20 Second Timeout: Bill Schoening Blog

Bill Schoening's :20 Timeout

Follow the team all season long with the 20-Second Timeout blog by Bill Schoening, The Radio Voice of the Spurs for the past 13 years. Bill has over 30 years of play-by-play experience including broadcasting Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA. *Timeout Archive: October 10 | November 10 | December 10 | January 11 | February 11 | March 11 | April 11 | December 11 | January 12 | February 12 | March 12 | April 12 | May 12 | October 12 | November 12 | December 12 | January 13 | February 13 | March 13 | April 13 | May 13 | June 13 | October 13 | November 13

Manu's Global Influence
by Bill Schoening | Dec. 27, 2013

Manu Ginobili
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images)

During a recent Spurs' game at Golden State, television analyst Reggie Miller pondered whether Manu Ginobili was a Hall of Famer. To me, it's an absolute no brainer.

First of all, remember that we are talking about the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which takes into account contributions by players, coaches, and administrators that reach beyond the NBA world. The international influence of Ginobili is off the charts.

He helped put Argentina on the basketball map with his electric performances through the years for the Argentina National Team at the World Championships and at the Olympics. In 2004, it was Ginobili who led the Argentines to an upset win over USA (scoring 29 points) and eventually the Gold Medal.

Toronto Raptors guard Greivas Vasquez, who hails from Venezuela, told Spurs radio, "To me, Manu is a hero to the entire South American continent. By his play, he opened a lot of doors for players in South America. He is a big part of the Spurs success, and it's good that he will retire as a Spur. It's just my opinion, but I think Manu will always be one of the top ten players in this league."

Those comments came from a young player who hails from a country that is better known for shortstops than point guards. That's just one of many reasons Manu will be inducted in Springfield one day.

Sometimes Numbers Don't Lie
by Bill Schoening | Dec. 17, 2013

Manu Ginobili
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images)

The Spurs are now past the quarter pole of the NBA season, and once again own one of the best records in the NBA. As a regular guest on sports talk shows around the league, I am often asked why the Spurs have been so good for so long.

A lot of it has to do with continuity, consistency and chemistry. The end result of those qualities is evidenced in the numbers. A look at the NBA League statistics and rankings will give one further insight.

As I write this the Spurs are leading the league in assists. They simply share the ball, setting up good looks at the basket, which is why they rank 2nd in Field Goal percentage and 3rd in 3 point FG percentage.

The Spurs bench has been enormous, averaging over 45 points per game, and allowing Head Coach Gregg Popovich to closely monitor the minutes played by his starters and older veterans.

One underrated statistic that bears watching is fouls. The Spurs commit the fewest fouls in the NBA so they are rarely in foul trouble and don't put the opponents at the free throw line a lot.

By being strong in these specific areas, the Spurs give themselves an opportunity to win on a consistent basis, which is exactly what they have been doing.

Stability a Strength
by Bill Schoening | Dec. 10, 2013

Marco Belinelli
(Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images)

As I sit down to write this week's 20 second timeout at the Spurs' team hotel in Toronto, I have just concluded reading several online and newspaper accounts of the Toronto Raptors "blowing up their roster", "recharging the battery" and "starting all over".

I am reminded that there are many teams around the NBA facing those same difficult decisions, usually geared towards sacrificing now and building for the future.

New coaches, front office personnel and players are being brought in shake things up. Reclamation projects are underway in several cities around the league, as franchises that do not want to be stuck in neutral are gearing up for a talent rich draft in 2014.

The antithesis of all of this, of course, is the San Antonio Spurs. With the same Head Coach and General Manager in place for nearly two decades, the Spurs have the type of stability and continuity that most franchises around the league strive for, but few attain.

Former Spurs players and coaches throughout the league praise the Spurs for their culture, which not only includes accountability, but also emphasizes "corporate knowledge", that which is gained from being familiar with the system and benefitting from being comfortable and trusting those around you.

It is a rarity not only in the NBA, but in all of professional sports.

Bellisimo Belinelli
by Bill Schoening | Dec. 3, 2013

Marco Belinelli
(Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images)

When the Spurs first announced they had signed free agent guard Marco Belinelli this past summer, I remembered a pregame interview I had conducted with him while he was a member of the New Orleans Hornets early in his NBA career.

He spoke of Spurs' guard Manu Ginobili in glowing terms, fondly recalling the days when Ginobili was the MVP of the Italian league and Belinelli was a bright eyed teenager vying for playing time.

I recall thinking that Belinelli might be a good fit for the Spurs one day. Here in the early stages of the 2013-14 season, Marco has shown he is more than just a good fit; it's almost like he's been a Spur all along.

Through 18 games, Belinelli was leading the NBA in 3 point field goal percentage, hitting a remarkable 56%. He is also running the floor, distributing the ball, and bringing energy to the Spurs' very productive bench, which is averaging over 44 points per game.

The native of Bologna is enjoying his time in San Antonio so far.

"I am very happy to be with the Spurs and playing with these great players. I just want to keep playing well and helping the team. We just need to keep working so we can improve and win games."

If Belinelli continues to play at this level and the second unit keeps up it's production, the Spurs should continue to battle for one of the top spots in the Western Conference.