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ScolaFan 09-24-2008 02:11 AM

Chisholm: Never Count Out San Antonio

9/20/2008 2:25:55 PM

Here's a tip for the upcoming season: Don't count out the San Antonio Spurs. Aside from their tradition of winning a title every other year this team still has one of the most underrated operations running. They've got Tim Duncan, the best player of his generation as well as the most decorated. They've got Gregg Popovich, one of the greatest and most respected NBA coaches ever.

They've got Manu Ginobili, the most dominant international player ever (sorry Dirk). They've got Tony Parker, one of the most dominant point guards in the NBA today who significantly ups his effectiveness in the post-season. They've basically got every reason to think that they can nab one more title before Duncan and co. are put out to pasture and they may ride their under-the-radar status to just that goal.

Of course, here is where the chorus chimes in insisting that the team is too old, too slow and too underpowered to go against the Hornets, Lakers or Rockets. Of course, the devil's advocate could argue that this team has more experience and Championship pedigree than all of those teams put together. This team has never opted to pattern themselves after the fleeting trends of the NBA. Popovich has always had this team playing in a way that is most effective for them. He plays to his player's strengths and doesn't try to make this unit into something its not. They were two wins away from the NBA Finals last season and they have shown no reason why they can't surpass that hurdle this season like they have so many times before.

The first reason why that isn't such a stretch in thinking is the presence of Duncan. People have been looking to write him off for years now as being a step slower and unable to match-up with the best power forwards in the NBA. The thing is, Duncan never played a speed game, never relied on any athleticism to win, and as a result there is no reason to think he can't play deep into his thirties and still be more effective than many of the jumping-jack power forwards currently playing the game. He simply uses his alarmingly high basketball I.Q. to beat his opponents mentally as well as physically. He paces himself throughout the season so that he is at his best for the Playoffs, and last season he played 95 of a possible 99 games (including the Playoffs) and shows no signs of letting age impede his productivity. He's averaged 79.3 games per regular season the last three years and looks as durable as ever. People may try to insist that he can't do it like he did anymore and yet all he does is keep on winning. The death-watch is starting to get really tired in San Antonio.

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