San Antonio Spurs: Despite Tony Parker Scandal, They Are a Championship Threat

Denise CharlesContributor IIINovember 22, 2010

San Antonio Spurs: Despite Tony Parker Scandal, They Are a Championship Threat

0 of 11

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The San Antonio Spurs have been the buzz on networks like ESPN and TMZ.

    Moreso, they’ve been one of the most googled items for the past week. 

    However, they’ve been a hot topic for all the wrong reasons—their starting point guard, Tony Parker, is having marital problems that have led to a pending divorce with wife, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria.

    Lest we forget, the San Antonio Spurs are a NBA team…and a pretty darn good one at that. 

    The Spurs are currently 11-1 and lead the Southwest Division. Where’s the hype around that situation?

    It’s been put on the back burner for the most part, but there are 10 reasons why the Spurs will be Western Conference title contenders—and teams, commentators and fans need to realize the threat.

Starting with the Obvious: The Media Attention Has Not Deterred Tony Parker

1 of 11

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Most people try to separate their personal lives from the work environment, but for some, that dream world isn’t even possible. 

    Point guard Tony Parker must deal with the situation on the court and off the court. 

    He has to hear about it from family, friends, team members and media outlets. There is simply no escaping the talk regarding his divorce. 

    What people might have failed to notice though is that Parker is not letting this personal catastrophe hinder his talent. 

    He should be recognized more for his on-court play this year, as he is posting career-high numbers in assists, field goal percentage and free throws, and strong scoring and rebounding numbers as well. 

    Parker had 24 points, seven assists and four steals in the Spurs' win over the Jazz on Friday night. It’s fair to say that one of their big three stars is only getting better.

Tim Duncan: Could the End Be Near?

2 of 11

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    At the beginning of this season, many were speculating over the fact this was Duncan’s last season under contract with the Spurs…many also consider his age and the retirement factor. 

    Last week’s slump didn’t seem to help his case either. But, fortunately for the Spurs and Duncan’s future: the end is not near. 

    Duncan scored 19 points in the Spurs' win over the Jazz on Friday, surpassing David Robinson as the team's all-time leading scorer. 

    Duncan also had 14 rebounds and four assists in the win. 

    His revival on the court has lifted the stress and worries of teammates and fans, and he will definitely give it his all in pushing towards a championship—especially if this might be his last chance to do so. 

Manu Ginobili: He's on Fire!

3 of 11

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    If the other two big stars were mentioned, then it’s obvious and mandatory that Manu is mentioned, as well. 

    He’s the backbone for this team, from any angle that you look at it. He rarely faces dilemmas and rarely has slumps. 

    Granted, Manu shot only one-for-six in the first half, but made all six of his shots in the second half. He also had 20 points, five assists and four rebounds in the Spurs' win over the Bulls on Saturday night. 

Spurs Slowly Familiarizing with Tiago Splitter

4 of 11

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    By now you’ve probably seen the numbers for Tiago Splitter…and if not, here they are: 18 points on seven-of-10 from the field, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 26 minutes of action.

    After not playing in the previous two games, Splitter entered the game with 8:12 left in the first quarter and managed to light up the court and the team.

DeJuan Blair: Preseason Hype Has Led to Regular-Season Astonishment

5 of 11

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    During the preseason, he carried the Spurs to victories and impressed with career-high numbers.

    Saturday was easily Blair's best game of the year, even in a blowout win—he played only 24 minutes, roughly what he's been playing all year. 

    Blair had 13 points and 12 rebounds in the Spurs' win over the Sixers on Saturday night. 

Richard Jefferson: Getting to the Line More and More

6 of 11

    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    In his best years with New Jersey, Jefferson was getting to the line frequently.

    He's getting there a little more than five times per game this season, after averaging just 3.5 FTA/game last year in his first campaign with the Spurs. 

    Jefferson scored 18 points on five-of-11 shooting from the field and a perfect seven-of-seven from the free-throw line in 38 minutes Sunday in San Antonio's win over Oklahoma City.

George Hill: More Court Time Could Cause a Spark

7 of 11

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Hill has surpassed the 30-minute mark for two straight games. With three double-digit scoring games in his last four, he's become more appealing as a starter. 

    Hill had 14 points on five-of-eight shooting, including a three-pointer, in Wednesday's win over the Bulls.  He added four rebounds, an assist and two steals.

Can They Avenge Their Defeat to One-Loss New Orleans?

8 of 11

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    It was their second regular-season game.

    The Spurs had just celebrated the fact that Parker signed a contract extension…the night ended in disbelief, though.

    New Orleans emerged as the only undefeated team in the Southwest Division, beating the San Antonio Spurs 99-90 in October for a 3-0 start. 

    Popovich benched Parker and Duncan after a miserable third quarter that ended with the Spurs trailing by 16 after being down just one point at halftime.

    At this point, it’s obvious—the team is good, but the key players need to stay on the court.

History Tends to Repeat Itself: Can They Beat the Los Angeles Lakers?

9 of 11

    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Western Conference Championship usually comes down to the Lakers and the Spurs.

    Since 1999, the teams have met in the NBA playoffs five times.

    Both teams combined won each NBA championship from 1999 to 2003.

    The Spurs won the NBA championship in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007, while the Lakers won the championship in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.

    Who will win it and go for it all in the summer?

    It’s too soon to tell, but the Spurs only have one loss, and the Lakers have two…at the rate the Spurs are going, it’s anyone’s game.

They Are Hungry

10 of 11

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Let’s face it, the Spurs are hungry for another championship.

    There has been too much focus on the Lakers, Heat and Celtics this season—many have overlooked other teams like the Hornets and Spurs.

    Although all of these teams have something to prove and all want the rings, the Spurs might want it more.

    In fact, with all the contract issues, the personal issues and the lack of spotlight, the Spurs probably have the most desire in striving to prove everyone wrong by getting back in the picture as a contender.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

11 of 11

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    It’s clear as day that the Spurs have a roster of talent that equally contributes to their success on the court. 

    It’s with said talent and the adversity to overcome distractions brought up by their personal lives and the media that this team can make their way to a championship.