For the past 17 years, the San Antonio Spurs have been the model franchise. They have made the playoffs every season, even though the past couple of seasons many “experts” have said their time has come to an end. They have continued to prove naysayers wrong, and this season is no different. Just as they have been for the past 17 years, the Spurs are once again an NBA championship contender.
The driving force for all of that success started with David Robinson teaming with Tim Duncan, and Duncan has continued to carry that torch with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. They formed the original ‘Big 3’ before it became main stream.
Since the 2011 playoffs, when the top-seeded Spurs were bested by the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round, people have been down on the Spurs. They got beaten up by the physical Grizzlies, but made up for it with a return to the Western Conference Finals in 2012.
That season they were defeated by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and people again said the Spurs were done. The trio of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili had run their course and it was time for an up-and-coming young team such as the Thunder to take over; people who said that could not have been more wrong.
The Spurs, who got the number one seed yet again in 2013, came within one game of winning another NBA title. The Miami Heat were able to take them out, but they came back this year with something to prove.
The players, who many believed to be too old, not only won the Western Conference, but had the best record in the NBA at 62-20. They were matched up with a difficult team in the Dallas Mavericks, who pushed the Spurs to seven games, but never really presented a big challenge to the Spurs.
Behind Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, the Spurs still had enough fire power to get the job done when they needed to. In the deciding Game 7, the trio turned the clock back and blitzed the Mavericks, blowing them out 119-96 to take the series and move onto the second round.
With Duncan, Parker and Ginobili on a mission to make up for the title they should have won last season, and Gregg Popovich still manning the sidelines, the Spurs are as dangerous as any team in the NBA to take home the title this season. They have gotten outstanding contributions from the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills and Danny Green, but this team will go as far as their Big 3 will take them.
The Spurs look poised to make yet another run in the Western Conference, which represent them with a great chance to take home the title. The NBA is as open as ever this season, and having players as experienced and level-headed as the Spurs have could swing things in their direction. They will be sure to show the Portland Trail Blazers what a true title contender looks like, as the older Spurs will be taking on the up-and-comers in the second round.