Spurs Basketball

So, to no one’s surprise, there are not any good bios on the San Antonio Spurs out there. Despite their dominance over the last decade and a cadre of devoted fans across the nation, the Spur’s quiet team demeanor and substance over style approach have kept them under the radar. That’s why The Best Sports Blog has decided to do a quick bio on the San Antonio Spurs before the NBA Playoffs; it might be their last hurrah as a dynastic franchise and we want everyone to know how good they’ve been over the past decade.

The San Antonio Spurs began as the Dallas Chaparral’s in 1967. The young franchise failed to catch on in Dallas and moved to San Antonio in 1973; changing its name to the San Antonio Spurs in the process. The franchise settled there and, despite a relatively small market, has enjoyed the support of a devoted fan base and remains one of the most stable clubs in the National Basketball association.

From the club’s earliest days, the Spurs identity has been defense. Following their move to the NBA in 1976, the franchise enjoyed several successful years led by “The Iceman” George Gervin and James Silas. The Spurs utilized a combination of defense and the schoolyard fast break and won Division Titles in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, and 1983. However, despite consistent winning records, the team was unable to contend and, following Silas’ retirement and Gervin’s trade to the Chicago Bulls, ceased to be a top Western contender by the mid 1980s. However, after several years in the NBA cellar, the Spurs re-emerged after drafting a new leader: franchise center David “The Admiral” Robinson.

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After fulfilling his commitment to the navy, David Robinson finally arrived to play for the Spurs in 1990. It was the beginning of a new dawn for the franchise. In the early 1990s, Robinson led the team to division titles in 1990 and 1991 but the club’s lack of a consistent second option hindered their playoff progress. An attempt was made to remedy this in 1994 when the Spurs acquired Dennis Rodman. The experiment was partly successful; the Spurs went 62-20 in 1995 and reached the Western Conference Finals, but the team again failed to win a championship and Rodman left for the Bulls in 1996. In the late 1990’s, the Spurs continued to perform well but were overshadowed by the Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls. However, a lost 1997 season allowed the franchise to to draft future franchise power forward Tim Duncan, which signaled the beginning of the modern Spurs dynasty.

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Tim Duncan immediately became a force of nature and the combination of Duncan and a still capable David Robinson formed the most dominant front-court in the NBA. The two won a title together in 1999, which was the most important moment in Spurs history up to that point. However, the Spurs had no other important contributors to help their two stars, which meant that they were unable to defeat the Lakers in the Western Conference playoffs in 2000-2002. But a new savvy front office tandem of GM R.C. Buford and coach Gregg Popovich found stars point guard Tony Parker and shooting guard Manu Ginobli late in the draft. The Spurs capitalized on the Lakers’ font of distracting trouble between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and won the 2003 NBA Title in dominant fashion.

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From that point on, the Spurs became the most dominant NBA team of the mid-2000s and won titles in each odd year: in 2005 and 2007. The Big Three combination of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, and Tim Duncan was helped by a rotating set of important contributors: an ageing Robinson up until his 2003 retirement, power forward Robert Horry, shooting guard Michael Finley, and sharpshooting defenders Brent Barry and Bruce Bowen. However, 2007’s sweep of LeBron James and the young Cleveland Cavaliers may have been the Spurs last championship: Barry, Horry, and Bowen retired or left before 2008 and Michael Finley has aged significantly. A new set of young contributors-point guard George Hill, shooting guard Gary Neal, power forward DeJuan Blair, and center Tiago Splitter-have arrived but Tim Duncan continues to grow older and may not have enough left in the tank for another championship run. But, at least in 2011, the Spurs remain the West’s top seed and may have enough to win this year or in the very near future. We will have to see.

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