Hooray for Presti
You can’t say the Spurs don’t catch breaks, even during a season limited by injury.Â The breaks started in earnest when the Mavericks dealt Harris for Kidd (and added to the fun by dismissing Avery Johnson) this time last year. They backed themselves right out of a fierce rivalry with San Antonio. The Suns trade for Shaq has left nothing but disarray in its wake. Last night’s Suns obliteration of the hapless, helpless, and hopeless Clippers was a welcome treat. It’s nice to see the Suns out and running.Â They’re fun to watch.Â But more importantly, the 7 Seconds or Less approach makes the Suns something of a cakewalk playoff match up.Â Elsewhere, the Jazz are less than fearsome beneath a heavy tide of injury and underachievement. The Lakers lost Andrew Bynum to an unfortunate injury, an injury which allowed the Spurs to sneak back into contention. The Hornets just got blitzed by the economy, a fact which everyone on earth except the New Orleans P.R. machine seems willing to admit. And finally, sadly, Tracy McGrady is staring into the dreaded eyes of microfracture surgery.Â Not only does this take McGrady off the court, it ties up Houston’s cap in all the wrong ways. Quite a laundry list, isn’t it?
Honestly, it’s not the way I like the Spurs to get ahead. As a basketball fan, much of what is listed above gets me down. (Okay, I admit the bits about the Mavs and Suns sends a perverse smile across my face. Those wounds are self-inflicted. It’s like watching someone poke themselves in the eye with a salad fork. Disturbing, yet comical.) Nevertheless, fate is greasing the rails for a Spurs-Lakers Western Conference showdown. If there were ever a season that allowed the Spurs an opportunity to back their way into the Finals, this is it. But some members of the Spurs family are getting ahead by charging forward.
I cheer for Kevin Pritchard, Danny Ferry and Sam Presti. They’re family.Â All three are doing work that ranges from good to tremendous. Sam Presti is in the news for taking advantage of the economy by turning Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith into defensive stalwart Tyson Chandler. In the short term, this makes New Orleans an easier playoff out. In the long run, it could make the Thunder a handful. With a nucleus of Durant, Green, Westbrook, Krstic and Chandler, the Thunder could eventually out scary-young-talent the Blazers. They’re not far behind. Making matters worse, Portland and OKC boast 1, 378 picks between them in the next two drafts. Strangely enough, the next 10 years of NBA history may well be written by front offices that approximate to Spurs Northwest, Spurs Midwest and Spurs not quite so Southwest.Â I’ll cry in my beer later, but tonight I say three cheers for Sam Presti. He’s done good.