San Antonio Spurs: Dynasty Or Not?
The San Antonio Spurs fell down hard last season, losing to the Dallas Mavericks 4-1, in the Western Conference play-offs. It was San Antonio's earliest exit since 2000. For Tim Duncan, it was the first time in his career he couldn't lead the Spurs past the first round.
It was ugly last year for the Spurs, coming into the playoffs as the third seed. They were taken down by Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks.
Many ESPN Analysts proclaimed that the Spurs were a Dynasty after winning their fourth title since 1999 in the 2007 NBA Playoffs. Since then, the Spurs haven't returned to the NBA Finals, losing 4-1 to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals in 2008, and getting knocked out of the first round by the Mavs in 2009.
Which brings up the question:
Are the San Antonio Spurs a dynasty?
Well let's have a look at the Spurs Owner, Coach, GM, and Players who will try to bring in that fifth ring for the Spurs.
Owner: Peter Holt
Review: Holt spent two years in the Army, including one in Vietnam. He ended his military duty as a Sergeant with a Silver Star and three Bronze Stars for Valor, as well as a Purple Heart for wounds received.
In 1983, Holt rejoined his father (A Caterpillar Dealership Owner) in Holt Companies in 1983. As president and CEO, Holt implemented a strategy to diversify the company’s markets, taking it from one of the smallest Caterpillar Dealerships to the biggest one in the country today.
In 1993, when he invested in the the Spurs, his desire was to keep the team in San Antonio to help the community and vice-versa. He has owned the Spurs all the way up to today, leading them to four NBA Titles.
GM: R.C Buford
Review: Buford started out as Assistant Coach of the Spurs, He spent four seasons as an assistant with the Spurs, including the 1989-'90 and 1990-'91 seasons when the team captured back-to-back Midwest Division Titles.
In 1992, he moved to the Clippers, becoming the No. 1 assistant for Larry Brown with the Clippers. He spent one year with the Clippers before moving to the University of Florida before the 1993-'94 season.
In 1994, Gregg Popovich (Now Head Coach of the Spurs) hired Buford as Spurs' Head Scout. Then, in 1997, Buford was named the Spurs' Director of Scouting, and two years later was promoted to the position of Vice President/Assistant General Manager. In 2002 Buford was promoted to General Manager of the Spurs, and has been GM since.
The Good: Buford made a trade a couple months ago that sent Kurt Thomas, Bruce Bowen, and Fabricio Oberto to the Milwaukee Bucks for Richard Jefferson. It is a great move for the Spurs because Jefferson is a competitive player, who is a runner and a slasher on the court. He moves very well without the ball, and is excellent transition.
He should help put more points on the board for the Spurs, which addresses the lack of ofensive firepower that really hurt them last year.
Although Buford did not draft Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Buford took two of the players from what is now the Spurs Big Three. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker were both drafted and signed by Bruford. Parker 28th overall and Ginobili 57th overall.
The Bad: There has hardly been any bad transactions Buford has made, but there is one that he regrets. Traded center Jackie Butler and the draft rights to Luis Scola to the Houston Rockets for guard Vassilis Spanoulis, a 2009 second-round pick (Nando de Colo), and future considerations on July 12, 2007.
All-In-All: Buford has been great for the Spurs, he has won three NBA Title, four Division Titles, and in seven seasons has made the Playoffs all seven times.
Coach: Gregg Popovich
Review: Popovich graduated from Air Force Academy in 1970. He played basketball for four seasons at the Academy and in his senior year, he was team captain and led the team in scoring.
Popovich then served a required five years in the U.S Air Force, touring Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union with the U.S Armed Forces Basketball Team. In 1972 he was selected captain of the team which won the Amateur Athletic Union championship.
In the summer of 1988 Popovich joined the San Antonio Spurs, as lead assistant under Larry Brown. Popovich was even the best man at Larry Brown's wedding (the two would later coach each other during the 2005 NBA Finals, Popovich being the one that prevailed).
From 1988-1992 Popovich was Brown's top assistant, before the whole staff was fired by Red McCombs. Popovich then moved to Golden Sate to be an assistant under Don Delson, bringing along with him Avery Johnson.
In 1994 he returned to the Spurs as General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations. Popovich held the position until 2002, drafting Tim Duncan during his stint.
In the 1996-'97 season, Popovich fired Bob Hill and named himself interim Head Coach. Popovich remains coach today, supported by a 686-303, .675 record.
Strengths: Popovich is notorious for developing players into stars. Popovich has developed guys like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, which is now called San Antonio's Big Three.
Weakness: Popovich can get in trouble with his mouth some times. In a 2007 interview with Craig Sager of TNT, Popovich ignored a question by Sager regarding a current game and outwardly questioned Sager's professionalism. Popovich has also been known to give short and sarcastic answers to reporters.
PG: Tony Parker
Parker is one of the quickest players in the game. A matchup nightmare for players. Parker is a fast break waiting to happen, he can drive the lane like few others. He breaks down defenses with his speed, and gets a lot of lay-ups with his very effective finger roll lay-up.
Parker is also one of the best in the game in mid-range shooting and is great off the dribble. Parker is no doubt one of the elite point guards in the game. It should help a lot now that he has Richard Jefferson to run with him on the fast break.
SG: Richard Jefferson
Jefferson was acquired from Milwaukee in a three-player deal this offseason. He should help the Spurs a lot with there PPG problem, as he averaged 19.6 PPG last year. Jefferson is a great athlete, who can shoot over his defender, and is great driving to the basket.
Jefferson is very good in the open court which should help Tony Parker because he likes to score on the break. Jefferson is also a great defender, which is just one more great defender added to the Spurs squad. He should fit in very well with the Spurs lockdown defense style of play.
SF: Manu Ginobili
One of the best slashers in the game, and is a streaky shooter. Ginobili is excellent at changing direction and with that gets a lot of lay-ups. The big question is whether his right ankle will bother him though, after last season when he missed 37 games.
Manu has great athleticism and leaping skills. He's come off the bench the past couple of years but might get the starting role back this year.
PF: Antonio McDyess
Used to be an athletic freak back in the days, AD is a great rebounder and a good defender. Could score 20 points anytime, thanks to his physical skill. He will make a great frontcourt tandem with Tim Duncan. McDeyess is more of a finesse player now, and a savvy veteran. He is still a great player though.
C: Tim Duncan
The Future Hall of Famer is looking to get his 5th ring this year. Has some of the best fundamentals in the game and is great off the glass. He is also a splendid defender and rebounder. He is devastating at both ends of the court. Duncan has excellent footwork and is a master at ball fakes. He should switch off the center job with McDyess.
Key Bench Player: Roger Mason
Mason was great for the Spurs last year, coming out of nowhere and hitting game-winning three pointers in a couple of games. He has a great jump shot, and was surprisingly a go-to guy in the closing seconds of games last year.
The Spurs have a great shot at winning their fifth NBA title next year—proving to people that they are really a dynasty.
The Spurs have been the best team in sports for the past 10 years.
But the question remains:
Are the San Antonio Spurs a dynasty?
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