5 Reasons the San Antonio Spurs Will Win the NBA Championship
Fresh off another double-digit victory in Game 2 of their Western Conference Semifinals matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Spurs seem poised to roll through their competition en route to another NBA championship.
For many reasons, a team comprised of three very talented players and seven to 10 extraordinary role players, Gregg Popovich has masterfully meshed egos and talent in order to produce the ultimate product. His teams are never flashy, they never make headlines or SportsCenter, but they do win championships.
Most deem the Spurs as a boring team who kill NBA ratings before even sitting down and watching. They play near-perfect basketball, and it's incredible to watch because you don't see it often at the professional level.
Here are the five main reason this Spurs team will not be stopped on their way to another NBA Championship.
Tony Parker's Mastery
He is having his most efficient season as a pro. He has inherited the keys to the pickup truck. Before the season began, Timmy threw the keys to Tony and said, "I'll sit shotgun."
Ever since his divorce from Desperate Housewife, Eva Longoria, Parker has become one of the most under-appreciated talents in the league. He is a top five NBA point guard, yet he still doesn't get his due. Even though he had a disastrous night from the field in Game 1 (1-9 FG's), he still managed to garner 11 assists, getting his teammates involved and leaving his imprints all over the game.
He shot a career high 80 percent from the free-throw line over the course of the regular season. He is shooting a scorching 83 percent in the postseason. For a guy who makes a living in the paint and invites contact, this has been the part of his game that was lacking.
A career 74 percent shooter from the line, TP took it upon himself to improve. A guy with three rings and a Finals MVP could have played out the remainder of his career at half speed and still had a shot at the Hall of Fame, but he was still hungry.
He took it upon himself to completely dominate while he was on the court. If he was not scoring, he would be setting up his teammates. If his jumper wasn't falling, he'd get to the rim or the free-throw line. He averaged a career high, eight assists per game this season.
In two games opposite Chris Paul? He has averaged eight assists and three-and-a-half turnovers. Paul? He's only averaging eight points and a staggering six-and-a-half turnovers.
A Healthy Tim Duncan
It's quite simple really. Tim Duncan is healthy. Gregg Popovich limited his horse throughout the regular season to around 28 minutes per game and his fresh legs this postseason are proving to be well worth the wait. Not only is Duncan scoring on the inside, he has consistently knocked down the mid-range jumper, which leaves the Clippers scratching their heads, searching for an answer on the defensive end.
Because he has proved so efficient through Games 1 and 2, you have to wonder how the Clippers can even prepare to contain him. He has revealed the entire repertoire thus far making the 17-foot banker, the drive across the lane, the slip on the pick-and-roll. You name it, and Timmy has executed the play to perfection against the young Clippers front court.
In Game 1, he went for 26 points and 10 rebounds. Game 2? Eighteen points, five boards, three assists, two steals. Two of his three assists came early in the third quarter on kick-outs to Danny Green who converted two corner three-pointers to push the Spurs lead to 11.
Duncan does not appear to be slowing down and that is bad news for whoever runs into this team in the Conference Finals. Timmy appears on a mission to keep the Larry O'Brien in Texas after their inner-state rivals brought it home last season.
Over the course of the regular season, the Spurs figured to finish in the top four, maybe even the top three seeds in the Western Conference. They had a deep team, a revamped Tony Parker and the best coach in the NBA.
At the trade deadline, the Spurs rid themselves of Richard Jefferson and landed Stephen Jackson, who won a championship with the Spurs in 2003. Then Boris Diaw was let go by the Charlotte Bobcats and Parker recruited his French National to join the Spurs in hopes of returning to the NBA Finals.
This team, already known for their ability to perfectly blend the talents of their players within a system, added two veteran players who, along with their talent, bring a presence to this team that is unmatched in the league.
Adding those two pieces to a team that already features the likes of Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, rookie Kawhi Leonard, Gary Neal, Tiago Splitter and Matt Bonner makes this team beyond scary. They are almost unstoppable.
The combination of players who can shoot, defend, pass and share the ball is unparalleled. There is no team that can match the depth the Spurs as they go 10-12 deep every game.
The Pop Effect
Phil Jackson may have more rings, more glory and more media attention, but Pop is the ultimate teacher. Plus, he genuinely despises the public recognition. Did you see how uncomfortable he was upon receiving his Coach of the Year award a week or so ago? He hates when the camera shines on him. He labors through the post-quarter coach interviews required by the NBA on national telecasts. He is just a basketball guy.
A member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (yes, they have their own), Popovich has made a name for himself by coaching. As asinine as that may sound, being his job title is "Head Coach", he has actually excelled at his position year after year while most of his peers have struggled to keep their job.
The manner in which he manages his players minutes, his teams possessions, and his players egos proves how much he is revered in his players (and peers) eyes. It is hard to find a coach these days that players truly respect, and Popovich is one of few. Pop takes players under his wing like no other. He develops talent into specific roles in order for the team to excel. He applies the perfect dose of each player in each situation. He manages the game as a chess match, and he rarely loses.
He will truly never be out-coached. He will never be matched. Popovich provides his team with all the tools necessary to win and his winning percentage speaks for itself. In his sixteen seasons with the Spurs, Popovich led his team to an overall win record of 1246-847, a win percentage of .680.
Lack of a True Competitor
Most teams shorten their playoff rotation to about seven or eight, being that they do not trust the guys sitting nine through 12 to contribute at the high level necessary in playoff intensity basketball. Well, the Spurs can go all the way down their roster and truly feel confident in their ability to hit the open shot, make the correct pass and put forth the effort required to win basketball games.
This Spurs team hasn't lost in over a month. They don't even remember what it feels like to lose. The moment a team begins to close the gap, Coach Pop calls for time and they make their adjustments: game over.
The Lakers, Thunder and Clippers may each have eight players who they trust in crucial situations, but that just won't cut it when matched with this team. The Spurs had been known for their stifling defense in years past, however, Popovich has been able to evolve his team's strategy to a point where their offensive execution is almost flawless. They outscore their opponents. Plain and simple.
There is no conceivable way this team will be stopped. Might as well place your bets now. San Antonio Spurs. Your 2012 NBA Champion.
(So much for NBA Finals ratings)