The winter of the Duncan Dynasty

by

For as long as I can remember, I started every San Antonio Spurs season with the belief that the team could win the NBA title.

Partly because of my youth — I was in elementary school during the David Robinson-Avery Johnson days. And also because of the quality of the teams, especially the ones Tim Duncan led as I’ve grown into adulthood.

But now, in September 2010, I’ve finally lost that feeling. To me, the San Antonio Spurs are no longer title contenders. Some will scream “blasphemy” and close their browser windows in anger. Others will think “duh” and wonder why it took me so long to open my eyes. But admitting the Spurs’ time has passed ain’t easy.

It’s not the end of the world, for the Spurs to have little shot at championship number five. That’s the beauty of the NBA. We get to watch DeJuan Blair defy traditional models of effective big man. All while trying to implement a jump shot into his game. And we can see what George Hill can improve upon this year, after making so much progress last summer.

I’m fortunate to get a chance to watch Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili on a nightly basis, both nearing the end of their careers, do what they do better than most ever have. Tony Parker, he of the only-28-years-old-and-still-in-his-prime fame, should be out for blood this season. Somehow Parker turned into a bit of a villain in the past year for some Spurs fans and without a concrete reason.

We also get to see Tiago Splitter, the international man of mystery, discover his status in the best basketball league in the world, after being the top dog in the second best basketball league in the world. Then there’s James Anderson. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy will make his home in the land of the Longhorns and Aggies and Roadrunners and Bobcats (eat ‘em up cats). If he works as hard as we hear, Anderson won’t have trouble making fans.

Unfortunately, the league passed San Antonio by. The Lakers feature five players significantly above average. Two of whom, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, could be considered in the top 10 players in the NBA. The Boston Celtics have four potential All-Stars on their roster. The Miami Heat boast three top 15 players (or top 25, depending on your opinion of Chris Bosh) who are all in their primes.

Several months ago, blogger Matt Moore went on one of his Twitter rants, this one about the Lakers (I can’t find it to link to, the guy has over 30,000 tweets). This was in February or so, and Los Angeles wasn’t playing well. He said that in the end, talent wins out. The most talented team wins the NBA title. And sure enough, the Lakers were champs in June.

These days, the Spurs don’t have that quality. They are still a very good team. San Antonio will probably win 50 games again in 2010-11 and extend their streak of 50-win seasons. They’ll be a team that no one wants to play, be it December or May. But they will never truly be a threat for the title.

It’s strange not to expect a championship at the end of the season. I know at some point, I’ll get sucked in and think, “hey, this team might actually have a shot.” But it will be short-lived. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Only one team out of 30 goes home celebrating when all is said and done. San Antonio fans should feel blessed they experienced that outcome four times.

But the team will go about their business as usual, preparing as if they have another shot at the title. Because in reality, they do. I’m just one person with an opinion, albeit with an outlet for that opinion. The Spurs will fight tooth and nail for that fifth ring. I’m just here to tell you that if they fail to get it, don’t fret. There’s plenty more reason to follow along this season.

  • Two Cents

    i meant 6 games, not 8. duh.

  • Jim Henderson

    Hobson13
    September 14th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    “I get amused at certain “experts” and several other self appointed hoops gurus who think they can predict next season’s playoff rankings and outcomes 8 months in advance. Lets not forget that last year there was only a 5 game difference between being #2-8 seeds in the West.”

    Well, no one’s quite sure who the “experts” and “self-appointed hoop gurus” that you’re referring to. But one thing is for certain: nobody knows for sure how the seedings will play out in the West this season, and I don’t know anyone on this blog that has stated otherwise. That said, there’s no harm in evaluating the rosters and coaching staffs of the playoff contenders, and making an educated guess at the final seedings. In that vein, in my view, “odds are” the Spurs will end up around the middle of the pack. Now, could they finish 7th or 8th in the West, even miss the playoffs? Perhaps, but in my view the odds don’t favor it. Could the Spurs finish 1st or 2nd in the West? Sure, but again in my view the odds don’t favor it. You seem to suggest that the teams vying for playoff spots 2-8 all have an identical shot at being #2. I respectfully disagree with that (although I concede it is fairly close), and have previously made seeding guesses accordingly. If we polled a hundred people for their prediction of final seedings, in all likelihood less than a handful would get the seedings correct one through eight. And any predictions I’ve made along these lines are just that; educated guesses for the fun of it, and very likely to be wrong to one degree or another. We’ll see at the end of the season, but regardless of predictions, it should be an interesting & enjoyable season, and I hope the Spurs end up #1 in the West. No, it’s not impossible, just very unlikely!

  • Hobson13

    Jim Henderson
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    “Well, no one’s quite sure who the “experts” and “self-appointed hoop gurus” that you’re referring to.”

    My reference was more directed at the mainstream media not calling out anyone on this blog.

    “That said, there’s no harm in evaluating the rosters and coaching staffs of the playoff contenders, and making an educated guess at the final seedings.”

    We’ve done this ad nauseum for months. Weeks ago I compiled my detailed thoughts on the WC and many on here did the same. There’s simply nothing left to be said on the subject.

    “You seem to suggest that the teams vying for playoff spots 2-8 all have an identical shot at being #2.”

    Yes, perhaps, but how do you seriously differentiate legitimate top 8 teams who have lost/added key members of their rotation(Utah, Suns), have key players that are injury prone/recovering from injury (Portland, Houston, even Spurs) or teams that have virtually no playoff experience (OKC). In short, after the Lakers, no other team has an overwhelming advantage in talent, yet they all (including Spurs) have very different weaknesses. The only way we find out who can do what is to play an 82 game regular season. Again, I don’t mean to be harsh, but this blog, as a group, has said everything there is to say without the Spurs beginning the 2010-2011 season.

  • http://mvgennero@yahoo.com mvg03

    JP
    September 14th, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    “Whatever the case may be…Just don’t lose to the Mavs in the playoffs and I’m good.”

    Haha i with you bro!!

  • SAJKinBigD

    RE: Erica Dampier – If all you want is his defense, I guess that’s fine. BUT, the dude’s got hands of stone, or maybe he just doesn’t have flexible digits, I dunno. All I can say is OFFENSIVE LIABILITY. :)

    I’m really looking forward to this season! So much excitement and uncertainty, but the good kind! As a great man once said: “The suspense is terrible. I hope it’ll last.” :D

    Go Spurs Go!

  • Rey

    So that’s it, huh? Just give the Western Conference title to them Lakers and book our fishing reservations early?

    Wait a minute. Last time I checked, this is the Spurs blog. Not the TWolves. Not the Hornets. Darn. This is not even the Nuggets blog.

    I think if we really want to be realistic about the upcoming season, we should face the fact that yes, it’s gonna be one hell of a ride. The Lakers practically remained the same, the Thunder are maturing and the Rockets got Yao back. But this is the Spurs, guys, and WE DON’T GIVE UP ‘TIL THE TROPHY’S AWARDED TO THE CHAMPS. You might think that I’m into hallucinogens, but I think that’s what being a fan is about – believing in your team and expecting them to push hard despite the apparent impossibility of the situation. Back in 2004, I don’t think anyone thought about a role-player-filled Detroit would topple the Fearsome Foursome in L.A. In 2006, everybody has practically written off the Heat against the Mavs who beat the defending champs.

    If our attitude will be that of “yeah, the Lakers would reign supreme in the West again and we’ll just watch to see the newbies develop,” then it’s best to just hand the trophies to the Lakers or to whichever team we believe “have what it takes to win the title.”

  • vionix

    Hey, how about if TP doesn’t want an extension? Why not go for a trade for Chauncy Billups? If Carmelo Anthony changes team i think we have a chance with Chauncy… your thoughts please???

  • Man In Black

    You say that, all of that. Highlight some factors that work negatively, some positively, and then…decree that it’s over. A Spurs blogger on the almighty 4-letter network. Et Tu, Andrew? Don’t drink the 4-letter Kool Aid man.

    You say middle of the pack, I disagree. Yahoo released their NBA mag recently and I go straight to their predictions page and I see:
    Western Conference Finals Lakers Over Spurs
    Imagine that, a national mag that says the Spurs will meet the LAL in the West Finals.

    They can get THERE and FARTHER. I’ve been saying this a lot on message boards all over the place. “There are more DAVIDS than there are Goliaths.” If you give David the right tools, and most of all, the right mindset…Goliath of Gath will fall yet again.

    I’d think

  • wardy

    We might not have the best chance of winning the title, but we would be in the top 10 of title contenders. I just thank my lucky stars that I support the Spurs and not the Warriors or Clippers. At least I get to go into each season with some hope.

    By the way, with Dampier being waived to we have any MLE left to make an offer over the vet’s minimum? Should we?

  • ThatBigGuy

    Will the Spurs win a 5th title this year? Who knows, that’s why they play the game.

    The top 16 teams are as close as I’ve ever seen in my 27 years of life. There are way too many variables this year to even make an educated guess as to who will win.

    And that’s why I’m buying NBA League Pass.

    Go Spurs Go!

  • Miguel

    I have one legitimate question to the writer. What do you consider the Spurs most athletic team during the Duncan era? Would you not consider this one of the most athletic and talented team the Spurs have had in Duncan’s era? I would go on to say that this team is probably more talented and athletic than the year that the Spurs won in 2007. Why would you close the window on this team?

    I mean, it’s true that the Lakers have more talented big man but can’t we argue that the Spurs have a better bench than them, even without Ginobili? I’m not sold on the Celtics, sorry. They may have gotten to the Finals last year but I’m willing to bet the Spurs could’ve handled them easily in a 7 game series, despite their loss against the Suns.

    I’m not closing the window on the Spurs yet. Sorry. I think this article is flawed. I’m not saying the Spurs are winning. But I am saying that the Spurs still have a decent chance, if only they gel very very well.

  • ThatBigGuy

    I just showed my brother the title of this post. His quote:

    “South Texas has pretty nice winters.”

  • Miguel

    @ Chris All the “ifs” you mentioned do not have to happen. I’d say if we only get one or two of those “ifs” then the Spurs are good. I’d say the most important if is their defense, “if only their defense would be as good as their championship years.” Spurs got plenty of offensive talent to be worrying about the other “ifs.”

  • Tim in Surrey

    Andrew and company,

    Nice essay. I’ll chime in with a long, history-laden counter, if you don’t mind…

    Although I’m not that old, I’ve been a Spurs fan since they were in the ABA (back when George Karl played for them, and Phil Jackson was still a bizarrely mangey forward for the Knicks). Things have changed a lot since then, but not THAT much. These days there is a media-fuelled tendency to believe that you have to have a dominant team to win the title and that dominant teams are only built from big-name trades, big-money signings, or big-name draftees (usually from a famous college program like Duke or Kentucky).

    Contrary to that media obsession, though, there have been many championship teams that were not been particularly dominant–even recently. Here’s a list examples of good–but not great–teams that surprised everyone to win championships, even overcoming great teams in the process:

    * The Knicks in 1970 (when they beat Wilt Chamberlain Lakers with a 6’9″ center limping on a torn ligament) & ’73
    * The Warriors in ’75
    * Bill Walton’s “Wild Bunch” Trailblazers in ’77 (who beat what was touted as the most talented squad ever assembled)
    * The Bullets in ’78 (who didn’t even win 50 games!)
    * The Sonics in ’79

    After that, yes, there was a run of dynastic championships, dominated by Bird & Magic. But then the Pistons came out of nowhere in 1988, winning championships in ’89 and ’90. They were not perceived as a great team until AFTER their first title. They did have one star (Thomas), but were made up of a bunch of castaways, a great coach, two hidden gems (Rodman and Dumars were a surprise to the entire league–including Detroit), and a nasty defense. Then of course the Bulls arrived with Jordan, Pippen, and Phil Jackson. But when Jordan retired for two years, a pretty good but not great Rockets team managed two titles as well. Yes, they had Olajuwon, but who else was on their first team? Their next best payer was probably Otis Thorpe, a one-time all star.

    After Jordan returned and then retired, we had a pair of dynasties that won 7 of 8 (Go, Spurs, Go!). But again, who knocked off the ultra-superstar Lakers in 2004 (when they added Malone and Payton to Shaq and Kobe)? Detroit? Whose best players were the frequently traded Chauncey Billups and the offensively challenged Ben Wallace? And more recently, did anyone really expect Miami to win in 2006? Sure, Wade was on fire in the playoffs. But Shaq was already as much a burden as an asset. And who were the other superstars on that team? Only the coach (Pat Riley).

    Sorry for the history lesson, but in fact about a third of the titles won since Bill Russell retired were won by teams that emerged seemingly out of nowhere. And frequently those teams did so against supposedly dominant teams. The common denominators? First, a team-oriented culture (best epitomized by Portland in ’77). Second, a tenacious commitment to defense (some more than others, of course, with the Warriors and Bullets at the bottom of the list and all three Pistons teams at the top). Third, a hall of fame coach (which every single one of those teams had, lending credence to the idea that it really is a coach’s league). And finally, a collection of hungry but talented role players, who were overlooked for some reason (perhaps they went to smaller schools, like Jack Sikma, Joe Dumars, and Ben Wallace did). Maybe they needed a second chance (like Chauncey Billups did with Detroit or Gus Williams did with the Sonics). Or maybe they offered an unusual but useful array of skills (it could be a pesky defensive specialist like Phil Jackson or Dennis Rodman, a spectacularly streaky shooter like Vinnie Johnson or Antoine Walker, or a shot-blocking-only specialist like Marvin Webster). But each contributed in crucial ways.

    Now admittedly this is a time when there is a pretty dominant team, unfortunately in our own conference (LA). So I’m not saying that I expect that the Spurs will win the title. But even dominant teams not only can be beaten but frequently are. For instance, the Lakers had Chamberlain and West together for five seasons, surrounded by a strong supporting cast. They only won one title. Even our own Spurs only managed four titles in nine years. So let’s not hand the title to LA or Miami just yet. Besides, the current Spurs fit the profile of a good team that can win the championship, even if they have to knock off a dominant one to do it: They have a team-first culture, they are committed to defense (although they will need to shore this up, as they’ve slipped in recent years), they have a hall of fame coach, and they have a stable of hungry but talented role players, many with an unusual but very useful set of skills.

    They are different in one crucial respect, however, because their best players already have multiple rings. Some might argue that this makes them less hungry (in my opinion, though, it enhances their chances). Even so, there is one very good historical model for a post-dynasty team that won championships against better squads: I’m referring to the Boston Celtics of the 1970s, who had no business winning two championships–especially in 1974 against a very strong Milwaukee Bucks team that featured two of the 10 best players of all time (Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).

    So, in other words, it ain’t over until it’s over. Do I think the Spurs are LIKELY to win? No. But it’s entirely possible. This is a good team, with champions on its roster and in the coach’s seat. As the coach of one of the teams mentioned above used to say, “Never underestimate the heart of a champion!” (That’s Rudy Tomjanovich, of course, coach of the Rockets in ’93 and ’94.)

    Cheers,

    Tim

  • rob

    Jim Henderson

    “I think Andrew is just saying that the Spurs have a very slim shot at a title, not that they don’t have “any shot”.”

    I know what he was saying. All I was eluding to was that…though it doesn’t look as promising as years past…we yet don’t have a clear idea of how the new faces are going to perform. How healthy the core will be and remain. Or how much determination and drive will surface and sustain.

    I’m not disagreeing or agreeing on the article. I’m taking a wait and see approach before formulating an opinion regarding the Spurs chances of winning the title.

    Just a side note….The views and opinions generated by several regarding this article have been well articulated and written concerning both sides of the issue.

    It’s been one of the best responses I’ve read.

    And I agree with Hobson…Dampier would not be a bad pick up if nothing else were to happen prior to the season starting. He’s always had success defending against the Lakers. But OKC seems to have their sights on him now.

  • BALLHOG

    Andrew is dead on.

    Spurs dont have much of a shot at the title with this roster.

    Unless,

    * Pop learns how and when to use D. Blair. He should swallow his pride and call Doc Rivers for advice.

    *Anderson and Neal turn out to be agressive on offense and defense and are able to consistently hit shots, contested and otherwise. Unlike Bogans and Mason, these guys can finish at the rim as well.

    *Bonner is mandated to actually play the PF position. We are looking weak in our frontcourt because as it stands, Bonner cant be viewed as a big. (ALL COACHING)..He actually has the size and bulk to make a difference in the paint, if properly coached. No more of this 6’10 two guard crap.

    *Jefferson returns to form and Pop just lets the guy play…He might even incorporate RJ into the offense.

    * Stop all of the Hill over Parker BS. There is no comparison, and it will only lead to Parker’s departure.

    *If, the big three spent time this offseason getting physically stronger.

    *Splitter! From all of the talk and praise for this young man, hopefully he can be a 12-10 per night guy…

    This is extremely important…If this guy can get those numbers consistently, and play good defense…then we have something to to feel good about…If!

    Finally…Popovich

    Which Pop do we get this season? The guy who is still trying to set his rotations 3 games from the end of the season? The Ego maniac who got caught up reading his own Press?

    The guy who completely dismantles his roster prior to the all star break?

    Or, the Pop who charges out each year with the dictator like idiocy that undermines and humiliates players, destroys thier confidence and market, and eventually runs them out of town?

    Lots of if’s indeed….

  • P. Rumm

    Fair enough points, but I am absolutely not throwing in the towel until we see how this still potentially very strong team gells. The Spurs have been under-estimated for years and remember this is the same the “big three” core of Parker/Manu/Duncan, albeit older, that almost beat the feared Lakers when they had Shaq, Bryant, Malone and Payton barring a disputable Fisher 0.4 miracle. Is the current Lakers (or even the Heat) team really more formidable than the supremely talented dominant Shaq in his prime, a younger Bryant and 2 fellow allstars in their company back then? This also the first time in years none of the big three played overseas or had an injury coming into the season that I can remember.

    Plus is a lot of proven and potential talent behind the big three in Dice, Jefferson (what if he bounces back big time?), Hill, Blair, Anderson, and Splitter.

    Foremost, I believe the Spurs themselves fully quietly believe another run is possible. Time after time this resilient franchise has been written off in series or at the beginning of seasons and until Duncan retires, I will always believe they have at least some chance of pulling off one last glorious run.

  • Tyler

    Dampier would be a fantastic pickup for the Spurs.

    SA has to return to the grind-it-out, low scoring, “boring” style in order to contend. As much as we love watching high scoring games, this team won’t be able to outscore their way to a title. (sidenote – I used to get the most satisfaction when friends of mine would call me up during the playoffs and bash SA for being “boring”)

    Adding another big that our perimeter defenders can funnel offensive players to would help our team defense immensely (after all, this is what our defensive philosophy is predicated on). Dampier would be able to play the role of Nazr or Rasho from years past, when our team defense was the best in the league.

    In short, this team doesn’t need more offense – we have enough firepower to compete. We need more defense, and that starts on the interior where Dampier can really help. Add him to this team and we could possibly have 3 better-than-average rim protectors (Splitter and TD being the other two).

  • quincyscott

    I think Dampier could be very useful. If the aim is to assemble a team to take down the Lakers, then we are certainly going to need a lot of long bodies to throw at their front court. Dampier is that.

    However, I think a more pressing need is at the 3. We have good depth at the 4/5 with the addition of Splitter. I don’t feel confident about depth at Jefferson’s spot. It seems to me that, with our current roster, the roll of the backup 3 will be filled by a 4 or a 2 who is playing out of position. Which may work just fine, but it concerns me.

  • Sarge

    Agreed with picking up Dampier. I’m a little biased, of course, being a Mississippi State grad, but hey… he fits a need on the team.

    Man, I remember that Final Four run MSU made. Killed me that they choked against Syracuse. Kentucky won it all that year. Guess who beat them in the SEC Championship Game? Yeah. MSU.

    Note to front office: go get Dampier!

  • muwu

    I think this is correct. It all hinges on Duncan. Fact is Duncan is slowly and surely becoming older, and the Spurs’ title hopes with him. He’s not the automatic double team he was before. He’s guardable now by 1 on 1 coverage. That alone has changed the offense’s dynamics completely. Not even mentioning the waning team defense.

  • SASilverandBlack

    I’m not quite getting how Spurs fans can say their opportunity for a championship is over. Yes, Duncan and Ginobili are getting older, but they can still contribute. There’s no doubt about it.

    Parker should have a banner year this year. With Duncan and Ginobili playing conservative minutes and Parker in a contract year, it’s his time to shine. I think he can outplay his best year of two years ago.

    Let’s not forget how this team has defied the odds these last couple of years. Everyone keeps expecting the Spurs to die out and not become relevant, but they keep showing up.

    Not only have they overachieved in the past couple of years (like last season in the playoffs), but how about their championship seasons? I was absolutely blindsided when they won in 2007. It was almost surreal. At no point did I think they were out of the discussion, but I definitely didn’t think they were the frontrunners. After all, this was the first year where all of the critics were saying Timmy and Manu are starting to slow down. In the end they swept the Cavaliers. Things went their way with the Mavs losing in the first round and Steve Nash flopping his way to the ground in the second round matchup (you know what REALLY happened Suns fans).

    A championship team always has an element of luck. You can have all the skill and talent in the world, but sometimes you need a lucky bounce (take the Lakers for instance last year with three buzzer beaters, most notably Game 5 vs. the Thunder).

    The Spurs still have a shot, albeit a long one. As a devout fan, you just can’t rule out their chances. There’s always a chance!

    By the way, I love the comparison to the Celtics of last year. There are definitely similarities. Three (or two) old “fading” stars, a solid bench, now they just need that proven three-point shooter and an improved defense. It’s not so far-fetched to think those two things can happen with James Anderson and Tiago Splitter respectively.

    So here’s to hope. Here’s to the prospect of raising the 5th banner. I’ll take it one step further: here’s to anticipating a Western Conference Finals match-up with the Los Angeles Lakers. I want it to happen. I hope it happens. And when it does, I hope they tear ‘em a new one.

    Here’s to a renewed HOPE in our Spurs (today’s word of the day is hope, by the way). GO SPURS GO!!!

    P.S. Open letter to Richard Jefferson: Please earn your worth this season. I know what you can be, now just fulfill your basketball destiny already!

  • http://www.operaforthemasses.com David G

    I feel the same way about the end of the championship window… It’s a strange feeling to have because part of me thinks well what’s the point of all this then? Then I remember that I love basketball, the Spurs, and watching Ginobili and Duncan play. We might see better players than Ginobili or Duncan in a Spurs uniform one day but there won’t ever be another Manu or Timmy.

  • BALLHOG

    Dampier?

    Wouldnt Mahinmi or Dwayne Jones have been just as long and just as capable at 22yrs old as a 90 year old Dampier? The decisions of theis FO are ridiculous.

    We need to be more like the fans in Dallas…J Garrett’s catching huge heat from the media for his pop warner play calling….

    Our coach and FO can be as jacked up as they like and not a peep from any media source or our very own fan base.
    Are we all afraid of Pop and RC? Or is it just the cowardly local media that cowers in his presence?

    Something very eerie about that to me.

    Besides, if the fan base see’s the upside in picking up ANY good player from anywhere in the leauge (example Dampier) to add to the roster, the FO will certainly not go after that player…Instead they will go after some no name scrub and stash him overseas to watch us get beat down in the playoffs.

    Amundson is a prime example.

    No my friends, its time to exercise a little fanbase muscle in San Antonio.

    We are the base, the financing, and the following for this franchise.

    If fans were to stop buying tickets, stop comming to games, stop buying merchandise, and stop drinking the Pop and RC koolaide, PETER HOLT WOULD BE FORCED TO TAKE NOTICE AND MAKE SOME CHANGES.

    people like this coach and FO allow themselves to get to the point where they actually think it is about them.

    We dont support the team because of those nimrods, we support the game and the players, and winning. Period!
    We watch the players play..

    Time to flex our Spur Nation muscles..

    Cant wait to see if the Spurs knew what they were doing in releasing Mahinmi, giving guaranteed money to “no name” Neal over the veteran, Malik Hairston, giving millions to retain Bonner (He must be dating Pop’s daughter), and finally, indirectly encouaging Tony Parker to move on to another team.

    If they are correct, I would not question “Zen Buford” and “Zen Popovich” ever again…

    Right! ROFLMAO

  • Tyler

    @Ballhog

    Erick Dampier is light years ahead of Ian and Dwayne Jones as a player. It’s not even close.

  • quincyscott

    Um, one of the reasons I’m not a Mavericks fan is that I have no desire to “be more like the fans in Dallas.” I don’t want our owner to be like the Dallas owner. I don’t want our “ridiculous” front office to emulate the one in Dallas. No. Thank. You.

  • SAJKinBigD

    @ quincyscott: +1.

    I live in the Dallas-area and ugh – fortunately I won’t have to hate the owner of my favorite baseball team since Cuban lost out to Nolan Ryan’s posse. Cuban has a lot of fans, but there is a contingent that wonder how long he’ll continue to be the General Manager – For those who think Pop and RC have issues, Donnie Nelson and MC aren’t exactly setting the world on fire! Tyson Chandler and Ian? Really?

  • Kevin

    The only answer, and the only way the Spurs will prosper in the long run, is for the fans to make more demands and maybe boycott the team. Great Idea!

    My other favorite: “[Pop,] The Ego maniac who got caught up reading his own Press?” LOL!

  • Kevin

    I also live in Dallas, and for the Spurs to try in any way to emulate the Mavericks and Cowboys would be sickening.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the Cowboys, but god the fans up here are annoying.

  • SASilverandBlack

    @kevin,

    That struck me as being rather funny. Cowboys fans hate their own fans. Hehe. That’s just another reason why Spurs fans are cooler and better. We’re so much more reserved than those fools in Dallas, or LA, and now Miami.

  • SAJKinBigD

    It’s funny, but I’d have to say most Cowboys fans from places OTHER than DFW are way better fans.

  • quincyscott

    On second thought, I think Dampier is way too expensive. Scratch my above, rash enthusiasm.

  • Jim Henderson

    quincyscott
    September 15th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    “On second thought, I think Dampier is way too expensive.”

    But his current contract is voidable.

  • SAJKinBigD

    How is it voidable? I thought he was supposed to be one of those “trade-chips” contract-wise, but the Mavs spent it to get Chandler – wait, I guess he was dropped and that cleared his contract status?

  • Tyler

    @quincyscott

    I don’t think he’ll be that expensive. Being that it’s pretty close to training camp, and that most teams have spent most of their cap and exception money, I’m thinking $2-4M, at least for the first year. Of course, there will be several teams putting on the full court press for his services – Miami, OKC, Dallas, among others…..

  • Tyler

    If waived during a certain period of time, Dampier’s contract comes off the books, which Charlotte executed to get under the luxury tax. They could have waited and tried to find a trade partner in order to swing a few assets, but that would have required Charlotte to take on salary, which they apparently didn’t want to do.

  • DieHardSpur

    All things considered – this article is completely incorrect.

    I believe there are only about 6 teams (plus wildcard) in the league at any given time that have the ability to win it all.

    LA
    Miami
    Chicago
    San Antonio
    Oklahoma
    Boston

    ***Wildcard***

    Last year we stunned everyone with our ability to upset the #2 seed Mavericks, who were the only front runners to beat LA. I believe had we played LA in the first round, we would have won. We could not have run into a worse match-up in the Suns. I also believe we would have beaten Boston in 7 games.

    Lets be honest – who builds a team to beat the Suns?

    I think we have roughly a 10% chance to win it all.

    10% is alot more than 0%

  • SONofSAN

    I agree we would of beat lakers first round. we were playing good and they were playing like sh!t! I still think were the biggest threat to the lakers in the west! due to i still have to put experience first(spurs) over young and talented (thunder, blazers)! even though we did get younger too! cant wait till the season starts! GO SPURS GO!

  • rj

    well, title or not, i love me some spurs basketball. can’t wait to see tiago and duncan make opposing teams frontcourts head spin with good passing, footwork, and drwaing contact. those internationals really have a knack for that im looking forward to the era of the blazers thunder kings fighting for bragging rights in the west while the mavs, suns,nugget,are in rebuiling mode. i think the spurs are right up there with the latter group of teams in terms of rebuilding youth movement. we may not have a brandon roy, tyreke evans, or mvp durant, but blair, hill, anderson, splitter is a good start! im so prof what the spurs have accomplished along with their preparation for a turnaround. go spurs and viva san antonio!

  • ChillFAN

    Two words, son: Red Rocket

  • Jim Henderson

    DieHardSpur
    September 15th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    “All things considered – this article is completely incorrect.”

    The article is not “completely incorrect”. Andrew basically says that the Spurs have a very small chance at winning a title this year. And he’s clearly correct about that.

    “I believe there are only about 6 teams (plus wildcard) in the league at any given time that have the ability to win it all.”

    You’d have to add Houston, Dallas, Portland, and Orlando to that list. And if one did cut it down to 6 teams, the Spurs wouldn’t be on the list in my view. How can you rank us ahead of Orlando?

    I’d give the Spurs a 3-5% chance of winning it all.

    Also, if given the opportunity, it is very unlikely that we would have beaten Boston or LA in a 7-game playoff series last year. Our defense was not strong enough.

    “10% is alot more than 0%”

    Again, Andrew is not suggesting that the Spurs have NO chance at a title this year, just that it’s very slim, as the following quotes from the main post clearly suggest:

    “It’s not the end of the world, for the Spurs to have little shot at championship number five.”……

    ……”But the team will go about their business as usual, preparing as if they have another shot at the title. Because in reality, they do.” ……

    ……”The Spurs will fight tooth and nail for that fifth ring. I’m just here to tell you that if they fail to get it, don’t fret. There’s plenty more reason to follow along this season.”

  • Manol Pedralvez

    Sing no sad swan songs yet for San Antonio. Even as a realist, the Spurs may collectively surprise all of us yet. Let see how they perform first before we consign them into the dustbin of NBA history.

  • BALLHOG

    @ Jim

    “The Spurs will fight tooth and nail for that fifth ring. I’m just here to tell you that if they fail to get it, don’t fret. There’s plenty more reason to follow along this season.”

    When it comes down to it…I must agree with that statement. I must say though, watching our 3 Spur warriors go to battle every season without the proper supporting cast pisses me off.

    Even though this group has gotten a little older, they are still effective. These guys still compete and want to win. They are proven warriors that will take any team to the limit.

    Just cant figure out why we would squander the final years of Duncan, Parker and Ginnobli in a Spurs uniform, instead of reloading and continuing to compete for championships.

    Also cant figure out why Duncan and Ginnobli seem to be OK with it all…No complaints, no recruiting, no lobbying for help, not a peep.

    Though we all support our Spurs, doesnt it bother anyone that the fan base never has even the slightest idea of what in the hell this FO and coach are doing? Ever?

    Here are some pretty basic fan type questions that could easily be answered..

    Why not try to bring in….

    Amundson?
    Brewer?
    JR Smith?
    Mahinmi?
    Hairston?
    Barnes?
    Shaq?
    S. Jackson?

    OK, our FO does deserve some credit. We trust that they know what they are doing. Theu may very well know far more than any of us…

    If so, let us in on the reasons for not pursuing any of these players?

    Why not get some of these veterans instead of greenhorn rookies and D leaguers?

    Even now…Why arent the Spurs considering Dampier?

    Come on guys…Are these ridiculous questions?

  • Maverick1948

    How many games did the Spurs win last season? 50
    How many players return from that team? 8
    How many played 75 or more games? 6
    Why didnt the other 2 play more than 75? Broken bone in their hand.
    What did they add to the roster?
    Garrett Temple 27 games last season (13 with the spurs)
    Alonzo Gee 11 games with Wash 7.4 pt 3.0 reb Rookie of the year in the DLeague
    Tiago Splitter best big man not in the NBA MVP in Europe and A Championship
    And last but not least JAMES ANDERSON, Big 12 all rookie team as a freshman, 2nd team all Big 12 as a soph, 1st team all Big 12, Big 12 Player of the year, 1st and 2nd team all american on various lists, Wooden award finalist.

    By my standards, Anderson has no more to prove to anyone than John Wall, Blake Griffin or anyother rookie. BTW Splitter is still considered a rookie for NBA purposes, but he has played 10 full years as a pro in Europe.

    I refuse to believe the Spurs have NO chance to win. In fact, I believe they are the team everyone is going to be surprised by if they are thinking the door is closed. Tim is playing fewer mins but producing at the same rate as any year before. Manu the same. Tony is in contract year. All are RESTED. IMO I am looking at the youngest team the Spurs have had in years.

    I personally dont agree that LA is the best team in the league. In 2003, LA was the 3 peat champs and we knocked them off. I can see it happening again. We are deeper with better players than I have ever seen the Spurs have in the past.

    Knock off LA!!!!!

  • Gary

    You better never ever say that again or that will be the last time I come back here..

    Tony is in shape
    Tim is still in shape
    Manu is in shape
    and we have Splitter now

    what the hell is wrong with you ? Of course we can we win another one…

    everyone blablablabla about the Lakers… but one injury to kobe and there done

  • Kevin

    @Ballhog you said it best, we have no idea what they’re doing. But does that mean they’re doing nothing? No. I just hate this arguement of “why didn’t they even try to get Amudson, they must hate all of us!” I trust that this FO is working hard behind the scenes, not just sitting around talking about how great they are and trying to do the opposite of what their fans want.

    And truth be told, I don’t think we should all press to get answers. All I care about it results, and recently, we gotten them. It has been 3 years, but I still have hope. Anything can happen. We’re not in the same spot as, say, the warriors. We have a good team that is hella fun to watch and can beat anyone on any given night. We can get hot in the playoffs and win it all. We probably won’t, but we could.

  • Gary

    OHHH BTW!
    ppl seem to forget pretty fast
    but

    last year, we had so many bad things going for us
    Manu was weak but at the end
    Tony was weak all year long
    RJ sucked so bad

    only Timmy was OK

    AND we still finished by beating those Mavs
    with a pretty good record in the season too

  • rj

    i don’t care how much talent dallas loads up on their roster. they are never going to win a championship. poor chemistry, no leadership has earned them nothing over the last decade. i would still put la miami and boston as the favorites. orlando lacks leadership and vince carter is their go to go in the clutch (!) and oklahoma still lacks experience. sa still hangs in the second tier of contenders

  • andy

    i agree with the general premise of the article, in that there is a lot to like and watch about the spurs. the primary contention, that we “…will never truly be a threat for the title [this year]” is something with which i respectfully disagree.

    sure, i guess it depends on how you define a “contender”. if it’s a team with a more than 50/50 shot at the title, then no, i don’t believe that’s us. however, i think there are only 4 teams of that caliber: the lakers, heat, magic, and celtics. i think orlando and boston cut that rather closely, too. i think we have as good a shot as anybody in the west outside of the lakers, and you can dismiss that as optimism, but i can just as easily counter that you’re being overly pessimistic where you’re rosy on others. the rest of the west is relatively even, and i like our chances, especially with tony healthy, splitter, and a summer of jefferson working with pop.

    i’m going to enjoy the season, be thankful that we’re not a team of narcissistic, felonious, or ambivalent players, and root for a 5th championship. i’ll be disappointed if we don’t win it, but honestly, my life is pretty good.

  • Jim Henderson

    Maverick1948
    September 15th, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    “What did they add to the roster?

    Garrett Temple 27 games last season (13 with the spurs)”

    The fact is, he’s played a grand total of 393 minutes in the NBA, “mostly” in garbage minutes or against the opponents 2nd team, and thus he’s essentially an undrafted rookie. Nice young player with some upside still, but Garrett is highly unlikely to be a “impact” player this year with the Spurs.

    “Alonzo Gee 11 games with Wash 7.4 pt 3.0 reb Rookie of the year in the DLeague.”

    Similar to Temple, only with fewer NBA minutes under his belt. Not a strong defender, and a bit too out of control with the basketball. Glad he’s had some success in the D-League, but that’s an entirely different level of competition. Gee will be unlikely to see much action this year on the Spurs, let alone have any meaningful effect on the team’s ultimate outcome.

    “Tiago Splitter best big man not in the NBA MVP in Europe and A Championship”

    Solid player with great fundamentals. He will help the team this year, no doubt. The big key is how well will his defensive chops translate from the European game to the NBA? Granted the gap continues to close incrementally between Europe and the NBA, but a substantial difference still remains. And how effectively will Splitter be able to handle the superior size and athleticism that many of the NBA 4/5′s have? These are BIG questions that we won’t have a real answer to until probably early 2011, or perhaps much later.

    “And last but not least JAMES ANDERSON, Big 12 all rookie team as a freshman, 2nd team all Big 12 as a soph, 1st team all Big 12, Big 12 Player of the year, 1st and 2nd team all american on various lists, Wooden award finalist.”

    The fact is, Anderson is a #20 pick, and has not played a minute yet in the NBA. Even if we, as some on here have suggested, consider Anderson as “really” a late lottery pick, the great majority of picks slotted #10 or higher do not even ever become consistent, solid rotation players on good teams. Some buck the odds and become really good players, and Anderson could do so. But to have high expectations that Anderson is going to make a real difference for us this year is to hope for the unlikely. And that’s fine, but let’s just not act like we can count on him to help us win a title in his rookie year. It’s simply not realistic.

    “By my standards, Anderson has no more to prove to anyone than John Wall, Blake Griffin or any other rookie.”

    Actually, based on an analysis of the past dozen drafts, number one picks have a much higher likelihood than those drafted outside the top five of going on to having productive & long-term NBA careers.

    “I refuse to believe the Spurs have NO chance to win.”

    I don’t think that anyone on this blog is claiming that the Spurs have NO chance to win a title this year, and that includes the author of the main post.

    ” Tim is playing fewer mins but producing at the same rate as any year before.”

    Actually he’s not producing at the same rate, particularly on the defensive end (the very area that we are hurting the most). For example, his pick & roll defense is nowhere near as good, and he’s now averaging about a full bpg. less than he did in his prime. Plus, he’s not as consistent of a “horse” on the offensive end, and rarely draws double-teams compared to the past. Timmy is still very good, but we have to face that he’s clearly in decline.

    “…..I am looking at the youngest team the Spurs have had in years.”

    Sure, we’re younger, but other than Blair, Hill, & Splitter do we have any young guys that are going to earn some regular minutes in the rotation? I think that is still a big question-mark, and until it’s answered our so-called “youth” movement is less meaningful than it might appear on the surface.

    “We are deeper with better players than I have ever seen the Spurs have in the past.”

    You appear to be undervaluing all the key players that we had on this team during our championship years (and overvaluing some of our players we have now). Plus, our biggest impact player (TD) is clearly not the same dominant all-around player that he was during our championship years. This team is not better one through ten than any of our title teams, and it probably never will be.