When we watch basketball we watch the ball. It’s naturally where the eye is drawn, so it makes sense that defensive-oriented teams are generally among the lowest rated games on television and the least talked about in the media. There’s one team that’s been a defensive juggernaut for more than a decade, and they’ve managed to win four titles in that span, despite a dearth of attention from casual fans and most media outlets. This season is no different, and while the San Antonio Spurs continue to win at historic levels, their automaton-like dominance is swept under the rug as mere commonplace, rather than shouted from the top of Mount Helicon as Popovich bottles Hippocrene water for his vineyard.
Why don’t more people care, or get excited about the San Antonio Spurs? It’s a tough question to answer without getting into hairy attempts at gleaning information based off what you think, rather than what you know. The basketball watching populace is a fickle bunch; they want points and star players, but dunks and a barrage of 3-pointers will do. Defense, in its still inchoate days of analytics, just isn’t that sexy, and it’s hard to write about without actually watching basketball. Nor is attempting to describe what the Spurs do on defense that’s allowed them to finish in the top 10 in defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) every year except one–the 2010-11 season–since they drafted Tim Duncan in the summer of 1997. And that lone year they failed to crack the top third in defensive efficiency, they finished 11th (per basketball-reference).
Tim Duncan is 36 years old, arguably the Western Conference’s best power forward/center, and playing like we should reasonably expect him to be a productive NBA player in 2017.
Will he ever slow down? Read more…
“Shit, you’re good.”
A statement like this is the utmost form of flattery; an honest admittance of true respect. Three simple words that mean everything.
During Sacramento’s loss to San Antonio on Wednesday night—their 33rd of the season, and a game that felt like a big brother toying with his younger sibling—these were the carefully chosen words DeMarcus Cousins had for Tim Duncan.
It was a young prodigy with a limitless future giving proper due to one of the best ever, and it got me thinking. What if Cousins somehow ended up in San Antonio next season, playing the role to Duncan that Duncan once played to David Robinson. How awesome/strange/watchable would that be? Read more…