With the decade about to come to an end, from 2000-2009 Spurs fans have seen some great Spurs teams. Spurs fans have seen teams with great regular season records that come up short in the playoffs in 2004 and 2006. Spurs fans have also seen three titles come to San Antonio during the decade.
But for now Spurs fans might ponder, which Spurs team was the team of the decade? It is no question the three teams that went on to capture the NBA title in this decade should be the candidates.
So without further adieu, here are the 2003, 2005, and 2007 championship teams to consider for "Spurs Team Of The Decade."
Players included Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Stephen Jackson, Malik Rose, Danny Ferry, Speedy Claxton, Devin Brown, Mengke Bateer, Kevin Willis, Steve Kerr, Bruce Bowen, and Steve Smith.
This team did not start off looking like a championship team. They sputtered to a 19-13 record and were seven games out of first place in the division in January 2003. But the "Rodeo Road Trip" provided the needed shot in the Spurs' arm and they went on run rough shot in the NBA. They erased the seven game deficit to take the division title away from the Dallas Mavericks in a tie-breaker.
After going 60-22 and capturing the Midwest Division title, this Spurs team may be considered the deepest ever in recent years. It was the last year of Spurs legend David Robinson but the beginning of the "Big Three" era.
In the playoffs, this team beat the Phoenix Suns (4-2), Los Angeles Lakers (4-2) and the Dallas Mavericks (4-2) on their way to beat the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals in six games. It was the perfect ending to David Robinson's career as he left the game a champion.
This Spurs team was made up of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Bruce Bowen, Brent Barry, Malik Rose (traded to the New York Knicks mid-season), Nazr Mohammad, Rasho Nesterovic, Beno Udrih, Glenn Robinson, Tony Massenberg, Linton Johnson, Robert Horry, Devin Brown, Sean Marks, and Mike Wilks.
They came out of the gates on fire going 12-3 for November and by January they had a record of 25-6. Everything was going great for this team until bad news struck this team when Tim Duncan suffered an ankle injury in a game against the Detroit Pistons in late March. Even with the injury to Duncan, the Spurs managed to capture the division title and end the regular season with a 59-23 record.
With Duncan back from injury to begin the playoffs, the Spurs beat the Denver Nuggets (4-1), Seattle Supersonics (4-2) and the Phoenix Suns (4-1). In the NBA Finals, the Spurs met the Detroit Pistons in a thrilling seven game series where the Spurs captured their third title. This championship gave Spurs fans the great memory of Robert Horry hitting another clutch shot and dunk during game five of the Finals.
This Spurs team was made up of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Bruce Bowen, Brent Barry, Robert Horry, Francisco Elson, Matt Bonner, Michael Finley, Fabricio Oberto, James White, Jacque Vaughn, Beno Udrih, and Melvin Ely.
This team got off to a great start winning 11 of their first 14 games. This team also had a 12-game winning streak during the regular season. It was during this season where the Spurs moved past the Boston Celtics to become the second winningest franchise in NBA history at .595 winning percentage.
However as the season progressed, they slowed down and in February they started off going 1-3, but in true Spurs fashion, the team went on a 13 game winning streak but closed out the regular season losing three games in a row. They finished in second place in the Southwest Division but had the top ranked defense in the NBA. They finished 58-24.
In the playoffs, they defeated the Denver Nuggets (4-1), Phoenix Suns (4-2) and Utah Jazz (4-1) to face the Cleveland Cavaliers. They defeated the Cavaliers easily, sweeping Cleveland en route to their fourth NBA title in franchise history. Tim Duncan went on to state this was the best championship of all four.
Three great teams in this decade but in the end only one team can be crowned "Spurs Team Of The Decade." Is it going to be the 2003 team with Robinson retiring a champion? What about the 2005 team taking Spurs fans on a thrilling seven game NBA Finals series? How about the 2007 team sweeping the Cavaliers and making sure NBA fans witnessed Lebron getting swept?
Please leave us your thoughts and comments and please vote on the poll on which Spurs championship team is the Spurs team of the decade. Also come back next week as Michael De Leon will present the Spurs player of the decade.