Saturday, December 13, 2008

Toros Watch: Austin 133, Colorado 108

The Toros are starting to round into form after a shaky start. Their roster is an impressive collection of talent, some of which has a future in San Antonio. The Toros will compete for the NBDL title this season, but that is a secondary concern. Our primary interest in Austin is how their big league hopefuls are performing.

  • Marcus Williams continues to stuff the box score, but his tweener size will likely translate into a tweener career. The Spurs certainly appreciate what he adds to the Toros, but I seriously doubt he ever makes their team. Williams' best bet is to parlay his numbers into an international contract. He might be able to carve out a nice career overseas.
  • Malik Hairston continues to intrigue. In this contest he was 8-11 from the field, ending the night with 25, 7, 7, 2, and 1. In college, Hairston displayed a decent three point stroke, improving each season and finishing at a respectable 43%. Since joining the NBDL, he is shooting 71%, but on only 8 attempts. In his final season at Oregon he attempted .34 three pointers per field goal attempt as compared to .10 as a Toro. Conversely, his free throw attempts have improved from .41 to .59 per FGA. In other words, Hairston is making a concerted effort to put the ball on the floor and get to the hoop. This is great considering his FT% is on a 10% rise (now at 83%). Quietly, Hairston has become a more efficient, better-rounded basketball player. During his preseason stint with the Spurs he looked unsure of himself on offense, but this is slowly changing. Development League, indeed.
  • Blake Ahearn provided the Toros with 25 points and 10 assists, making 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. On the season, he is only averaging 18 and 5, so this may be a sign that he is starting to find his way in the offense. Ahearn will never be a quality defender, but if he is able competently orchestrate the offense and maintain his stroke, he could stick with the Spurs. I give him 50-50 odds and think he would serve the Spurs well-enough as an inexpensive, serviceable third point.
  • Anthony Tolliver is a mystery. He led the team with 30 points on 8-12 from deep. During his 11 games with San Antonio, Tolliver threw up brick after brick, connecting on only 21% of his three point attempts. Since joining the Toros, his deep ball is back to 56% on the season, 13-18 this week. Is Tolliver a streak shooter? Did he hit a slump in San Antonio? Big league jitters? Are NBA defenses a touch too suffocating for him to get off the same looks he finds in summer league and NBDL contests? We'd like to know.
The Toros play again tonight at 8:30 EST. You can watch the game on the NBDL Futurecast or buy a ticket at the gate.

(Photograph courtesy of Brooke Dyer)

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