The end of the line?

by

Zach Randolph likes to beat the drum like war.

For the fourth consecutive season the San Antonio Spurs lay among the conquered, and for a third consecutive season they lay among the ravaged and conquered.

When it comes down like this, what does one say? The Memphis Grizzlies were the better team. Lionel Hollins was the better coach. Zach Randolph was other-worldly. It sounds so canned, but there it is, and it’s true. The Spurs lost. There is no asterisk.

The Spurs have lost other playoff battles, but this one tastes different. Some questions suck the oxygen out of the room, and certainly tonight’s question does. Have the Spurs lost or have the Spurs finished?

Gregg Popovich is fond of reminding people that having a great record is not necessarily indicative of having a great team. Who could doubt him? I’d like to add that having young players is not necessarily the same thing as having a young team.

The Spurs are old warriors, and tonight they were more old than warrior, though they were very much warriors.  No one doubts their effort. After Memphis jumped on them in the first quarter, the Spurs didn’t fold. They kept coming back, but they could never come back all the way.

And that’s really the question we’ll have to spend the weekend considering: have the Spurs drifted too far from the champions circle to make it back again? Or, put more precisely, have these Spurs drifted to far from center?

The Spurs are well-positioned to remain competitive, even in the tight Western Conference. They’ve managed their cap well, they have useful young pieces, trade options, and their management is particularly skilled at making the most of free agency and the draft. But is anyone in San Antonio — whether fans, players or personnel — eager to play the role of playoff fodder? We’re all too spoiled for that.

Someone in the Spurs organization once told me the Spurs would be happy to win a couple championships every decade. I scoffed. How awesome would that be? There are only a few teams in all of sports who would set such lofty aspirations. But those are the standards the Spurs have set for themselves, and those are the standards we’ll hold them to. How then should the Spurs go about the business of their first championship this decade?

Perhaps it’s time to turn the page on the last decade and begin thinking more earnestly about the current one.

  • Rob

    Until the new cba is done…there is nothing any team can do to plan on improving.

    It’s so early with this heartbreak. Time is needed to heal. But I think even the most loyal fan to the past must be wondering what is going to happen next.

    An old era has been issued out. A new era is full of questions and concerns. Duncan can no longer be the focal point. Parker is not the future. All things Spurs up to Friday the 29th of April 2011 is over.

    Time for a change. Drastic might be the only way.

  • Hassan

    While I agree with you a lot of times but we had no choice but to bring TP back as we would have lost him for nothing & there is nobody we could get that would have even done what he CAN do (not counting the difficiencies) so I say he can stay unless we can get Deron Williams, Chris Paul or Rondo….

    As for RJ…HE opted out of the 15mill contrac(maybe with SA promising to bring him back..which they should have NOT done)…and should have went after an Anthony Parker(CLE), Dorell Wright (free agent), Danny Green(early) or Kyle Korver…

  • Hassan

    While I agree with you a lot of times but we had no choice but to bring TP back as we would have lost him for nothing & there is nobody we could get that would have even done what he CAN do (not counting the difficiencies) so I say he can stay unless we can get Deron Williams, Chris Paul or Rondo….

    As for RJ…HE opted out of the 15mill contrac(maybe with SA promising to bring him back..which they should have NOT done)…and should have went after an Anthony Parker(CLE), Dorell Wright (free agent), Danny Green(early) or Kyle Korver…

  • Hassan

    Al Jefferson is a seave on defense, all STAT show he is the worst offensive PF of all time even worse than Bonner if you could beleive that…. STAY away Al Jefferson…. now I agree we should have gone afer Jason Thompson or even Carl Landry….

  • Hassan

    TD salary next year is 21.3 million not 15 million….

  • Titletown99030507d

    It is obvious at this point next season Blair will sit all season if Bonner is still on the team because TS is getting his minutes especially with a healthy summer and pre season he’ll demand his own minutes. Just you wait and see TDBE. To give Blair any justice he needs to be traded so that he can be in the right position on another team. It’s not his fault Pop messed with this poor guy like this. I’ll take a trade for Blair to battle for RJ’s position.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Don’t be to sure of yourself your of the minority. Besides he would have brought and done more for this team if he’d played from the start of game 1. Fact. Blair didn’t do squat that’s why his ass sat the last two.

  • hassan

    Well…here is to your excuse-finding philosophy MEM 114 – OKC 101 game 1 of west semi-finals….
    Spurs were simply out played in this series…. plain & simple….

  • Titletown99030507d

    Splitter will show you and the few naysayers out there otherwise come summer and pre season. He knows now it’s his time coming. He has better post moves than Blair and that’s a fact. Did you watch any games?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Will will never have an outside game. He hasn’t in two years and if it hasn’t come yet then don’t expect it from him any time soon. I’d trade Blair now for someone to battle RJ’s position. Stop messing around with something that isn’t going to bring you any more than what you’ve seen. On the other hand TS has a lot coming. I can’t wait.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Will will never have an outside game. He hasn’t in two years and if it hasn’t come yet then don’t expect it from him any time soon. I’d trade Blair now for someone to battle RJ’s position. Stop messing around with something that isn’t going to bring you any more than what you’ve seen. On the other hand TS has a lot coming. I can’t wait.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Yeah Timmy needs to redo his contract if he really cares about winning again. Dwight, Splitter, Timmy. Yeah that’s the ticket.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Yeah Timmy needs to redo his contract if he really cares about winning again. Dwight, Splitter, Timmy. Yeah that’s the ticket.

  • Hassan

    Now I agree on this… POP should have played Danny Green/Novak(both 6-6 or more) about
    10-12 mins as back up SF since we did not have JA and that would have affected Sam Young & battier from shooting over manu & Hill.

    I mean if you think of it the Memphis Grizzlies shot 47.5% for this series(easily the best in the playoffs this year….funny that it happens against the best shooting team this year, but clearly they have a game plan to reduce our % and close out on the shooters. BUT we also helped by playing mediocre defense too as we allowed an average shooting team to shoot 47.5% in playoffs… that number may even loose a game in the regular season let alone the playoffs..

  • Titletown99030507d

    I’m sure there’s a young SF who can shoot and can battle RJ for his position. C’mon Buford and Pop find one up your sleeve. How about trading RJ and Blair for Danny Granger. I’ll take it.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Blair goes.

  • Hassan

    of wow..what a dreamer… how about trading manu for Kobe or wade and TP for rose of CP3…..

  • Titletown99030507d

    I agree. Night in and night out.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Pop needs to stop drinking the cheap wine. C’mon Pop bust open the good wine and start making good decisions for next season.

  • Titletown99030507d

    TD needs to opt out because he’s too old to command that kind of money. He’s done his part for the last 12 years now give the team some breathing room and let them get real players in free agency. The hundreds of owners that they have should reach deep in there pockets and really show this town they want to win and not win on scraps.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Package RJ, Hill, and Balir, Bonner, the kitchen sink whatever it takes and let Timmy opt out and redo his contract and go after Dwight. If the numbers are there. That’s a big if now.

  • Titletown99030507d

    BLOW THE SHIT UP!

  • Titletown99030507d

    In regards to Richards, lots of potential but watching him lately (last week) he has a nice fluid jumper but is so not ready to battle people like Gasols, Dwight, and those guys. I wish he was. And if its for 5 – 8 minutes a game than what we’ll have is another Blair on our team taking up space. Let him simmer in the D-league until Timmy leaves.

  • Titletown99030507d

    He won’t even be down here next season.

  • Sam

    How is it dreaming? Yes genius because trading tony parker to Atlanta whos needed a solid pg for years for josh smith and Jeff teague is exactly the same as trading parker for Chris Paul. The only thing out of reach is getting Dwight Howard which obviously won’t happen. Crazier things have happened.

  • Titletown99030507d

    George is not a pt guard and it shows. He can’t even feed Splitter bolting to the basket. He’s just an athletic player who happens to have a shot. He can’t direct the team for nothing. I’ll take Tony over Hill any day. People are crazy to even think that. Parker is so unappreciated by some of these fickle fans. If these fickle fans are willing to stick with Timmy at his old age than it’s a no brainer to keep TP over Hill.

  • Titletown99030507d

    And who will be your pt guard?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Then why trade him if we get someone just as good? It’s moote. Besides he already knows the system. We don’t want to go down that road again do we?

  • Titletown99030507d

    If Blair had a reliable outside shot than he’s gold.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Timmy’s done. I wouldn’t want to trade him or tell him to leave but if he decides to go I won’t cry about it.

  • Titletown99030507d

    They sure look like they ran out steam. Started like a month before the season ended. Rats!

  • Titletown99030507d

    Hill, Blair, Bonner,.

  • Titletown99030507d

    RJ too.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Hold it right there. Wrong. If Bonner had bogart all the minutes that he got Tony wouldn’t have been in the position to win these games night in and night all by himself. He out of all the ones that played with exception of Splitter hustled his ass off more than others. He looked like he wanted to win more than the others just giving up. Pretty vocal too at Manu. Yes Manu makes mistakes.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Boo hoo hoo. Ok I’ll remind you next season when Splitter has a rare difficult game against a stronger more experieneced player going up against him. Bullshit! Than Splitter gets a free pass in those instances? You won’t be too lenient on Splitter next season this I know.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Apart from blaming TP for the series how about pointing the finger at Pop for using up precious minutes on Bonner where some other athlete that can shoot on a consistent basis could have been on the court scoring and contributing. Don’t blame TP for this it’s Pop’s rotations in the first 3 games is that fucked up this series.

  • Titletown99030507d

    While your at it package in Blair to seal the deal. We don’t need him. He’s just going to sit next season if Bonner is still on the team.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Add Blair to the list.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Hill, Bonner, Blair for Granger

  • Titletown99030507d

    He’s too old. It would suck if he decide to decline when he gets here. Atleast Jefferson is younger. But doesn’t mean still want him.

  • Titletown99030507d

    And that’s what it is a dream.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Agree CP3 or nothing. Wht’s the point?

  • Lvmainman

    Was it dreaming that the Lakers got Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown??

    I can make the case that the Spurs trade Parker, Jefferson, Blair for Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor.
    1) Chris Paul is leaving next year – like Carmelo Anthony was
    2) Spurs ex-coach Monty Williams will be agreeable
    3) David Stern might approve the deal
    4) Parker is under contract for the next 3 years
    5) Jefferson can take Bellini’s spot and guard Artest better
    6) Okafor won’t be missed that much with Aaron Gray on the team
    7) Chris Paul as a Spur, Duncan a free agent creating cap space, could entice a Dwight Howard to the Spurs in 2012!! Robinson, Duncan, Howard??
    Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Manu Ginobili, & Tim Duncan off the bench in 2012

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3nllxsa

  • DorieStreet

    Before the wheeling and dealing starts—-is this transition going to work with Pop still at the helm?
    Are he and RC going to collaborate on not only what to do (such as acquire expiring contracts, or go real young through draft & young FAs) to revamp the roster? And if they decide to do the latter, is Pop going to give it his all-starting this summer and through the next 4-5 seasons—to make the change as smooth and quickly as possible? Fans, please weigh in on this one…..

  • Junierizzle

    I agree. SPLITTER still hasn’t been given a fair shot. And the dude does have some post moves. Just because your shot doesn’t fall doesn’t mean you don’t have post moves.
    It’s up to him now to take it from BLAIR like BLAIR took it from him.

  • Junierizzle

    I’m not blaming it on TP. You can pretty much blame it on everyone starting with POP. I’m just saying that TP wasn’t right. For whatever reason.

    I’m not on the Trade TP wagon. I say keep him.

  • Junierizzle

    No one would come to San Antonio. They got TD by winning the Lottery. TP and MANU were drafted.

  • Junierizzle

    I don’t think they would give up GRANGER for that.

  • Dr. Who

    “TradeTP” is back! Hard to hide when he bashes both TP and McDyess too. Westbrook didn’t look like he was having much luck out there against the Griz either. His final
    Stat line might not be bad but he uncharacteristically missed his finishes at the rim ala TP. I think we need to make some obvious changes to the team, however we should all realize this Grizz team is for real. Gasol ate up okc today.

  • Jimbo

    Damn right. That’s a mean team that Memphis has. I don’t think it has ever happened in NBA history that an inexperienced team has won the title, but it would not surprise me if Memphis wins it all this year. The only thing they don’t do well is shoot from long range, and Randolph’s D is weak. Other than that, that team has everything you want in playoff ball.