By Mike Monroe
There was good reason for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to give Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Matt Bonner a night of rest during a 101-99 preseason victory over the Hawks. But it had nothing to do with saving their energy.
“It’s early in the preseason, so it’s an opportunity to look at some other guys,” Popovich said. “I know we’re not going to do it the fourth, fifth, sixth game, so we’ve got to do it now to give those guys time to see if we like anybody.”
Those benefiting from resting the Big Three, plus Bonner, were non-guaranteed big men Eddy Curry, Josh Powell and Derrick Brown as well as wing players Wesley Witherspoon and Tyler Wilkerson.
Curry (11 points, eight rebounds) and Brown (10 points, two rebounds) started. Powell came off the bench and was the team’s top scorer with 14 points. Witherspoon made 2 of 3 3-pointers.
Popovich withheld judgment about the play of the five non-roster players.
“I pretty much reserve those opinions right now, rather than get somebody excited or get somebody depressed,” he said.
Ferry gets down to business: When new Hawks general manager Danny Ferry pulled the trigger on one of the biggest offseason trades of the summer, it came as no surprise to Popovich.
“Danny’s not a fool-around type of guy,” Popovich said of the former Spurs’ player. Ferry also did two separate stints in the club’s front office before Atlanta hired him as its GM in July.
Soon after getting his new job, Ferry traded All-Star guard Joe Johnson and his $18 million-per-season contract to the Brooklyn Nets for five players with expiring deals and a future first-round draft pick.
“If he sees something that is going to improve the team he’s going to get after it and get it done,” Popovich said. “He’s already done a good job, with little time, to jump start it and get their team the way he wants it to be.”
Ferry believes the deal will prove to be a win-win.
“I think the deal with Brooklyn is good for Brooklyn, good for Joe and, hopefully, ultimately, it will be good for us in the long run.”
Anderson back in building: James Anderson, the Spurs’ first-round draft pick in 2010, started for the Hawks and scored five points in around 17 minutes. The 2009-10 Big 12 player of the year for Oklahoma State is trying to earn a spot on Atlanta’s roster.
The Spurs did not pick up the option on a third season of Anderson’s rookie contract, making him a free agent July 1.
“James has done a good job in camp,” Ferry said. “He certainly plays hard every play and brings a lot of intangibles to the court that we really like.”