy (47 percent) while making 116 triples. He had made only 318 3-pointers in the last four seasons combined. In fact, before coming to the Spurs, he had shot 40 percent from long range only once in his career, and that was in 1993 when he took only 132 long-range shots for Miami. The year before he joined Duncan, Smith shot only 34 percent from long range for the Blazers. For his career, he shot only 35 percent.

Stephen Jackson
Shooting Guard
Free agent
Profile


2002-2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
80 11.8 3.6 2.3 .435 .760


And, of course, we all know about Stephen Jackson, who averaged 11.8 points per game last year on 43.5 percent shooting while making 95 3-pointers. Of course, you probably hadn't heard of Jackson before the Spurs won their second NBA title and Duncan his second MVP trophy. That's because in 2001, playing for the Nets, Jackson averaged only 8.2 points on 42.5 percent shooting while making an unremarkable 52 3-pointers. Jackson, as you may recall, then became an unrestricted free agent believing much of his success was his own. The Spurs disagreed and put his position up for grabs after refusing to pay him the $5 million per season he and his agent were demanding. As it stands, the Spurs are ready to begin defense of their NBA title while Jackson still searches for a job.

San Antonio Express News columnist Buck Harvey wrote over the weekend: "With either the Hawks or Clippers, Jackson wouldn't find the open shots that Tim Duncan provided him, nor a winning, cohesive locker room. Popovich yelled at him. Duncan looked after him. And Spurs assistants counseled him. Jackson was a project and, had he come back to San Antonio, he still would have been one. Without a support system, Jackson's career could be over when his next contract is. "His agent," said [one of his teammates], "should have understood how much growth he still needs." Instead, that growth will now belong to any one of our three lucky contestants so long as they remember that it's the guy in the paint making it all happen.

razap
09-22-2003, 11:57 AM
This is the reason why he is the best player in the league. Only Spur fans get to see nightly what he does for the team. Now you can't double team becasue he will pick you apart... I am looking forward to next season as much as you mav fans are..

Stressboy
09-23-2003, 09:53 AM
That is why Parker, Speedy, and to a large extent, Rose, end up looking like great players or better than they really are. That is why all the shoulda been spares were good with the Bulls. 1 super great player can make everyone else look great. Dirk has to get close to that level for us to win it all. The team we have surrounded Dirk with is better than what surrounds Duncan or what was around the Bulls so we have a chance. Hell, Raef on one of those championship bulls teams would have looked like an all-star.