I want to play a new game. The name of this game is “Just Watch”
“Just watch” is a term I will be using to display false optimism for all things basketball related. By doing this, we can reminisce about all the predictions and excuses we made for certain teams this year. For example: The Los Angeles Lakers.
- Steve Nash is hurt. When he comes back, he’ll change everything. Just watch.
- Dwight Howard is coming off back surgery. And he’s adjusting. Once he’s healthy, just watch.
- Coach Mike D’Antoni needs more time to implement his system. Just watch
- Pau Gasol needs to adjust to D’Antoni’s new system. Give him time. Just watch.
- Ron Artest is better than Metta World Peace. He’ll revert soon. Just watch.
- Kobe Bryant is shooting the Lakers out of games by being efficient. But he’ll adjust soon. Just watch.
Just a laundry list of excuses and hypothetical cases. On the other hand, you have: the San Antonio Spurs.
Yes, they’re boring (to the casual fan). They are not flashy. Hard to root for. Coach Gregg Popovich is surely and ornery at best, especially during interviews. Tim Duncan has the personality of paint drying. Kawhi Leonard still proudly wears cornrows in 2013. The Spurs may be all of those things, but one thing we can say about the Spurs: they make no excuses. The Spurs are 39-11, have won 11 straight games, and are currently atop the Western Conference. The kicker is that Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli have missed a total of 16 games combined this year with various injuries, but the Spurs brass continues to march on to victory. They lead the league in assists per game, 4th in points per game, and Parker is making another case for MVP with his spectacular play.
Don’t forget about the game against the Miami Heat when coach Popovich pulled Duncan, Parker, Ginobli, and Danny Green for “rest” while managing to lose only by one point to the defending champs. Imagine a healthy starting five during the games the big three missed….not fair.
The “just watch” moniker doesn’t apply to the Spurs brand of basketball. What makes the Spurs great is that they are able to plug in any player in the league to fit Popovich’s system, and have that player excel in that system better than anywhere in the NBA. We were boasting about the Lakers having four Hall-of-Fame players, but the Spurs arguably have three, and a Hall-Of-Fame coach for sure in Popovich. They draft exceptionally well (the Lakers don’t draft at all, and won’t have a draft pick til 2016), and they acquire great talent via trade (Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, Green,) The Spurs are built to win, regardless of who’s on the floor. The synergy is evident. Just watch
(I could go on and on contrasting the Lakers’ woes and such, but I’ll leave that to my past write-ups for Rant Sports)
Too bad synergy doesn’t equal fanfare. It equals winning.
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