How the Spurs are considered a small market team is a little perplexing. Yes, they are the only professional sports franchise in San Antonio, Texas, but San Antonio just happens to be the 7th largest city in the United States (population 1,327,407 as counted in the 2010 United States Census).
The team itself has been anything but small over the last 14 seasons, winning four NBA championships and making the playoffs every season. Getting into the postseason again this year will be an easy task, but winning a fifth championship will much more difficult as the 2011 best record in the NBA Spurs found out last season in the first round. This years prediction: The Spurs should start planning their next Riverwalk Parade!
The Southwest division-leading Spurs' only representative at the All-Star game more than deserved it. Tony Parker is having an MVP-caliber season for one of the top teams in the league and holding the team together in the absence of spark plug Manu Ginobili.
Only Parker and Deron Williams are averaging 19 points and 8 assists per game in the NBA this season, showing that not only can the point guard distribute the ball, but he can also score. The Oklahoma City Thunder can vouch for that as he dropped 42 points and 9 assists on them February 4th.
Three-point shooting has been a very important part of the last three Spurs championships in '03, '05' and '07. With the big man presence of Tim Duncan, and the driving ability of Parker, teams must close down the lane, which leaves open wing players who need to make the shot.
In the past, the Spurs have looked to the likes of Bruce Bowen, Steve Kerr, Brent Barry, and Robert Horry. This season it's the new and improved Richard Jefferson shooting .448%, fifth in the league Matt Bonner at .465%, and youngsters Gary Neal and Danny Green.
Seven double-doubles in his last 12 games, including a few 20-point nights, shows that Tim Duncan still has some left in his 35-year old legs. Timmy is one of the greatest leaders in the history of the game as he rarely loses control, but goes about his business with professionalism and respect.
These are some important attributes as he is playing the least amount of minutes in his career, but has not complained once for the betterment of the team. Gregg Popovich knows what he is doing and Tim Duncan will be healthy and ready to dominate come playoff time.
Hope everyone enjoys the very fitting Manu picture, weaving through two defenders, grimace on his face, about to make a shot that the defenders and Popovich will both shake their heads wondering how it went in.
Ginobili has been injured for plenty of games this season and in previous seasons as a matter of fact, but this year will be different. After the disappointments in the playoffs the last few years the Spurs need someone who make the shot and win the big game. Look for Manu "The Batman" Ginobili to be that player because he refuses to lose.
It has been five years since the Spurs dynasty won its last NBA championship and three since they made it to the Western Conference finals. In short, the Spurs are due for another shot at the title in 2012. Teams that are this consistent as winners always find a way to...wait for it...WIN. Under Gregg Popovich, the Spurs have never finished lower than 2nd in the division and won 25 playoff series including all four championship appearances. When given the opportunity in this year's playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs will not disappoint.