Of the eight teams that reached the Western Conference playoffs last season, six of them had at least one player among the NBA’s top-20 in win shares. The two playoff teams that did not have a player among the top 20 were Memphis, with stars Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph, and San Antonio, who boasts the famed star quartet of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard. Obtaining, maintaining and sustaining a roster with All-Star level talent
All the San Antonio Spurs could talk about last season was avenging their 2013 NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat, especially the heartbreaking loss in Game 6. The Spurs made sure it didn’t get to a Game 6 in 2014 as they dominated the Heat in five games to win their fifth championship. Tim Duncan, who many assumed would retire after his fifth title, now enters the 2014-15 season looking for a ring for his other hand now. The Spurs brought
Four months have passed since the masterpiece was finished with a throwback flourish that had purists spouting superlatives and invoking sacred basketball institutions like the Red Holzman Knicks, the Jack Ramsay Blazers . . . Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, James Naismith. The Spurs joined the pantheon of great teams when they mutilated the Heat dynasty in the 2014 NBA Finals, playing a brand of team basketball that Naismith would have found ideal, even if it was unimaginable when he invented the
Wednesday afternoon, or evening depending on which northern hemisphere you were in, saw the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs in their first preseason exhibition. Their opponent, Alba Berlin (otherwise known as the Berlin Albatrosse). It was, for many, expected to be a blowout in the champs favor, much in the same way that the Cleveland Cavaliers so easily dispatched Maccabi Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, fortune favors the bold. Alba Berlin, though seemingly outmatched in talent, kept the game within striking distance the
It might sound ridiculous to try to compare Aron Baynes, an undrafted reserve with four career starts, to Bill Laimbeer, a four-time All Star and NBA champion. However, the two have more in common than you would expect. Before Laimbeer became the ringleader for the Pistons’ Bad Boys and a namesake for a Super Nintendo videogame, he was an afterthought. Sandwiched in the draft between two players who never appeared in the NBA, Laimbeer – the 65th overall pick in 1979 – was forced to
The San Antonio Spurs and the organization’s two stalwarts, Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich, are coming off a fifth championship and are poised for another title run next season – provided Duncan doesn’t retire. With five championships in a 15-year period, the Spurs have made a claim to be considered a dynasty. However, some people – most notably Phil Jackson – would disagree because the Spurs haven’t won consecutive titles. Jackson won three consecutive championships on three separate occasions (1991-93, 96-98, 2000-2002).
LeBron James and the Miami Heat were quickly dispatched by the San Antonio Spurs in five games in this year’s NBA Finals, so James is a pretty convenient scapegoat for his team’s failure to win a third straight championship. But LeBron is about as far from blame here as you can get. Just read James’ per-game averages in The Finals: 57.1 percent shooting from the field, 51.9 percent from the arc and 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. His
One of the obvious takeaways from the 2014 NBA Finals was that the San Antonio Spurs clearly have more good players than the Miami Heat. When the series began, it appeared to be a showdown of each team’s “Big Three” – Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker for the Spurs and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for the Heat. But as the Finals progressed, the talent gap separating the teams became evident. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich trusted his bench,