Thursday, April 30

Rumors of the Spurs Demise are Greatly Exaggerated

I don't set out to pick on Mike Freeman. Sure, I've done it before, but I don't loom waiting for him to screw up. I come by it honestly. Freeman recently declared the demise of the Spurs dynasty. Amazingly, finding 25 ways to say they're dead without any facts (unless you count, "Then, they got old. They got old as hell.") counts as a column at CBSSports, so maybe Vince of Slap Chop and ShamWow fame can get a new gig on there (presumably with a file picture to accompany his posts).

In the interest of full disclosure, before the season I wrote this, "The better of the two aging Texas teams, this year will signify the end of the road for the Spurs Big Three and championship hopes. It's doubtful they would've won this year, but Manu's Olympic performance may have robbed the team of any legitimate shot at a final ring." But then a funny thing happened, I watched the team play this season. Parker and Duncan were both incredible in multiple games against the Mavericks, but lacking that second penetrator (Manu) the team wasn't nearly as potent. Duncan did not look done and Parker, who in NBA miles may be older than his birth certificate indicates, still has plenty left in the tank.

The Big Three for San Antonio are 33, 31, and 26. The Big Three for Boston are 33, 32, and 31. Oddly, no one said Boston had no chance for a title last year despite an aging core. The fact is the Celtics were better prepared for the loss of KG and Perkins and Davis have played better without looking over their shoulder at the Intimidator. Otherwise, Boston could have been in the same boat as San Antonio. The Spurs have plenty of good role players, but they lack one good second-tier sorta-star. With so many teams saving for 2010 and with the economy wreaking havoc on other teams budgets, it's entirely possible that San Antonio could swoop in and steal one of these guys for a mid-level exception this off-season. If they can land one more piece and with the Lakers and Nuggets facing some tough decisions involving re-signing their own players, it shouldn't be all doom and gloom for the team that finished third in the west despite missing one of their most important pieces for half the season, including the playoffs.

Duncan posted 25 or more in three of the five games against Dallas and Parker scored 24 or more (including 38 and 43) in all but one game in the series. If you add another solid contributor, a healthy Manu (who needed a break from basketball) and another draft pick or two, why would this team not be considered one of the elites next season? If you want to make the case that there's a young man in Cleveland that's going to be raking titles in, that's fine, but it won't be because this team is too old.

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