Friday, March 19, 2010

Local Boy Slides Down

Matt Bonner will continue to play in the NBA for a few more years, but I think we will see the last of his serious contribution this year.

He plays for an old team, the Spurs, that has to move in a youth direction. Their newer players are respectable rotation players, which is Bonner's niche. DuJuan Blair, who is 20, will take more minutes from him next year. Plus, whoever San Antonio drafts in the first round will take more minutes from someone as well. Bonner turns 30 in a few weeks, and so is on the gradual downside of his career. He is smart and has made a decent career out of giving you a bit of everything: shoots the three, plays defense, rebounds. The archetypal red-headed player.

This is the end of an era for poor deprived NH basketball fans. Matt is the best player to come from here. Ben never played against him (4 years difference), but the upperclassmen on his teams played against Bonner, and the Y was right across from Ben's school. We watched him some in high school and followed his development at Florida. I hope he hangs on. I hope he is one of those guys who finds a way to stay on somebody's roster well into his 30's through guile, intelligence, and effort. But his brief fling as occasional starter for a championship-caliber team seems to be over.


Ben Wyman said...

Bonner and I played on the same court at the Y while I was in middle school, but to say that we played together would certainly be a stretch. I don't recall any of the guys above me at CCHS playing against him - we were a class S school, he was class L - but I'm sure what with AAU and whatnot, some of them did.

I always enjoyed watching him start for the Spurs - for someone who certainly seemed to lack the talent to be an NBA starter, he always held his own out there - he'd hit threes or crash the boards or whatever the team needed - and you sensed that he'd gotten there purely through hard work.

I got the same sense watching Scalabrine start for the Celtics last year. For someone who's always at the end of the bench, the man finds a way to contribute when he's on the court.

Gringo said...

I was in a grad school class one year with someone who had played in a high school all-star game against Shaq. Suffice it to say that Shaq dominated.