With the Spurs' recent first-round playoff faceplant still fresh in everyone's mind, the prevailing thought in just about every corner of the Spurs webiverse is very simple: "size, size, size". The Memphis Grizllies' frontcourt exposed the silver and black's most visually apparent weakness, and it's more apparent than ever that the team needs size in the frontcourt, particularly with the retirement of Antonio McDyess. However, the team is not going to find an short-term solution to their big man situation at the 29th pick in a fairly weak draft. Another thing the team will eventually need is a backup point guard behind Tony Parker, as George Hill and Gary Neal are decidedly NOT point guards. However, as long as Manu Ginolbili is healthy, the Spurs can get away with using those undersized shooting guards as "point guard", while Ginobili actually takes on all the ball-handling responsibilities. Sorry, Reggie Jackson.
There was, however, one other notable development in that nightmarish first-round loss - Gregg Popovich seemed to lose all confidence in his starting small forward, and the team had no go-to backup. In his two seasons with the team, Richard Jefferson has earned the ire of Spurs fans everywhere. First, it was because he was paid too much, but that situation was mostly rectified when he restructured his contract last summer. The second problem is that he loses both motivation and confidence when things don't go his way, or if he is not being involved in the offense. Basically, he's a good shooter and slasher, but doesn't seem to have the intangibles that made Sean Elliott and Bruce Bowen such good fits with the team in the past. In the final game against Memphis, Jefferson logged 10 minutes, none of which came in the second half. After the series, neither Pop nor RJ made the slightest allusion to any injury which might have caused the benching, which leads us as fans to the conclusion that Pop didn't trust the only true small forward he had at his disposal in the most important game of the season.
That's where Singler comes in as the solid backup three the Spurs have lacked. He definitely lacks the athletic gifts of Elliott or Jefferson, but "intangibles" might as well be Singler's middle name. Even though his three-point shooting (an absolutely essential skill for a Spurs small forward) declined a bit in the 2010-11 NCAA season, he stuck to his game. His two ACC championships, one NCAA championship (which he was also named the Most Outstanding Player for), and his gold medal with the U.S. junior national team all go to show Singler's ability to perform in pressured situations. He has the utmost confidence in what he does, knows his limits, and he's smart. He has good size at 6'9", an uncanny understanding of positioning at both ends of the floor, is a very good rebounder for a SF, and he hustles. Simply put, this guy makes plays. A proven winner whose contributions can't be appreciated by looking at a box score? He has "Spurs" written all over him.
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