The Spurs might be the most admirable team in the NBA the last decade, but the only spot in their otherwise perfect record is that they had never repeated their championship. The Spurs won the world champion in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. In 2004, Derrick Fisher finished off the Spurs by hitting a miraculous game winner with 0.4 seconds left on the clock. In 2006, the Mavericks, led by Dirk Nowitziki, beat the Spurs after a long lasting struggle. In 2008 and 2009, the Lakers and the Mavs again stopped the Spurs before they could get to the finals. Of course, if it wasn’t for Robert Horry’s foul in the 2007 playoffs, the Spurs might have lost to the Suns and might not be able to win the championship.
Undoubtedly, the Spurs are old. The 50 win season in 2009-2010 is Tim Duncan’s worst season. The Spurs defense is no longer the best in the league. Ginobili’s leadership showed that Duncan is no longer dominant. Tony Parker should be the one who leads the team. However, last season’s repeated injury and overuse contributed to this season’s severe injury. From the ambition before the season to barely making the playoffs, the Spurs, though beat the Mavericks, were doomed to be defeated by another opponent before they could reach the final glory.
For a long time, Spurs’ dominance are due to Duncan’s dominance on both ends, Ginobili and Parker’s individual abilities and two or three other big men, from Nazr Mohammed to Kurt Thomas to Fabricio Oberto, who were willing to do the dirty work such as providing 6 more fouls, grabbing a few rebounds and tipping a few balls in. Thus, those who were unhappy on other teams were willing to come to San Antonio to fight for possibly their final and first ring in their careers.
From the twin tower era to the Duncan-Ginobili-Parker era, Duncan is always the soul of the Spurs. When the soul of a team is old, the team is old. No matter how the Spurs try to mend by injecting a few new blood, young role players cannot help the Spurs back to the top. True, McDyess and Blair were able to give the Spurs their much need lifted when Duncan was not playing well, they were not big shot Rob, who could change the game other than Duncan, Ginobili and Parker.
ESPN’s statistics showed that when the Spurs faced the Suns, the Nuggets, the Jazz and the league’s top ten fastest teams, the Spurs only won 3 games and lost 8 games. This is not surprising. The Spurs are old. In 2008, the New Orleans Hornets were able to suppress Tim Duncan using only Tyson Chandler. Two years later, it is not hard to believe that the Spurs could no longer compete with the young teams in the league.