Friday, June 15, 2007

King James, meet a real dynasty

Finals sweep.

Four championships in nine years.

Three in the last five.

And yet some would have you believe this team is not a dynasty?

I'm not sure what these people want. Consecutive titles, maybe? Yeah, that would be nice, but there is something to be said for consistently getting it done over a larger span of time. Besides, it's not like they stunk the years they didn't win--these past nine years also yielded six division titles.

Maybe they want scoreboard domination. Yeah, the Spurs win a lot of close games. Keyword in that sentence? Win.

I think what people are really looking for is flash. The Suns are NBA darlings because they play exciting, up tempo basketball. Unfortunately, this has produced no titles. Before them, the Mavs were flash. No titles. Go back further to Sactown. No titles.

What is this team's weakness? Do they have one? They play lockdown defense. They are aggressive on offense. They have too many weapons to focus on one player. Duncan is perhaps the best player of the past ten years, Parker has turned into a top five point guard, and the rest of the roster plays their roles to perfection. In addition, they draft smart, despite consistently picking at the end of the first round.

Avery Johnson has attempted to imitate San Antonio's defense in Dallas and done so fairly successfully. But after watching the playoffs, I'm convinced he's copied the wrong aspect of the Spurs game. He should be installing their offense. Every player on this team drives to the basket. They attack. They are relentless, they are strong, and when they get bumped, they don't resort to jump shots. What a concept.

Say what you want. Say they aren't a dynasty.

They'll just keep sizing rings.


Knotwurth Mentioning said...

Heh, interesting to hear about defensive dynasties in the NBA. We're all about that in the NHL, but the fact that basketball has it too strikes me as amusing. Basketball always seems so very offensive that the summation of my emotions was best stated by a fellow blogger when he said "You may as well give each team 100 points and play 2 minutes to decide who wins."

Won't become a basketball fan, but I still have to say the fact that there are defensive dynasties in the NBA makes me feel a bit more kindly towards the league, even if letting the other team score 80 points is considered "defense!" ;)

Kevin Hayward said...

Nice post, Chris.

You're right, it's pretty indisputable that the Spurs are this generation's NBA dynasty. You're also right that there aren't many fans outside of Texas that enjoy watching the dynasty grow, and I would argue that the Spurs' success may be detrimental to the future of the game.

In recent years, the NBA has been built on the premise that it needs slashers and scorers, not guys who get their butts down and play defense. That's so pase, you know? But that's exactly what the Spurs are, and that's exactly what wins champions.

So what you have is a bunch of fans rooting for the LeBrons, Kobes, and Allen Iversons of the world, and very few rooting for TEAMS like San Antonio. As a result, you have a lot of disappointed basketball fans who tune out the NBA finals.

Chris said...

I think that is the misconception about San Antonio, Kevin. No, they don't have a Kobe/Lebron/Iverson type who could put up 40 (or 80!) in a game, but they do have three or four guys who can routinely put up 20, which is even more devastating. Notice how when a guy goes for a big number, his team usually loses? Not so when you have a few solid and steady guys.
And they might not be the flashy slashers and scorers that those other guys are, but they do consistently take it to the rim. They are absolutely relentless.
BTW Kevin, I've been waiting for your Northeast take on the NBA lottery. Surely you have some thoughts to share on Oden and Durant.

Anonymous said...

Now where was the NBA when Detroit, New York and other eastern division teams where knocking the poor west on their butts and winning championships with thuggery defense. Now the Spurs knock you on your back side and play belly-to-belly or in your pants defense and the poor East complains. I'd rather see fewer people getting knocked down, but it isn't going to happen as long as you have to knock people down to get fouls called, (see Suns and Spurs among others) and people believe that officials decide games when they blow a whistle and don't decide games when they don't blow a whistle.

Chris said...

Knotwurth, I've been thinking about your 80 point defense comment. Here's what I came up with.
1) Imagine that goals in hockey were worth two points, and goals from beyond the face-off circles were worth three.
2) Now imagine there was no goalie.
Would that change your perception of good defense a bit?