Let's take a look at their career accomplishments so far, starting with:
Kobe's case: Won four titles in the last decade (three with Shaq). More importantly, he finally won his first title without Shaq last season and was the league MVP a year before that.
He is the player most often compared to Michael Jordan(arguably the Greatest Of All Time). Also, the Lakers might be favored to repeat this year simply because Kobe is still the Laker's leader and they are the defending champs.
Shaq's case: Won his first three titles with Kobe, then won another in 2006 with D-Wade in Miami. It could be also argued that he is the most dominant big man during his prime. He is already considered one of 50 Greatest.
However, the knock on Shaq is that he demands a trade (or makes a reason for him to be traded) when things don't go his way. First, when the Lakers lost in the 2004 Finals to the Detroit Pistons. Then when Miami has one of the worst season in franchise history and then lastly when the Phoenix Suns didn't make it to the playoffs last season.
Most people might admire him because of his entertaining personality and because of his longevity. I mean the guy has been in the league for 17 years and is still playing decent basketball.
Timmy's case: Won four championships, (three titles in the past decade) all with the Spurs and with different supporting cast around him. Arguably the best power forward to ever play the game.
It's a mystery why this guy has never won a Defensive Player of the Year award despite being named to the All-Defensive honors since he entered the league.
Also, It is important to note that the Spurs have never missed the playoffs since he entered the league and haven't lost an NBA Finals series. That can't be said to either Shaq or Kobe.
So who is the Player of the Decade? It seemed pretty even right? These guys have been so dominant that it's as if they just need to take turns to win the title.
If you guys can't decide clearly, maybe what happens this season will help us determine who is really the best. Whoever gets first to title number five might seal it. I know it's a new decade but it only shows that these players have been so good for a long period of time.
And the great thing about it? These guys have a great chance of being right there in the mix of winning yet another crown.
By Lance Fell
I have a Spurs tattoo on my upper left shoulder. And it is perhaps my favorite tattoo. And whenever someone sees it, they always say one of two things:
1.“Dude, you really love the Spurs.” Or they say…
2.“It’s Just a basketball team.”
To the first, I reply with a simple yes. Yes, I love my Spurs. But the second statement has no simple answer, because if you’re from San Antonio, then you know the Spurs are more than a basketball team. They are more than 82 games a season. They are more than the four championship banners hanging in the rafters of the AT&T Center. The Spurs are a part of our community, and also a part of our culture.
It’s hard to describe exactly how much the Spurs mean to San Antonio. It’s really something that has to be seen with your own eyes. Almost every car or truck has a Spurs sticker or emblem. And no matter what bar or restaurant you walk into here in San Antonio, I guarantee you’ll see multiple people in Spurs gear. We Spurs fans are proud fans and have an undying loyalty to the Silver and Black, a loyalty that will never be broken. Let me give you an example of how loyal Spurs fans are.
My friend Matt and I went downtown a couple nights ago to watch the end of the Spurs-Knicks game. While venturing through the Riverwalk, Matt ran across a longtime friend and another guy he was with. So we all walked into the next bar we saw and sat right in front of the television. There were Duncan and Ginobili jerseys all around us, and I was beginning to feel right at home when all of a sudden the guy that Matt knew said something that shocked and appalled me.
He said, “I hate the Spurs.” I quickly turned my head, said a couple profane words, and proceeded to ask this guy where he was from. And of course he said the one thing that Spurs fans hate more than the 0.4 Dereck Fisher shot. He said, “I’m from Dallas.”
As soon as he said Dallas, I had to stop myself from gagging. I couldn’t believe I was sitting at a bar and drinking beers with a Mavericks fan, in my Wake Forest Tim Duncan jersey nonetheless. I felt dirty. I felt lied to. So I stood up, looked him straight in the eye and said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry Dwayne Wade has your ring. I’m sorry you have a seven footer who’s scared of posting up, and I’m sorry you’ll never hoist a championship banner in the American Airlines Arena, ever.”
Everybody’s jaw dropped. I looked at my friend Matt and he couldn’t believe it. And before Mavs guy could say anything, I walked out. No good-byes, no see you laters, nothing. And it felt good. Actually, it felt great. I walked around downtown that night with my shoulders back and my head high, because I felt like I had not only defended my beloved Spurs, but my beautiful city.
I hope whenever that Mavs fan thinks of San Antonio, he thinks of me, and how big of a jerk I probably came off as. But also of how loyal and dedicated I am to my team and my city. There are plenty of reasons why we Spurs fans are so loyal, but there’s one thing that separates the Spurs from all other professional franchises. Of the ten most populated cities in the country, San Antonio and San Jose are the only cities with one professional sports team. Besides the Alamo or the Valero Alamo Bowl, the Spurs are the only thing in our beloved city that gives us any kind of national media attention. The Spurs represent the nearly two and a half million people in San Antonio, and the surrounding areas, to the nation. And they do it with an elegance and grace that is unrivaled in modern sports.
Dallas has three professional sports teams; the Mavericks, the Cowboys and the Stars. I would go ahead and put the Rangers in Dallas too. But I want to look at the bigger two franchises, of course I’m talking about the Mavericks and the Cowboys. The Cowboys have been known as America’s team for almost four decades and they have had a great amount of success. But they have been riddled with off-the-field problems. They had problems during their dynasty in the 90s and more recently with Adam Jones. The Mavericks, on the other hand, didn’t start having great success until Internet mogul and billionaire Mark Cuban bought the team in 2000. Yet, Cuban has always been the center of some controversy. Whether he’s getting fined for making remarks towards the referees or Kenyon Martin’s mom, or getting charged with insider trading, the Mavericks owner is always in a media storm.
You never hear of the Spurs caught up in any scandal. Sure, Peter Holt might have had his drinking issues, but he’s battled his demons and came out on top. It’s not that the Spurs shy away from media attention, in fact there have been more nationally televised games this year than any I can remember.
They just focus on winning and if the media notices then so be it, and in San Antonio, we take great pride in that. We take pride in not being the Jailblazers, or having our superstars argue with our coaches. We take pride in the fact that our players aren’t seen on SportsCenter in handcuffs.
The people that make up the Spurs organization are strong people with good morals. People like David Robinson, who teaches at his local church and founded the Carver Academy. Strong military people like Gregg Popovich, who is a graduate of the Air Force Academy. And in San Antonio, a city with strong military roots, people like Popovich and Robinson personify what this great city is all about, and that’s accomplishing your goals while staying true to who you are, and who your family is. Family is always the most important thing in San Antonio.
San Antonio is the anti-Los Angeles, it’s the anti-Chicago, it’s the anti-New York. And it’s even the anti-Dallas. But that’s what’s so great about San Antonio; it’s a small town, yet, it’s a thriving metropolis steeped in rich heritage and an affluent culture that makes anything a part of its traditions, a part of San Antonio. That’s what the Spurs are, a tradition. Like fiesta every April, your niece’s quinceañera or tamales during Christmas, the Spurs are a tradition passed down from family to family, generation to generation. They are as much a part of San Antonio as the Alamo, the Missions and the Riverwalk. And they are also a part of us, our families and our friends.
It’s because we think of the Spurs as our family and friends that we have all of our emotions invested in them. With every win, we feel a kind of euphoria, and jubilation. We feel happiness and excitement. Yet with every defeat, we have a sudden feeling of hopelessness and desperation. Our emotions are so invested in their success, that one loss can turn the most joyous of events, say your grandmother’s birthday or your cousin’s graduation, into a dark and dismal occasion.
On a personal note, my son, Elliott, was born on June 14, 2007, the day the Spurs won their fourth NBA Championship. And while I was celebrating the birth of my son, the city of San Antonio was celebrating another title. Needless to say, it was the greatest day of my life. Every time I see my son’s face, I see my city celebrating, people running up and down Commerce Street waving their brooms. I don’t think there is an emotion that can really sum up how I feel when I think about June 14, 2007.
I love my Spurs. I love them like a Saturday afternoon at St.Marys University during Oyster Bake. I love them like a reggae festival at the Sunken Gardens. I love them like a weekend at the rodeo with George Strait and Alan Jackson. I love all those things because they bring excitement and joy to San Antonio. And that’s what the Spurs do. They bring an excitement and joy to San Antonio that is immeasurable. I love my Spurs, and no matter what happens, if they win 50 games, or lose 50, I will love and cherish them because they have given me some of the best moments of my life, and for that, I am forever grateful.
That’s why I have a Spurs tattoo.no comments
So much for the slow start, the Spurs are finally picking up the pace and have played well as of late. Granted, the schedule has been relatively kind for the Spurs but still we have to be a little excited to see that the team is finally coming along.
Tim Duncan is still his usual steady self, Richard Jefferson is looking more comfortable with the Spurs system, Manu is showing flashes of brilliance and Roger Mason Jr. has been a solid contributor off the bench.
And the good news is; this team is not yet close to being at their full strength. There is a lot of room for improvement.
Let’s take a look at some factors that contributed to the Spurs recent winning streak as well as some of the things they need to work on.
Doing it Right!
Field Goal Percentage: The Spurs have held down their opponent’s field goal percentage to 42.7% while they shot 51.9 % from the field in the last five games; an indication that the defense is picking up.
Rebounds: Averaging 42.6 rebounds per game while holding the other teams to 34.4 rebounds per game simply means that the Spurs are controlling the boards with authority.
Assists: Ball movement is an important aspect in a team game like basketball; it makes the offense harder to defend. It may also mean that the players have a lot of trust in each other. The Spurs are sharing the ball well averaging 27.6 against 16.8 by their opponents in the last five games.
Work on it!
Cut on turnovers: The Spurs should give more attention on taking care of the basketball, even when winning they are still careless. The Spurs are averaging 15.4 turnovers per ballgame compared to just 12.8 by their opponents.
Keep the winning mentality: While the Spurs current record is respectable (20-12) right now, they still struggle against teams in the upper echelon of the standings. Before the winning streak, they fell short against a badly depleted Portland lineup. And then after a good 5 game stretch; they lost a close one against the Raptors. That means the Spurs need to be more focused and start thinking that every game counts.
Consistency and staying healthy: Role players like McDyess, Bogans and George Hill have to consistently give that added boost the Spurs needed. Also Matt Bonner and Mike Finley should come back from injuries to provide more outside shooting.
Free throw shooting: The Spurs even in the past have never been known to be a good free throw shooting team; but it will be crucial for them to turn the corner this season. Good free throw shooting will come in handy especially in the playoffs. And just a reminder, the Spurs lost the last game against the Raptors because of poor shooting from the foul line.
Still, it's good to see the Spurs playing better basketball after an early season struggle. They are now near the top of the standings in the West and the upcoming games against the Mavs and the Lakers will tell us more about the teams' character.
What do you guys think? Are the Spurs finally jelling as a team and keep with their winning ways? Or are they just taking advantage of an easy schedule and then continue to struggle against quality opponents? Give us your thoughts in the comments.
Project Spurs will be invading Rumi Lounge in San Antonio this weekend for our next live Spurscast this Saturday, January 9.
What's different about this live show is that you can actually see Michael and Jeff live and have a chance to win some amazing prizes that will be given out just to our live audience at Rumi Lounge.
We'll have a two-hour show starting at 5:30 p.m. and going until 7:30 p.m. We'll discuss the Spurs vs. Mavs game, the latest Spurs news, take calls and live interviews from the audience and have trivia and contests for the giveaways, which include:
• 2 lower level Spurs tickets and a parking pass
• 1 Project Spurs Ultimate Fan Guide
• 1 Spurs poster
Who knows, maybe we'll think about giving out a few other prizes as well, but you'll have to show up to win them.
After the show is wrapped up, we'll have an after party with some of our closest friends and loyal Project Spurs/Spurscast fans. We will have a reserved space and the party will have a New York/Spurs theme since Jeff will be heading back to New York a few days later.
Worried about missing the Cowboys game? Rumi Lounge will have several HDTVs set up throughout the lounge with the game on.
Jeff and I went to the lounge yesterday and we came away loving the great space, comfortable seating, friendly staff and they also have a gourmet grill at non-gourmet prices.
But if you are out of state or even out of country, we'll still have the live streaming player right here on Project Spurs.
Rumi Lounge is located at 12730 NW Military Hwy, San Antonio, TX 78231.
Earlier today, Jeff Garcia and I joined News 4 WOAI's Humberto Cervera and Kyle Boenitz to talk Spurs, Cowbys and Longhorns for the WOAI Sports Roundtable.
This was Jeff's second time on the Roundtable and was a pro. He gave me tips and told me what to look out for. As for me, it was my first time and though I did have the butterflies, it felt just like a podcast. Except with three cameras in my face and all of San Antonio watching. Yeah! No Pressure.
Also we plugged the epic live show Project Spurs/Spurscast is hosting this Saturday beginning at 6 PM at Rumi Lounge.
I was in the blue shirt and Jeff was in the grey blazer. Oh and don't hate on my awesome tennis shoes and ankle high socks.
Over the course of a player's career, things can change. Even from one year to the next their performance can fluctuate and our expectations can shift. We find the metamorphosis fascinating. We've had the chance to watch a few Spurs players progress through their first steps in the league until now. Some turned out how we expected. For better or worse, some didn't.
Over the next four weeks, we're going to bring you our thoughts on the “Then and Now” of their respective careers.
In the Summer of 2002, shortly before the FIBA World Championships, SLAM Magazine ran a piece on some of the best Euro hoops prospects. Among the list was a lanky Argentinian guard wrecking on squads all over the Italian league. Apparently the Spurs were holding onto his draft rights from the mother of all surreptitious draft moves - 57th overall in the second round of the '99 draft.
Instantly, I was intrigued.
Manu Ginobili came to the Spurs – came to the league – in a different way than most rookies. He was drafted, sure, but the state in which he was dropped into the league differed greatly from most other rookies. For lack of a better word, Manu was... done. He was finished from a skill development stand point. He had to overcome injury and varying style of play in the NBA his rookie season, but all the basic skills sets he possesses now were there from day one.
I'll never forget hunting down highlight reels of this guy from his days in Kinder Bologna or watching him play in the 2002 FIBA World Championships shortly after that.
It was like watching Pulp Fiction for the first time; or hearing Jimi Hendrix play guitar. It was mesmerizing – unorthodox and offbeat, but instantly definitive and unmistakably cool. He didn't have the uncertainty or lack of polish rookies do. No matter how odd the shot or unstable the dribble move, it always held together like frantic choreography. When Manu Ginobili moves, it's like he's bopping to a rhythm the rest of us can't hear.
When I think of how Manu has changed in the past seven years, a couple of things jump to mind – one major, one minor.
A.) Manu's a much better decision maker now.
B.) His shot is refined and more consistent.
We'll take that major issue first. When Manu first dropped in the league he was like this erratic ball of energy that affected everything, sometimes both positively and negatively. He canceled himself out sometimes.
I don't remember if coach Pop ever said it directly or if I was just inferring this from the tone of his interviews, but I always felt the sentiment was that when Manu was on the floor the Spurs just accepted that he was going to hurt the team on a handful of plays with poor decision making and they just hoped he managed to do more help than harm.
Ginobili had a tendency to be over aggressive. He tried to thread the needle a little too tight on some passes. He took shots that weren't there. He tried to drive into lanes that weren't open.
As he developed and got some tough love from Pop, his game matured. He was able to touch the ball without feeling the overwhelming compulsion to make a play. He was letting the game come to him. Now that he has a more methodical approach to reading opportunities on making plays, both offensively and defensively, it's like a switch that gets flipped at the right time.
Manu doesn't lunge at every pass to attempt a steal or drive at every crevasse in the defense. Coming off the bench became an important part of his development. It taught him to be aggressive while never wasting an opportunity, or his potentially limited minutes. He was forced to become efficient.
Second issue, while not as pronounced, is still a deciding factor in Manu's development.
His shooting has improved.
Not that his shot was ever severely lacking, but there's been a noticeable upswing in his 3PT and free-throw percentages in the past couple of seasons. This matters because the more consistent range from deep lets him score less physically strenuous points and makes him that much more effective in an inside-out scheme. Again, his 3PT shot was never bad, but as he continues into his 30s he's going to need it to get better and we can see that happening.
Manu's free-throw shooting is a bit more noticeable if you're tracking stats. Over the past four seasons Manu's FT% has always been above 85%, whereas in his first four seasons it barely managed to crack 80% twice. Over the past two seasons his percentage at the line is pushing ninety. Manu's game revolves around penetration, daring dives to the cup and drawing contact – the improved free-throw shooting makes him that much more dangerous.
Manu has always been a dangerous scorer, but now you can't even touch the guy without practically giving him two points. He's a top five free-throw shooter in the league and he's one of the most aggressive offensive players on the court, it's insane.
Where does Manu go from here?
Honestly, I don't know.
Manu is 32-years-old and we have to accept that he may have already peaked. There are things we could nit-pick at – getting stronger with his right hand, cultivating a mid-range game that's as deadly as his shot from range or his acrobatics at the rim, but these things are minute.
If you ask any basketball people (coaches, scouts – not analysts), Manu has a remarkably complete game, there are few weaknesses. The only real question is how productive and healthy Manu can stay in the next few years. The transition to shooter and easing off on the rough trips to the lane may be a sacrifice he has to make for the sake of longevity.
Truthfully, that's unlikely. Unfortunately Manu will likely leave the league like he came in – hot, bright and unexpectedly. Manu is a highly dynamic and entertaining player, but I don't think we'll get to enjoy seeing him play for more than three or four more seasons. His body won't hold up, not at the pace he's going.
Even if he's only at 80% for the rest of his career he'll still always be brilliant and spectacular. No matter when it stops one thing is for sure, Manu Ginobili's career will end like it started – like it unwound – not with a whimper but a bang.
In our last Spurscast episode of 2009, Jeff and I recap recent games, discuss the latest Spurs news and talk about some of the latest content on ProjectSpurs.com.
Thanks to everyone who voted for us in the Basketball Fiend Best NBA Podcast Awards.
Defense. The Spurs are built on this since the arrival of Gregg Popovich and during the Tim Duncan era. Spurs fans have seen the Spurs lead the league in defensive statistics, seen the defensive prowess of David Robinson and the intimidating duo of Duncan and Robinson aka "The Twin Towers."
But when Spurs fans think defense, especially on the perimeter, two names just scream out in Spurs franchise history: Alvin Robertson and Bruce Bowen.
Both known for lock-down perimeter defense but which one was the better defender? Let's look at the tale-of-the-tape and you decide.
Drafted by the Spurs with the 7th pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, he played with the Spurs from 1984-1989. He quickly became a pest for any perimeter player in the NBA. He was the master at steals during his time in San Antonio and throughout his NBA career. He led the NBA in steals in 1986, 1987, 1991. He also remains the NBA's steal-per-game leader at 2.71. He was the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year in 1986 and was selected second-team All-NBA the same year.
Also, during his time in the NBA he had to guard the likes of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Isiah Thomas. He held the record for most consecutive games with a steal until Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets, broke the record with 106 ironically against the Spurs.
Robertson, while with the Spurs, led the team three times in averaging more than three per game. He finished with 1,129 steals while in a Spurs uniform. Second all-time.
Points to consider:
- Alvin Robertson had 301 steals for San Antonio in 1985-86. Currently the most steals in one NBA season.
- He is only one of four players to ever record a quadruple-double and the only one to accomplish this feat with steals.
- Is a four-time all star in 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1991.
- Only Robertson and David Robinson won the Defensive Player of the Year as a Spur.
- Not only was Robertson great on the defensive end of the court, he also had a nice offensive game.
- Won the NBA's Most Improved Player Award in 1986.
How good was Robertson on defense? Look at this!
Signed by the Spurs in 2001, Bowen joined the team not known for his offensive skills but for his defense on the perimeter. In his first season with the Spurs he earned All-Defensive second team nomination. In his second season with the Spurs, Bowen was voted into the All-Defensive Second Team and won his first championship as a memberof the 2003 Spurs. He earned three straight All-Defensive First Team elections and was runner-up in 2005, 2006 and in 2007 for NBA Defensive Player of the Year. In the 2008, he earned his fifth straight nomination in the NBA All-Defensive First Team.
Bowen's defense on the perimeter established him as one of the best in the NBA. It was common for him to guard the likes of Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Ray Allen and Carmelo Anthony.
However, he also established a reputation as being a "dirty player." He kicked Wally Szczerbiak in the face during a game, had run-ins with Ray Allen, Amare Stoudamire, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, to name a few. He was also accused of getting into jump-shooters space and in particular, under their feet when they landed. Perhaps it was this reputation that caused Bowen to never win a Defensive Player of the Year Award.
But for much of his bad reputation, there is no denying he was a critical piece to the Spurs championship teams. Without him, the Spurs probably don't win the NBA title in 2003 without his three-point onslaught on the Lakers, in 2005 for his defensive efforts against the Pistons, or in 2007 with his defensive effort on LeBron James. He played for the Spurs from 2001-2009, where he retired a Spur.
Points to consider
- Won three titles with the Spurs in 2003, 2005, and 2007.
- In 2006 he was invited to join the United States men's national basketball team.
- Developed a deadly three-point shot and hit some clutch shots for the Spurs in the playoffs and in the regular season.
- Played 500 consecutive games from February 28, 2002 and March 12, 2008.
Well there you have it Spurs fans. Two great perimeter defenders in Spurs history but only one can be crowned the best. Who is it going to be? Leave us your comments and go vote on the poll.
If you listen to the Spurscast or follow me on twitter, you'll probably recall me talking about a Project Spurs magazine I wanted to launch. Not so much a monthly, but either yearly or twice yearly.
After a long process of picking content, designing and going through several proofing and revision stages, the magazine is now available for purchase.
We decided to call it the Ultimate Fan Guide, because while the media have the media guide, we thought die-hard Spurs fans deserve their own guide. It is a 24 page, full-color magazine written for Spurs fans by Spurs fans and it's available now for $6.80 before shipping. But right now, MagCloud is having a 25% off Holiday sale, which brings the magazine to $5.60.
So what can expect from this inaugural issue? A feature on Richard Jefferson, teams we love to hate, top 5 Spurs rivals and the ultimate Spurs man cave for starters.
Thanks to Jeff Garcia, David Thiessen and Jordan Rivas for contributing articles to this issue. We hope you enjoy our first fan guide and if you order a copy, please let us know about it.
To view a preview of the magazine and to purchase it, head on over to MagCloud.
Disclosure: About 90% of the price pays for publishing fees. The rest will be split up for contributors.