Ethan Sherwood Strauss, an NBA guy that I kind of respect (in that he seems like a smart guy with smart opinions but I don’t have the time to read everything he writes) said this on the twitter machine:
Experts are browbeating the public: YOU DON’T GET HOW GOOD THE SPURS ARE. Well, if they lose, maybe the public got something right
He received some nice counter-arguments, but really, no one cares. That is the crux of the argument. No one has cared, no one will care. Any experts “browbeating” the public are just playing Contrarian Guy and not even a good one at that. I mean, the Spurs have the number one seed throughout so really, how contrarian is it to pick them?
Any ambivalence about the team stems from both our frustratingly successful regular seasons the past two years and the terrible playoff performances the last four years (lost in five in the conference finals to LA, lost in five to the Mavs in the first round, swept by the Suns in the second round, lost to eighth-seeded Grizzlies in six). So Ethan has a decent enough point.
What kind of recognition is deserved? Not much. The small market factor is a problem. There isn’t any reason to talk about San Antonio until absolutely necessary. Commentary on the outpost is only good for building obscure credibility. Even then, it isn’t even cool NBA blogger style to like the Spurs anymore. It’s like liking Portlandia as a hipster – it’s kind of a requirement to appreciate the Spurs’ professionalism and work ethic and execution and Tim Duncan’s consistency and Manu’s whatever and Tony Parker’s sort of MVP season.
We get it. We don’t even mind anymore. We don’t need to be the hot chick anymore, guys. Haven’t we done this dance already? Haven’t we had these conversations lots of times since 1999, the last lockout season?
Still, it would be pretty damned awesome to beat up on another upstart youngin’ sporting LA colors in the second round to bookend Timmy’s career. This one would also have journeymen players and a guy who was let go and came back. Then it was Sean Elliot, now it is Stack Jack. We won’t be shutting down the Great Western Forum in back-to-back games three and four this time, though we might be turning out the lights on Lob City in a similar situation.
But maybe it won’t be easy. Maybe it will be ugly. That has also been the underreported hallmark of this decade. Unlike the Bulls, Lakers, and Rockets, the Spurs haven’t looked dominant for any stretch. We’ve just been consistently competitive. It is weird. The window should have closed about five years ago. It hasn’t. We’ve never won a back-to-back and it doesn’t look like we will anytime soon. We’ve only had one dominant run through a playoff bracket. In 1999 there was the shortened season that made Phil talk about asterisks. In 2007, the Warriors denied a revenge series rematch with the Maverick team that beat us in Game 7 the year previous.
Yet still there are four championship banners hanging and dammit that looks like a dynasty.
I’ve learned to accept the snubs, the doubts, and the lack of attention. It’s only odd that I didn’t do it sooner.
You know what, though? This is sure feeling like another special run and I have tickets to Game 1 on Tuesday.
Go Spurs Go.
Derrick Rose is lost for the rest of the year. Obviously this is terrible. Obviously this destroys their chances. Obviously I don’t care as much as I would if it were Timmy Duncan.
That is the awesome thing about being in my 20s rather than my teens. Injuries to star players don’t feel like the catastrophic events that they used to. When Tim hurt his knee in 2000, and the Spurs attempted to defend the title with just D-Rob and spares, I actually felt like I had to defend my honor against accusations of flukeness. Like I was out there tossing up bricks. I’d listen to terrible late-night call in shows where I am addressed as “SPURS FAN”. As in, “Spurs Fan, you gotta get in here and defend yourselves. I mean, what was that god-awful performance?! You should be ashamed of yourself."
Remember the next few years? Oh hell. The Spurs put up all-time great seasons … and all time great collapses against the Lakers. More ego crushes. Except that we continued to put a squad out there. We kept competing. Eventually we won a championship but even that was slightly tainted by never going back-to-back. Like that matters.
Last season, when we all had the Spurs pencilled in as also-rans, they kept putting up wins and effort that I don’t know how to react to. Then they got stomped and I really felt like it was all over. There was no way they could put out a team around and aging Duncan and a fragile Manu, right? Who is gonna save us? Tony Parker??!
In my old Air Alamo season preview (where you can find all my early season posts under DELETE. LOL) I said we were going to end up going out in the playoffs to the Thunder in the second round after a decent-but-not-great year.
Shows that my predictions are spurious.