On predictions and process

by

This is right about the time of year where I get the same question a lot, especially given how closely I follow the Spurs. How do you think San Antonio is going to do this year? I’ve been asked it plenty over the last few weeks and expect it much more going forward. I don’t know how much people actually like my response, but I think it’s pretty accurate.

Same. They’re gonna win 50+ games and make the playoffs. Then we’ll see what happens.

That’s the honest to goodness truth. It’s not sexy, that’s for sure. There are no bold proclamations, just what I think is true, which I hope is what you expect from me.

We’re so far along in this era of Spurs basketball that we can predict the future. As long as there are no catastrophic injuries to Tim Duncan or Tony Parker during the regular season, the Spurs will be in the same position they always are. (Can we agree that Manu Ginobili will get hurt again? It’s not matter of if, but when; last year the Spurs were fortunate that he got his injury out of the way early in the season.)

Some might find this boring. Maybe as a casual fan, it is. On average, the Spurs are going to win two out of every three games. What’s the point of tuning in to every telecast? If you’re reading this site, though, chances are you aren’t a casual fan.

For me, it’s great. I don’t have to care about the macro of the season, like whether or not they’re going to make the playoffs, and can instead focus on the process. I can devote my time and attention to watching how the Spurs defend the pick-and-roll against the Thunder, instead of tracking what scoring run San Antonio is on that particular game. I want to focus on Manu Ginobili doing Manu Ginobili things when healthy, marvel at Tim Duncan’s footwork in the post and track how Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green develop as individual and team defenders.

The process will dictate how the Spurs fare in the post season far more than playoff seeding. And once the playoffs start, that’s when things become unpredictable.

  • http://twitter.com/ifaerman Ivan Faerman

    Short, on point. I agree, not only on the prediction, but on the idea of enjoying the season as it goes for the sake of good basketball.

    If there is something we, Spurs fans, must learn from the past two seasons is that there is only one Champion in the end. I will argue with anyone that the Spurs were the best team during the regular season last year and the previous, but then in the playoffs… Well, you put it best. That’s when things become unpredictable.

  • Marcus

    So Hollinger recently predicted the Spurs to finish atop the West. Who do you see making the #8 seed?

  • http://twitter.com/slapdoghoops Jeffrey Thompson

    I guess that as long as the Spurs are winning, it does not really matter. Sure, they’ll make the playoffs, but in terms of winning a championship, that door has all but closed. It was proven last season when the Spurs lost a 2-1 game lead in the Conference Finals to the OKC Thunder and missed the Finals yet again. It was too bad though, I think the Spurs in the finals would have made for a more interesting series than that Thunder/heat one last season.

  • ThatBigGuy

    My dad attended the open scrimmage during training camp. I asked him what he thought about different players (De Colo is “long and rangy”, Mills is a “waterbug”), and then asked him how the team as a whole looked and how he thought we’d do.

    His response: “Nothing’s changed, we look good.”

    Sometimes I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, minus the suicide attempts and “I’ve Got You Babe.”

  • Tyler

    Closed might be an overstatement. That door is still cracked for this team I think. After all, we were 2 wins (up 2-0 on OKC btw) from the Finals, and 6 wins from another ring.

    You never know – a few more made plays from the role players, an injury to another team, a move by the Spurs’ FO, and it wouldn’t shock me to see this team go back to the Finals.

  • Riggies

    The Spurs will need more out of Green, Leonard, and Diaw to compete, let alone beat the Thunder, Lakers, Heat or even the Clippers (with their new additions) in a best out of seven.

    As far as the regular season goes…..I agree with everything written above.

  • Graham

    How many other teams would kill for this kind of consistency I wonder.

  • Graham

    Definitely. Maybe even the simple act of getting all our new players (both last years midseason acquisitions and the ever promising Kawhi) a full offseason in the program will be that kick we need.

  • Graham

    Shooting from the Hip I’d say either the Jazz again, the Twolves, Warriors or Mavs even.

  • http://twitter.com/FromAtothaZ Adrian Zapata

    On the money.

    If Leonard can grow defensively to guard Durant/Kobe & can grab 8 RPG we will have a shot

  • Titletown99030507d

    I guess many teams would be happy winning lots of regular season games. Some fans love to be there for the regular season, some are there for the playoffs only, and some are there for both. For me the playoffs are the only thing that matters.

  • Titletown99030507d

    A move from the FO is really what was needed last year. And here we are again the same. Take it from there.

  • Bry

    What are you talking about? The door is ‘proven’ closed? Every year these same silly comments. The Spurs were up 2-0 on OKC, had a historic streak going, had a very good record against OKC over the past three years, and basically every single commentator out there was predicting the Spurs would will the series. That’s with Ginobili missing half the season, TJ Ford retiring abruptly, two new players (one a starter) getting integrated into the team late in the season, and a 20-year-old starting at small forward. I really do think people on this blog keep predicting that the Spurs’ ‘window is closed’ despite being comically wrong about it year after year, because they just desperately want to act like they cleverly figured something out. Go to Vegas and put your money down on the Spurs not winning 50 games, or them getting beaten in the first round if it is so ‘proven’ that their window is closed. It’s very strange how a team that is so obviously washed up keeps getting the top seed in the Western conference and had an at times dominant and historic season that ended in game 6 of WCF just a few months ago.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I don’t see us any better than the 3rd seed. But that’s not to say it’s a bad thing.