February 17, 2013
Here we are, as the NBA is showcasing their All-Star weekend in Houston, and the San Antonio Spurs are standing alone with the best record in the league. Anyone who follows the NBA shouldn’t be surprised by this at all, as the Spurs have been a model of consistency for the better part of two decades. To the casual fan, this is a huge surprise because the Spurs have never been a team that is hyped in the media, which is perfectly fine with the players and coaches on the team. The casual fans only hear what’s said about team such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, etc. I understand why the media would talk about those teams. New York City and L.A. are the two biggest markets in the country and the Heat and Thunder met for the NBA title last season, a series won by the Heat in five games. But there is absolutely no reason to deny the Spurs the props where props is due. I know everyone loves to talk about teams that are flashy and pretty, and the Spurs are anything but that. The Spurs are flashy in their own way, and their style has them back in the fold as the best team in the league, record-wise. San Antonio has compiled record of 42-12, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Thunder. The way they play is pretty if you like the fundamentals of basketball. Most people love to see the highlight plays, the plays that will make it on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Night. The Spurs won’t make many of those plays, but what they will do is kill you softly with excellent execution and sound fundamental play. Head coach Gregg Popovich continues to get the absolute best from this roster and is the best coach in the league in my eyes. After all, he was the Coach of the Year last season and is probably a front-runner to win the award this season. To have this team where they’re at without having power forward Tim Duncan and shooting guard Manu Ginoboli for huge portions of the season says a lot about how Popovich has built this team with a next-man-up mentality. One of the main reasons for the Spurs success is the play of point guard Tony Parker. Parker is averaging 20.8 points and 7.6 assists per game and has been the steady force keeping the Spurs engine going. The Spurs are a team that does not get the respect they deserve, and Parker is a perfect example of this aspect. I can’t figure out why Parker isn’t getting more consideration for league MVP. Yes, Heat forward LeBron James, Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony deserve a lot of votes, but Parker should be mentioned in the same breath as those guys. He’s the best player on the best team in the league, and his play speaks for itself. Let’s be honest with ourselves. The Spurs were supposed to start the rebuilding process years ago. The media has been trying to bury this team ever since I can remember, but the Spurs just continue to rise through the ashes. Let this be a lesson to the kids out there. You can always be competitive in any sport as long as you know and study the basic fundamentals of a sport. The Spurs would be a great teaching tool to study those basics on the basketball front. The media may want to keep the Spurs a secret, but the results can be hidden for only so long. Give the Spurs the respect they deserve.
By Charles Taylor