Thursday, June 14, 2007

Why The Spurs Are NOT A Dynasty


I'm sure if you watched Game 4 of the NBA Finals...or read a newspaper...or watched ESPN at all today...you were hit over the head with sportswriters and pundints telling you how the Spurs were on the verge of becoming a dynasty. Well, let me tell you the truth about that claim: it is false. Simply, truly, and completely false. There are a number of reasons why, and I am more than happy to share them with you.

1. The Spurs never won consecutive titles: Will Perdue said it best in an interview earlier today:

"(Consistency) carries a little bit more weight," said Perdue, now an NBA analyst for ESPN Radio. "Isn't repeating supposed to be the hardest thing to do for all the necessary factors?

Yes Will, it is. Repeating is what seperates the men from the boys when it comes to dynasty and greatest of all time talk. The Spurs being called a dynasty without ever repeating is like someone running for President without ever holding public office. The two just go hand in hand. That is why the phrase dynastic succession exists. A dynasty, by definition, implies succession, and the Spurs have never accomplished that. Case closed.

2. The Lakers 3-Peat: There is also the pesky little fact of, oh, the Lakers winning three titles in the midst of the Spurs run. Can you name any other run that is termed a dynasty that not only had a three year run without a title, much less a three year run where the same team won in each of those three years. Here is the real deal: The Lakers three peat was closer to a dynasty than the Spurs run, and only Kobe's force out of Shaq prevented two or three more Laker's titles. The three peat alone keeps the Spurs from being a dynasty.

3. 1999 doesn't really count: The first title in this run does not really fit in with the rest for two reasons. First, the season was tainted because of the strike, which made the season only 50 games long and cheapened the entire enterprise. Secondly, other than a very young Duncan, that team has no relation to the current squad that has won 3 titles in 4 years. That team was Duncan and David Robinson. This team is Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili and is an entirely different team that is three years detached from that '99 squad.

4. The regular season: I might, might, be willing to give the Spurs the dynasty nod if it was a situation where they were dominating in the regular season every year and then choking in the playoffs. But do you know how many years the Spurs stood alone atop the regular season standings during this 9 year stretch? Once. Next please.

5. Simple math: Name a single other run designated as a dynasty where the dynasty team won less than half of the championships during the dynasty period. Yup, that's right: it has never happened.

As much as the media wants to make this story, the point of a dynasty is that is both historic and difficult. That is why there has only ever been one team in baseball to have a true dynasty (Three different runs by the Yankees), only four teams to do it in hockey (Toronto 44-51, Montreal 65-79, New York 80-83, and Edmonton 84-90), and arguably one in the NFL (The Steelers 4 in 6 during the '70s). Now here is my one caveat: if the Spurs do repeat next season, all will be forgiven in the dynasty discussion. Winning 4 titles in 6 years, with the essential repeat present in this case, along with the same core of players present, would indeed make the Spurs a dynasty. Even in that scenario however, there is no way that the '99 title should be included in any dynasty discussion. Calling the Spurs current run a dynasty does nothing but fill newspaper copy and cheapen the term.

1 comment:

jacksonthor said...

I agree. The Spurs have been lucky in winning their four NBA titles. These lucky breaks are why most real NBA experts don't really respect the Spurs and don’t consider them a dynasty.

In 1998-99, a season tainted by being reduced to 50 regular season games, the Spurs were lucky that they only had to play the Eastern Conference’s 8th seeded team, the Knicks, in the finals, as the Knicks upset the top-seeded Heat.

In 2002-03, the Spurs were lucky that the Eastern Conference was so poor that its top-seeded team, Detroit, only won 50 games. The Spurs were also lucky that Detroit was upset by the second-seeded Nets.

In 2004-05, the Spurs were lucky that Phoenix key player Joe Johnson missed most of the Western conference finals with a fractured orbital bone. The Spurs were lucky to face the second-seeded team from the East, Detroit, in the NBA finals.

In 2006-07, the Spurs probably had more luck than in any of their other previous “championship” years. They were lucky that they did not face Dallas in the playoffs, as the Mavs were the top seed in the West and had knocked the Spurs out of the playoffs in 2005-06.

In Game One of the real NBA finals against the Suns, the Spurs were lucky that Phoenix guard Steve Nash missed most of the last minute of the game with a bloody cut on his nose. When Nash went out, the Suns were only down by two points, and he had scored the team’s previous seven points. By the time Nash returned, the Spurs were winning by four points with only nine seconds left.
In Game 3, the Spurs were lucky in having key officiating calls go their way against Phoenix, as Tim Donaghy, who was caught in a gambling scandal, was one of the refs. The Spurs were lucky that the NBA commissioner’s office took away Phoenix’s momentum after the Suns won Game 4 to tie the series by suspending two key players, Stoudemire and Diaw, for going on the court during an altercation, even though Stoudemire and Diaw did not get near the altercation. The Spurs were lucky that Duncan, who went on the court during another near altercation in the same Game 4, was not suspended. The Spurs were lucky that they only had to play Utah in the Western conference finals and Cleveland in the NBA finals, rather than top-seeded Dallas and Detroit, which were both upset in the playoffs.