The Rise and Fall of the Greatest NBA Dynasties of the Past Decade

Ralph SarkisContributor IApril 29, 2009

SAN ANTONIO - MAY 5:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs and Shaquille O'Neal #34 of the Los Angeles Lakers in game one of their Western Conference Semifinals during the 2003 NBA Playoffs on May 5, 2003 at the SBC Center in San Antonio, Texas.  The Spurs won 87-85.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Over the past decade we have seen many great dynasties rise to make their team the best in the NBA for many years.

Unfortunately a few great ones have fallen back down, replaced by younger, more energetic teams.

One of the best must be the San Antonio Spurs. Led by first David Robinson, aka “The Admiral”, and then by “Mr. Fundamentals” Tim Duncan, they grabbed three NBA titles in the span of four years (2003-2007).

Those three titles could have maybe been four or five, if not for mistakes such as Derek Fisher’s game-winning shot with one quarter of a second left in Game Five of the Western Conference.

Another small mistake that had a huge effect was Manu Ginobili’s foul on Dirk Nowitski, sending a crucial game that they had almost closed into an unneeded overtime period where the Spurs fell short in Game Seven of the Western Conference semifinals.

This year, the Spurs were blessed with promising careers from young players such as Roger Mason Jr. and George Hill. Unfortunately they were also cursed with the big disappointment of Manu Ginobili’s injury, causing him to sit out most of the season.

Many people may think that this is the only reason the Spurs had such little success this playoffs, but I think that there is another very important factor. Bruce Bowen is simply not the clutch three-point shooter or defender he once was.

The days where they would count on him to take care of people like LeBron and Kobe are long gone. Speaking of clutch, does anyone remember how clutch Robert Horry and Brent Barry were? Those two experienced veterans have hit huge shots for the Spurs over the years.

Their numbers may have not been the best, but they always left a mark on Spurs’ games with their deadly three-point shots or just by using their great basketball IQ.

Another great team that has had a lot of success, drama, failure and success again during the past decade has been the LA Lakers. This team won three consecutive NBA titles (2000-02) with the dominance of Shaq in the paint and the outstanding scoring ability of Kobe.

Then the unfixable problems between those two stars resulted with Shaquille O'Neal being traded to the Miami Heat, where he went on to win an NBA title with Dwayne Wade.

Kobe, on the other hand, was left with a series of disappointing seasons, leaving the once-dominant Lakers unable to compete in the Western Conference.

We then witnessed more drama for diva Kobe when he started last season with demanding a trade—and ironically enough it ended with him being voted the NBA’s MVP. He also received great assistance from his old teammate in Derek Fisher and the newly acquired Pau Gasol. This trio led the Lakes all the way to the NBA finals.

One tale that saddens me the most is without a doubt, the horrific story of the Detroit Pistons. This team was dominant to say the least, defeating one of the most dominant one-two-punch duos in recent history.

One of the greatest underdog stories of the last ten years was that of the new-cat-on-the-block Detroit Pistons defeating the then-three-time reigning champions LA Lakers. This team featured Chauncey Billups running the point, Rip Hamilton, one of the best scorers in the league, and two big men that specialized in defense Tayshaun Prince—and Big Ben Wallace.

Rasheed Wallace played the four position.  He was one of their most threatening scoring options with incredible range and great post moves and an ability to finish in the paint. Similar to the San Antonio Spurs, this team’s focus was the defensive end—and they showed it.

One memory that will stick with many NBA fans is the great rejection Tayshaun Prince had on Reggie Miller in the closing seconds of Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004. One other thing NBA fans will not forget is the dominance of Big Ben Wallace. 

A short player for his position Wallace sure showed that he was up to it.  He covered Shaquille O'Neal in the 2004 Finals and then again got the best of O'Neal with Miami in the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals, rejecting the big man with a block that made picture of the year.

Much like the Lakers, the Pistons traded one of their biggest stars in Billups, who has now made the Denver Nuggets a serious threat in this year’s playoffs, beating the New Orleans Hornets by 58 points in Game Four.

This left them with Allen Iverson, who refuses to play Piston basketball, and the team that once made the Eastern conference finals for six straight seasons has been swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

What does this tell us? It’s quite simple actually—the NBA is now open for any new dynasty willing to take the place of those dynasties. Possible teams to do so are the Celtics, Lakers, Cavaliers, Nuggets, and even teams like the Hawks, Heat, and Bulls.

Those are the teams of the future so don’t be surprised when one day you see teams like the Spurs and Pistons not even in the playoffs. And do me a favor and remember you heard it here first.


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