Maybe I wasn’t watching basketball too carefully when Marcus Haislip was averaging 16.7 points and 6.7 boards per game at Tennessee. Or maybe he just didn’t make that much of an impression on me.
But now that the Spurs signed him to play on their summer league squad, Haislip is being re-hyped as a 6-10 heap of potential. It could be that R.C. Buford and San Antonio’s management is really a step ahead of the rest of the League, or we’re all just buying into a false mystique about the Spurs.
Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer wrote a genius column to the point about San Antonio’s mythical scouting powers. He wrote a fake dialogue between Gregg Popovich and GM R.C. Buford. Here’s an excerpt, in which Buford asks why Pop wants to sign Haislip.
Popovich: I just want to [mess] with people.
Buford: That’s admirable. In what way?
Popovich: Signing Marcus Haislip.
Buford: Not admirable. Why?
Popovich: I want to keep them on edge. They think we do everything right. We’re so fundamentally-sound. So, how do you say, internationale? We got Richard Jefferson for expiring deals, we picked up DeJuan Blair in the second round, we made monsters out of Parker and …
Popovich: Nobody’s supposed to be as good as us. We’re, essentially, in Cincinnati with better food. I’m awesome, you’re hidden, Duncan‘s underrated, Ginobili and Parker came out of nowhere, and we still scare the piss out of people. You think we’re doing anything with Jefferson next year? Probably not. But the rest of the league still thinks of us as the mean computer that gets everything right.
Hypothetically Haislip signed with the Knicks instead of the Spurs. If he wasn’t already written off as a colossal bust, coming to New York would somehow cement that legacy for him. No one would expect him to come off the end of the bench, even though he’d be competing against guys with little to no measure of basketball skill. But now that he’s with the Spurs, teams around the League are frantically searching through Wikipedia to see if there are any other 6-10 former Lottery picks who are playing overseas.
The irony of the situation is that Haislip could actually be really good. Aron had been following his progress overseas – on the Turkish powerhouse Efes Pilsen and the Spanish team Unicaja Malaga. He worked his tail off over there, and put up 16.5 points per game in Spain last year – astronomical numbers given the style of play over there.
If Antonio McDyess ends up signing in San Antonio, Haislip will have a hell of a time trying to get time off the bench. But even if he doesn’t see any burn, signing with the Spurs might have been the best career move possible.
Source: Ball Don’t Lie