Monday, April 12, 2010

San Antonio Sunset

For the past decade, the San Antonio Spurs have been one of the NBA’s premier franchises, posting ten consecutive 50-win seasons, while adding four championship banners to the rafters of the AT&T Center.  They have been a p erennial power in the Western Conference, while their “big three” (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili) have accumulated accolades, both ispursn the NBA and internationally, at an astonishing rate.  Duncan, of course, is widely considered as one of the best to ever ball, while Parker and Ginobili are hailed as international ambassadors to the game.  During San Antonio’s decade of dominance the team h as been run exquisitely by mastermind Gregg Popovich, who along with Duncan, will be a unanimous choice to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

During this ultra-successful stint it sometimes seemed as though the Spurs could slip through the regular season; Doing enough to secure a spot in the playoffs, but not notching a top seed in the Conference.  This tactic allowed them to rest key players, while riding a traditionally deep team into the playoff push, where the well-rested team would thrive.  This under-the-radar approach has served the Spurs well, as it has certainly helped spur some of  their deep playoff runs, as Popovich himself has often acknowledged the correlation between rest and playoff performance.  However age and injury may have finally caught up with San Antonio, as they have struggled with seeding all season, and with it winding down find themselves in a tight race to avoid the eighth spot and potential first round matchup with the powerful Lakers; a team that Popovich would admittingly like to avoid early. 

For a team almost three years removed from its last title run, this year’s playoffs appear to be a pivotal point.  The Spurs have shown that they can sduncan and poptill compete with anyone on a given night, and you can never count out a Duncan/Popovich-lead team.  The main question surrounding the Spurs heading into the NBA’s second season is if the can conjure up consistent success.  Does the aging team have enough left in the tank to fuel another deep playoff run in a fierce Western Conference?  With injuries exposing an unfamiliar lack of depth and the aging of the nucleus, one has to wonder how much longer this Spurs success streak can last.

The Spurs certainly have enough talent to vie for a title,as the trio of Duncan-Parker-Ginobili is enough to give any contender trouble.  Another early exit however, would not fit well in San Antonio and may be a cause for future concern, a feeling the success-spoiled Spurs fans are not accustomed to.  But until then, do not count the Spurs out.  Remember: slow and steady wins the race. 


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