Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fox Sports: Many Teams Still Relying On Old-Timers To Contribute

San Antonio

The Spurs are faced with the prospect of a matching pair of wingmen losing their chops in tandem. The continued defensive excellence of Bruce Bowen (37) is a must for the Spurs to seriously challenge for control of the Western Conference. Bowen will undoubtedly be as tough and as on-the-edge of foul play as ever, but his speed and quickness are in question. Last year he showed signs that he can no longer stay in touch with fleet-footed opponents, a failing that should be exacerbated this season. From now on, Bowen's main function will be to hold the fort until Ime Udoka is ready to step up and replace him. It says here that Udoka is still a year away.

Meanwhile, Michael Finley (35) hasn't played adequate defense in many moons. But as long as he can pull-up going left, then fade and shoot with a high degree of success (especially in clutch situations), he can be a valuable part-time performer. However, as his ability to play defense continues to decrease, his shooting percentage must increase in order to justify more than occasional playing time. With only DerMarr Johnson and Roger Mason behind him and with Manu Ginobili recovering from foot surgery, Finley will get more time than he deserves early on.

Finley's relative decrepitude bodes ill for the Spurs.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Charley.

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