The San Antonio Spurs are no stranger to the NBA finals. They have four NBA Championship banners hanging in the rafters from the Tim Duncan era. They had a Big 3 before the Big 3 landed in Miami. They are a dynasty.
Every year people say that they are too old, that this is their last year. While it is true that father time is catching up with them, he hasn’t caught them yet. The Spurs made quick work of Memphis in the conference finals, and have been resting and studying the Heat ever since. This series is going to be a battle, both teams have stars, both teams have championship experience, and both teams want to prove they are the best in the league.
Let’s take a look at the San Antonio Spurs-
The Spurs are a lot like the Heat, in that everything starts with their Big 3. In the center of that Big 3 is Tim Duncan, a 2-time MVP winner, 14-time All Star and All-Defensive Team member, and 4-time NBA Champion. He is one of the best center/power forwards of all time and is hungry to get one more banner before he retires. Even though Duncan has gotten older and lost some mobility, he is still a defensive presence and offensive threat. Duncan is great in the post, and can also shoot from the baseline and top of the key. He earned his nickname “The Big Fundamental”, by doing everything and doing it well- and breathing new life into the bank shot. He also grabs around ten rebounds a game, which helps San Antonio win the possession battles.
The Spurs have one of the best point guards in the league in Tony Parker. Many people have had him in the MVP conversation over the last two years. His ability to penetrate and either score or kick the ball out is a nightmare for defenses around the league. His ability to run the pick-and-roll can negate a team’s ability to play solid man-on-man defense on the perimeter. If the defender sags underneath the pick he will hit the jumper, and if they fight over the top he will drive the lane. When guarding Parker, it is usually a case of pick your poison.
Manu Ginóbili is the ultimate wild card. He is hands down one of the most exciting players in the history of the league. He does things on a nightly basis that leaves people’s chins on the ground. His own coach admits that at some moments during the game he wants to fight him, and others he wants to run up and kiss him. He hits shots that couldn’t even be made in video games, and he’s a player that can break a team’s game plan wide open.
The Supporting Cast
San Antonio has done a great job assembling a supporting cast that works well with their stars. The young small forward Kawhi Leonard has done a great job stepping up this season. He can shoot, he is athletic, and he has a 7’3’’ inch wingspan. His length and athleticism make him a versatile player that can fit in any rotation. Tiago Splitter is another player who has come on strong the last two seasons. He is 6’11” and adds height and length along with his offensive savvy to the squad on the floor. Another reserve giving the Spurs quality minutes is Danny Green. Green is another lengthy player who can run the floor and shoot the three, he hit eight three-pointers in one game earlier this season. DeJuan Blair and Boris Diaw give the Spurs some big-body guys who can bang around in the paint and give Duncan some rest. This group of role players gives the Spurs the flexibility to adapt to other teams changes or dictate the style of play on the floor.
The last piece of the San Antonio puzzle is their coach, Greg Popovich. He is unquestionably one of the best coaches in the league, and should get consideration as one of the all-time greats. He keeps a cool head when the team needs it, but he is not afraid to get fired up and lead with emotion if the situation calls for it. “Pop”, as he has become known, really understands how to get the best out of his players.
This is just part 1 of everything you need to know about the 2013 NBA finals. Check out Part 2 and part 3:
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