Underestimating the San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim DuncanI feel an apology is in order.

As a hardcore, self-professed basketball jones, of all people, I should know better than to underestimate the always underestimated San Antonio Spurs.  Somehow, once again, I fell victim to doing so.  I know I’m not the only one.

For some reason, we all keep writing this team off.  It’s easy to do.

They’re too old, we say.  (The Spurs are the fifth oldest team in the league; ironically, Miami is the oldest.)  So if that’s the case, why do we consistently say Miami is a no-brainer to win a(nother) championship yet count San Antonio out for being too ancient?

Every year we dismiss the Spurs, saying their window is thiiiis far from being shut and every year they surprise everyone stupid enough to suggest that.

Shame on us!

Tim Duncan PFIf nothing else, the Spurs are as consistent as the sun rising in the East or me staying at a bar until last call.

They have made the playoffs the last 17 seasons.  That’s tied for the fifth-longest streak in league history.

However, the most-mind blowing statistic of them all is that Tim Duncan, the greatest player in Spurs history, has more fifty-win seasons over the length of his career THAN ALL BUT FOUR NBA FRANCHISES.

I mean, who does that?

Timmy does, that’s who.

The man Shaq dubbed “The Big Fundamentals” has been a joy to watch ever since being drafted number one back when I still had hair on my head.  Timmy’d make a fortune if he could bottle his fountain of youth formula and sell it to the elderly.  The guy hasn’t aged a bit.

Duncan and his Spurs are without a doubt the most unassuming and underappreciated champions in NBA history.  They’re not what the layman would consider must see basketball but their brand of hoops is beautifully complex in its simplicity.  They are sound.  They are disciplined.  They don’t draw ratings but that’s the least of their concerns.

Tony PMaybe that’s why we all keep underestimating their greatness… present company included.

Year after year, their point guard, a late first round pick back in 2001, leads all point guards in field goal percentage.  Of all the active big name ball-handlers out there, Tony Parker has the most rings by far, not to mention a Finals MVP.

Emanuel Ginobili, a late second round pick back in 1999, has both started and come off the bench for San Antonio over the years.  He’s done whatever they’ve asked including win ballgame after ballgame, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot.

Their supporting cast is just as steady, constantly rotating and carefully constructed.

They play together.  They are together, the trite all-for-one, one-for-all mindset that all dynasties possess.

They personify their head coach, the tight-lipped, temperamental man whose sense of humor and one-word answers are misunderstood by all those outside that locker room.

Pop DUncanWhen Gregg Popovich took over the head coaching position in San Antonio years ago, we all asked Gregg who?  We’re not asking that anymore.  His relationship with his players, particularly Duncan, rivals the all-time great, historical relationships between coach and player.

Far be it from me to say this team’s window is once again closing.  I’ve said it in the past and have been mistaken.

This will be the Spurs sixth Finals appearance in the past 16 years.  They are 4-1.  Another loss to Miami won’t damage San Antonio’s legacy.  It will just prove that as great as they are, they were simply unable to stop the greatest player on the planet.

I still think Miami will win this series but I’ve counted out the Spurs before and was oh so wrong for doing so.

To a valiant Finals and may the best (old) team win!

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21 Replies to “Underestimating the San Antonio Spurs”

  1. Over the years you have continued to doubt this franchise ,while giving ‘ Pop ‘ some credit . Like I said , as a coach he has built the Spurs into what you now see in terms of their unprecedented success . And while I may well be a diehard fan of the franchise , I also look at the team objectively and have been extremely critical of Gregg Popovich when I feel it warranted , and that has been often .

    For the most part , all I tend to read , is a great deal of apathy by some, and how view the Spurs as an organization, because they feel the franchise is not glamorous enough or does not have enough stars . Sixteen straight years of making the postseason and four NBA titles , I believe gives the Spurs the reverence and respect that they duly deserve .

    tophatal …………….

  2. Yes…shame on you for underestimating the Spurs…again. I can say I am not one that has done so over the years. Other than my Lakers, which is not the topic here, the Spurs have always been a fav of mine. As one who has played and knows a little something about the sport, they remind me of the championship teams of Florida, (or vice versa), where you have outstanding players who aren’t selfish, know and respect each others capabilities and support the team concept. I believe they will win this final…I can hear the confidence in their voices, (something completely absent from Indiana).

  3. Yeah, Mony.

    To even mention Indiana in the same breath is an insult to San Antonio.

    I love the Spurs. Always have. Respect ’em a great deal.

    For whatever reason, i.e. LeBron James, I just see Miami taking this thing. I just think we’re in the midst of this guy creating his legacy.

  4. “For whatever reason, i.e. LeBron James, I just see Miami taking this thing. I just think we’re in the midst of this guy creating his legacy.”

    I can think of no finer reason to cheer for the Spurs as the mere thought of a LeBoner threepeat prompts the eruption of nausea

    Cripes the mans ego barely fits in the arena as it is…

    I’d love to see solid well coached teamwork defeat the single most talented player. Teach LeBoner the hard lessons that Jordan had to learn before Magic and Bird retired and the competition level waned

  5. Side question, Tree.

    Spoelstra wins three straight with LeBron, Wade and company.

    Do we consider him a good coach or do we just brush it off as another one of those guys who was only able to win with great players?

  6. Spoelstra is already accorded the nod as being a good coach. Of course doubters will be doubters until he pulls a Riley and wins somewhere else later. Or wins in Miami after LeBoner departs for the next greener contract.

  7. How many other NBA coaches have three-peats on their resume?

    Jackson, Auerbach. Anyone I’m missing?

    Oh, John Kundla with the Minneapolis Lakers and yes, I had to look that up.

  8. Chris,
    Watch the lineup and matchups Popovich throws out there. He might matchup K Leonard to shut down DWade. That’s a good possiblity. Let LBJ go off for 45+. . . . . . . Spurs will win game easily……..I really believe this series comes down to coaching and adjustments. Betting? No discernable edge and PASS. Now the hockey. Much more viewable. Even with a hot goalie in Lunquist, the Kings and Quick will prevail. Here’s my receipt:
    6/4/14 8:05 PM NHL SERIES /Hockey [#696] KINGS SERIES -170

  9. That was probably the way to bet the NHL Finals, Bets. Unless you can get a good number on the Rangers to win it all now.

    And similarly, there’s no money to be made in the NBA Finals either. I guess we’re going to have to watch for enjoyment purposes only, he he.


  10. Chris

    Wade doesn’t have to do much but show up because its’ now LeBron’s team ? Well Dwyane Wade was nowhere to be seen , while LBJ had stomach cramps or was it his menstrual cycle ? But the Heat got bitch slapped last night , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were nowhere to be seen ! And there you were suggesting that his postseason average would be enough ? He (Wade) can’t even step on a plate , much less step up to it , nowadays ! Think outside the box , Chris as it does help with regard to the events that can happen !

  11. I have nothing but respect for the Spurs and Duncan. They have been a model of consistency and their drafting ability is unrivaled.

    Not since MJ has one player elevated a franchise.

    The core three guys should also be commended for taking less money than they could have demanded, allowing management to fill in the roster around them with quality players. I wish Kobe would have said that when the Lakers offered him this latest extension.

    The Spurs capitalized on those LeCramps. The older I get, the more leg cramps I get myself so I understand the pain. Happens occasionally on nights after playing ball. Feels like a rusty screwdriver to the calf. Horrible way to be woken from a dead sleep…but being that he was on national tv, he should have tried a little harder to suck it up. That Paul Pierce drama queen shit was laughable.
    MJ played with the flu.
    Kobe gimped his ass to the line and drained two freethrows in a regular season game for Christ sake. Man up Bron.

    LeBron’s game 2 pregame meal:
    2 Midol washed down with Gatorade and an IV chaser.

  12. Solid writeup. For me, it’s not that they are too old. There is plenty of talent there. Pop is a great coach… one of the best in the history of the game. The Heat just find a way with that trio. I still think Miami will find a way to win this series. As a fan, I’m rooting for the Spurs. I will say that I was very surprised to see a recent poll on ESPN (after Game 1) that had such a high percentage of people saying that San Antonio was going to win this series now. Do that many people really believe that?

  13. A lot of people do, KP, particularly after Game One.

    I gotta tell you though. I know they didn’t pull it out but there was a point in that game where it seemed like Miami was in total control.

    We’ll see what happens tonight.

  14. Al, wow!

    How about that beatdown tonight!

    I was at work and could only watch in bits and pieces but that tried and true Miami Heat defense was embarrassed by some hot shooting Texans.

    Ad San Antonio!

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