I hate messing with team chemistry. Our starting 5 is arguably the best in the NBA, statistically and intangibly. But this morning, as I lay awake in my bed, I had a vision ala Doc Brown in 1955 when he fell off his toilet and invented the Flux Capacitor. We should throw an unexpected wrench at the Spurs in Game 1.
Send Wes to the bench and start Dorell Wright. Then put Batum on Parker, Lillard on Green, Wright on Leonard, Lopez on Duncan, and LMA on Splitter.
A few reasons. We need to put pressure on Parker from the outset. He sets the tone for their style of play. We need to have our best perimeter defender on him from the jump. Similar to what Phoenix did to us a few years ago with putting Grant Hill on Andre Miller. If Batum can disrupt Parker, that's a huge advantage to POR. Regardless, Batum will be getting his fair share of defending his fellow countryman this series.
Putting Lillard on Green and LMA on Splitter is terrific for us, as you don't have to do much in defending those guys. Lillard needs to stay at home and limit Green's face up shot opps. Green doesn't do much else. Same with LMA on Splitter. Other than some additional banging, LMA can save his energy for the offensive end along with Lillard.
I think Wright is the kind of player, that if you give him consistent run, he finds a way to adapt into the flow of the team and won't be a liability. He's long enough to keep up with Leonard, and you still have to respect his outside shooting ability on the other end.
The biggest reason I suggest this lineup, is because the bench is where I think the biggest swing in determining this series will come from. Even though he's older than dirt, and seems to have been inflicted with every possible injury at some point in his career, Ginobili remains a killer 6th man. And the rest of their bench players are a perfect collage of Popp's system. We need to counter with as much bench punch as possible. Having Wes counter Manu off the pine I feel could be a key thing in the series. Wes would still play as much as he does now, but, we need to find a way to not have a severe drop off with our reserves.
We'd be solid in the backcourt with Wes and Mo, and then we'd get our customary spot duty from Joel and T-Rob. If this team is truly selfless, than a strategic move like this should be able to be instituted by Stotts without complaint.
I know you don't want to fix something that's not broke, but you're not going to outcoach Pop. I think if we threw this wrinkle at them in Game 1, it could help us steal the game. If not, you adjust back in Game 2.