San Antonio Spurs: 10 Reasons They're Not as Great as Their Record Suggests
After the Los Angeles Lakers routed the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, a lot of NBA fans began to question the identity of the Spurs.
Are they really as great as their record suggests?
San Antonio only has 12 losses through 63 games to date. That's an 81 percent win percentage overall and the best record in the NBA. Yet speculation around the Spurs and whether or not they are as great as their record, continues to build.
Can they and will they win another championship during the Duncan and Popovich era?
With the NBA more competitive and youthful than it has been in recent memory, the aging Spurs are in for a true test of character.
Let's take a look at some reasons why San Antonio isn't "what we thought they were."
We all know the Spurs have an extremely savvy starting lineup that consists of All-Stars like Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. But after those guys, something tells me the Matt Bonner's and the Tiago Splitters are not enough to aid a lineup that needs a quality bench.
The championship teams the Spurs won with were more dynamic than they are now.
Other than the set starters, the supporting cast off the bench has been an experiment.
9. They're Old
The Spurs seem to be equivalent to the age of guys I see playing pickup basketball with ice packs attached to their knees.
Duncan is older, Jefferson is certainly older, and Parker has battled some injuries that have slowly made him a liability when he puts it all on the line.
Guys like McDyess lead me to believe that a Serge Ibaka or a LaMarcus Aldridge could simply out hustle a veteran like him.
8. Who's the Go to Player?
The Spurs have All-Stars and talent, but they don't have a "clutch shooter."
Ginobili has been the main go to guy for the Spurs, but I don't feel confident in a guy who can't go to his right.
There is no such closer like a Bryant, or a Wade or a Durant in the city of San Antonio.
It's only a matter of time before the Spurs find themselves in a make-it or break-it moment.
Wouldn't you think a team with the best record in the NBA would have figured that out by now?
7. L.A. Lakers
Everyone knows the Lakers and the Spurs have a rivalry.
Kobe has five rings and Duncan has four. Jackson has five rings and Popovich four.
If they want to get back to the NBA finals this season, the will have to get past the Lakers. As of right now, it's not looking good.
You don't give up 34 first quarter points, and then come out in the second quarter and give up 31 points if you want to beat the Lakers. Especially when you are protecting home court.
6. Lack of Interior Presence
Some of the all-time great coaches in the NBA believe "big men win championships."
If the term was "big man" the Spurs might be in luck, but it's obviously in plural.
Duncan is a Hall of Famer, without question. It's the combination of Blair, McDyess and Bonner that raises a red flag.
All of them propose a flaw: McDyess plays limited minutes, Blair is not as tall as most centers and Bonner is not physical at all.
Duncan can't do everything. It's going to hurt the Spurs that the interior presence may be an issue down the stretch.
When you have rookies on your team, there's always going to be speculation with how they are going to mesh with the current roster.
Having three new guys has been one of the team's biggest transitions from last year into this season.
Unfortunately for Neal, Splitter and Anderson, they had to quickly adapt their play to the style of older players on the team.
The Spurs suggest a very fundamental approach to the game, yet they can be thrown off course just like any other basketball team.
Down the stretch rookies are more likely to have chemistry issues as the pressure mounts.
4. Uncontested 1-Seed Could Hurt as Playoffs Begin
The Spurs do have the best record in the league, but their run to this point has been rather quiet.
They win games, but in a very passive kind of way. They're very subtle with their plan of attack.
San Antonio waits for other teams to make mistakes.
Because this is the case, home field advantage in result of no one really testing the Spurs in their place could affect them negatively when playoffs start.
3. Injuries: If Tony Parker Goes Down Again, Can George Hill Run the Offense?
Tony Parker has been hurt a couple of times this season. When he wasn't in, the Spurs struggled with the flow of their offensive game.
George Hill, his replacement, is more of a two-guard.
So if Parker goes down, and Hill doesn't really run the offense the way Popovich would like to see it run, wouldn't that cause for a little concern?
If Parker goes out with an injury, the Spurs are done. If Duncan goes out with an injury, the Spurs are done. If Ginobili goes out with an injury, they better hope for a miracle. All in all: The Spurs pray they stay healthy.
Because they are older, it's important to realize the possibility of maintaining health throughout the remainder of the season.
2. Team Defense and the Ability to Stop Other Superstars in the West
The Spurs have won a lot of games, but that doesn't mean they've been able to shut players down.
The Spurs have struggled this season when facing the superstars of the NBA.
Great teams pride themselves off of their defense; something older Spurs teams were amazing at.
This team however isn't the same defensive juggernaut.
1. Identity: Who Are They?
With championship caliber teams, they certainly understand who they are as a collective unit.
Because the league is full of youth and athleticism and the Spurs are older, they have to hope their "identity" will be trusted.
The Spurs are not perfect, and have issues in forming an identity.
So my question to you is, if they're not exactly who we think they are, should we let them off the hook?