San Antonio Spurs: 10 Reasons 2012 Championship Would Be Sweetest of All
The Spurs franchise has seen some pretty terrific seasons. Since Tim Duncan's arrival in 1997, few professional sport teams can be credited with the amount of success that San Antonio has had in these past few decades.
This is a team, that in the last 15 years, has appeared in every single postseason and has won at least 50 games per season (with the exception of a lockout shortened season in 1998-99, which only featured 50 games total.) Not to mention the four titles that they managed to bring home along the way.
But even such a historically successful team has one season that means more than any other, and for San Antonio, this may be it.
If they can find their way to the Finals, and win it all, this title alone would mean more than any of the predecessors. Here are a few reasons why.
Show Texas Who the Real Championship Team Is
Few things in the life of a sports fan are as horrifying as watching your favorite team's rivals win a championship. As a Mets fan and a Jets fan, I've witnessed plenty of enemies being crowned champion, but none were perhaps as horrifying as last year's NBA Finals.
After suffering an early disappointment due to San Antonio's early first-round exit, my trauma-filled postseason was capped off as the Dallas Mavericks won the 2011 NBA title.
While it is far from being the NBA's oldest rivalry, it certainly is very intense. Not only are the teams in the same Southwest Division, but they are located in the same state.
Each Texas team has had its own era, San Antonio in the late '90s to the '00s, with Dallas asserting their dominance. Even Houston had its own period of dominance when Olajuwon led them to two titles. Texas, though shared by three teams, is dominated by only one each year.
After having the title of Texas' best ripped from their hands last year, it is time for San Antonio to take it back.
Bounce Back from Last Year's Failure
The Spurs suffered an early exit last year, at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies. After losing to the eight seed in the first round, the Spurs need to make a run at a title this year.
The failure came as a shock to everyone, as it was quite unusual for a No. 1 seeded team to be defeated so early and easily.
After finishing the 2011-12 season on top, people began to wonder whether it would be another repeat of last year—a dominant regular season, with an extremely short postseason. However, the first-round sweep over the Utah Jazz gave fans something to be excited about.
The embarrassment that the Spurs faced last year will be difficult to overcome, but the easiest way would be to take home the trophy this year, and prove that last year was merely a fluke.
Give Younger Players Experience for the Future
The true importance of playoff experience is often exaggerated, but no matter how overrated it may be, it still can be very useful.
The Spurs' most valuable asset is their level of experience, as four members have won a title, with many others having advanced deep into the playoffs.
However, as Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili's careers begin to wind down, this advantage may no longer be of use to San Antonio. Stephen Jackson, another member of a championship squad, is no longer young, and may be forced into retirement in the next few years.
Behind Duncan, Ginobili and Jackson, a team lies in which only one player can boast a ring. Suddenly, the ever-so experienced Spurs are forced to take an alternate role in the postseason.
If, however, they manage to win a title this year, every player—even the youngest ones—can brag about their experience, and enter the postseason with a "been there, done that" attitude.
In short, winning a title with this group will allow them to continue their role as an experienced squad long after Duncan and Ginobili's retirement.
Cap off Tony Parker's MVP-Type Season
Tony Parker emerged this year as the player that the Spurs had needed for quite a long time. He was nearly unstoppable, and the main factor for the Spurs' success.
He finished fifth in MVP voting, receiving the fourth most first-place votes. If he can lead the team to a title, his entire career can be looked upon with a different point of view.
He would therefore have four titles under his belt, and with a Finals MVP (possibly two, if he earns the title this year), then a case can be made for Parker in the Hall of Fame.
His success would be among the league's best, and he is certainly not shy in terms of talent.
With Tim Duncan already a lock to be inducted, and Ginobili on the fence, Parker is the last member of the "Big Three" to be a projected member of the highly coveted Hall of Fame.
Leading his team to a win this season may push him over the edge and allow Spurs fans to see one more familiar face on their trips to Springfield.
End the Drought
The Spurs were on a roll in the earlier 00's—winning a title every other year. However, as of late, they have been unable to finish on top, with their last moment of glory dating back to 2007.
The Spurs have been able to continue to be an elite team every year, but since that '07 season, not much can be said about their championship runs.
Well, after five long, excruciating years, it seems as though they may finally have a shot to win it all again.
Playing better basketball then ever before, the Spurs seem like the favorites to win the title this year. A win this year would end the drought, and allow the city of San Antonio to once again celebrate a win from its beloved Spurs team.
The Lakers managed to win many titles, back-to-back(-to-back), yet the Spurs never seemed to win more than one at a time. Now, with their final chance to win in the next few years, they need to win now, if they wish to bring a title home sometime in the near future.
Nobody Predicted It
Going into the season, how many people predicted that the Spurs would have been so dominant this year. With the clear favorites being the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, there was simply no room for the Spurs on a list of contenders.
They were simply—in the words of so many people—too old.
Their early exit last year further added to the speculation that the dynasty had officially collapsed.
However, much to everyone's surprise (and some people's delight), they not only proved to still be a good team, but to be one of the best teams.
While the Spurs still seem to take a backseat to Miami and Oklahoma City when predicting this years' champions, winning a title would surprise everybody, and be the perfect happy ending to a classic underdog story.
Every fanbase thinks that this is year is their year.
Most of the time, though, it is wishful thinking, and their favorite team has little or no chance. However, in San Antonio, their championships are far from wishful thinking.
San Antonio has not only been successful during this second half of the season, but one of the best teams in the league.
With their continuing dominance, few fanbases are quite as excited as the Spurs'.
Following last year's defeat, and a long drought in between championships, fans are getting reckless. However, this year seems like it may be the year.
After so many additions to the team, and such an improvement from last year, it seems quite logical to predict the Spurs as the 2012 champions.
By winning the title, they are not only achieving something great for themselves, but their millions of fans as well.
One Last Ring for Timmy...
Tim Duncan is putting the finishing touches on one of the most brilliant careers in NBA history.
Widely regarded as the best power forward of all-time, his dominance is slowly diminishing, and he is reaching the final years of his career.
While he certainly has achieved a lot in his 15 year career, one more ring would certainly be the icing on the cake.
The Spurs have been incredible this year, and it seems as though they actually have a shot to win it. While they may be great next year, it is difficult to predict them being quite so dominant.
In short, this may be Duncan's last year to go shopping for some hardware.
While four rings are nice, one would never pass on an opportunity to add to your collection, and in the Big Fundamental's case, one more ring seems fitting.
An Upset Is Always Exciting
I know what you're thinking—in what way, shape or form could the Spurs possibly be considered underdogs?
Well, despite their No. 1 seed, regular season record and overall dominance, many still see them falling to either the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals, or the Heat in the Finals.
The two teams have been the favorites to win since the beginning, and while they may be well-suited for a win, everybody prefers an upset.
Look at last year. The Heat were by far the most talented team, but other than Miami fans (and Spurs fans who could not root for the Mavericks), nobody rooted for them to win.
San Antonio is very similar to Dallas in the sense that they were both fantastic teams, but their age and lack of athleticism held them back in most fans' eyes.
If the Spurs were in the Finals against the Heat, they should receive the same treatment that Dallas did during last year's championship.
It's Their Last Chance
Every year it has been said, but this year—as a Spurs fan—I can finally agree that this may be their final chance to bring home a title.
Duncan and Ginobili are nearing the end of their careers, and until they can make a big move and add another star to the table, it seems unlikely that they will be able to compete with Oklahoma City, Miami and Chicago in later years.
While their age was predicted to hold them back this year, they made a strong run at a title, and may very well finish it off by bringing home the trophy.
Since a championship is not likely in the next few years, a win is necessary now. Both Duncan and Ginobili deserve another ring, and while Parker is still in his prime, he will not be able to win one alone.
Even Popovich is growing older, and may never coach another championship-worthy team.
If they each want another ring to add to their collections before calling it quits, the time is now.