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NBAPretty Much Screwed

Pretty Much Screwed: The 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs

tim duncan

Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our definitive guide to the upcoming NBA season. This team-by-team preview details why it’s probably not your favorite team’s year. Today: We’ll talk about the Spurs, who are still basically your father’s Spurs.

By most accounts, the window of opportunity had already closed on San Antonio last year. You could never count out a team led by Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich, but in the face of flashier, younger teams like the Thunder and Grizzlies and Clippers, the Spurs seemed doomed to another season of great regular season success and postseason failure.

Then, whether you want to call it luck or skill or a combination thereof, the waters parted for the Spurs as they not only made their way to the NBA Finals, but came within seconds of closing it out. If the ball bounces a slightly different way, or Ray Allen doesn’t hit the most clutch shot in Finals history, we’re having a much different conversation this offseason — nay, for the rest of our NBA-watching lives. But the ball bounced, and the shot fell, and the Spurs were unable to stave off Miami’s momentum. And so it was, in fact, the same old story: great regular season success, postseason failure.

Nothing perhaps sums up the missed opportunity like this video (Spurs fans, avert your eyes):

The greatest power forward ever, in Game 7, with Shane Battier on him, blowing a layup? The clang of the ball off the rim doubled as the sound of a window slamming firmly shut. Tim Duncan is an all-time great player, but even he said that miss will always haunt him. It killed the comeback, and sealed the Spurs fate.

Some of you will say that last year was last year and this year is this year, and the Spurs showed they still have some left in the tank, and they’ve got some young pieces that will take the next step this season and so on.

No, guys. Last year was their best chance for a title in years, and they choked.

While several Western Conference teams made major upgrades this offseason, the Spurs pretty much stood pat. The Rockets grabbed Dwight Howard; the Nuggets snagged Andre Iguodala; the Clippers got Doc Rivers; even the Mavericks upgraded their backcourt.

The Spurs signed Marco Belinelli. Cool.

Anyone who saw Manu Ginobili during (most of) that Finals series knows his best days are way behind him. Tony Parker is also on the wrong side of 30 and looked gassed in Games 6 and 7. Tim Duncan… well, see the video above.

The Spurs should have started the Kawhi Leonard era this year and committed themselves to making him a vital part of their game plan, instead of just “guard LeBron” and “be the fourth option.” Instead, they’re hoping to catch magic in a bottle one more time, and that when the time comes, Duncan won’t miss that bunny again.

So much of success in sports is based on luck, and the Spurs were extremely lucky to be in that position last year. It won’t happen again. The league is too strong. Sorry guys.

Three things to know about the Spurs:

1. They’ve only thrown five alley-oops in the last two seasons. That’s last in the league and it isn’t even close: next-to-last are the Mavs with 30.
2. Manu Ginobili’s new contract was stolen in Buenos Aires after the intern delivering it was shit on by a bird.
3. At 18 years with the Spurs, Popovich is currently the longest tenured coach in America’s four major sports.

Actual season prediction: 56-26, third in the West, second round exit.

  • SuckItEric

    Hmmm the greatest team in sport history (stat wise ) is all luck? Men and women lie number don’t.. spurs have been old since tim Duncan was a rookie. Media is monkey see monkey do. One spur hater says, “they are old” then all y’all creative writers write the same stuff. Houston added drama. Clippers added a coach lol. Mavs went from garbage to trash. Andre solid move adding an “OLDER VET” HMM maybe because the young g uys couldn’t last season.. you follow me?

  • Jack3dtheripper

    These analyses are written to draw ire and for humor, but alas, a rebuttal of a lifelong Spurs homer: Fact is, The Spurs are still the most complete team in the NBA on paper, most definitely in the Western Conference.
    What this article fails to do is highlight the fact that luck is a major part of EVERY playoff series. The only luck that happened to SA is that Westbrook got injured, but let’s not forget that SA’s loss to OKC in the West Finals was when Danny Green was experiencing his 1st season as a D-league call up & Leonard was a frickin’ rookie. We were also mediocre at defense then & dead last @ protecting the perimeter 3. Last season we were at the top in the former and in the top 5-7 in the latter. Also, I’m pretty sure the guy who gave us fits resided in Houston, plus OKC has Kendrick Freaking Perkins, so….yeah, there’s that.

    Miami had far more luck than SA….lucky to play the freaking Bucks in the 1st round, Bulls’ bench in the 2nd, & their 1st real opponent was a Granger-less Pacers in the East Finals, and, as you covered, a helluva shot & bounces their way.

    The reality is every other team in the West is a contender with a fatal flaw. Clippers have zero post defense, until The Rockets trade Asik, their spacing issues will be comical, Memphis’ offense is anemic at times, & Golden State’s defense is still guilty until proven innocent. Hell, I’ll concede GS looks fairly complete, but they have bigger health issues than the ‘old’ Spurs.

    So assuming we stay healthy, we should be poised as a top contender come postseason.

    Also, Parker is 31, which, by all accounts, is the right side of 30. You can thank Bogut for bashing his hamstring last postseason (more luck your way, Heat!).

  • Anonymous

    To quote Lee Corso….’Not so fast.’ I believe the Spurs are on an 11 game winning streek and sit atop the league at 13-1 and are beating their opponents by double digits.

    And here you were, hoping nobody would find this. Don’t worry, I’ll bookmark it for you.

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