Is the Spurs’ title window still open?
by Yannis Koutroupis, Hoopsworld.com
Championships are what it’s all about for the San Antonio Spurs. They’ve won four since 1999, second only to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, they’re five years removed from the last time they hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy. Last season they were two wins away from returning to the NBA Finals, but the younger and more athletic Oklahoma City Thunder swept the next four games to tack on another year to San Antonio’s championship drought.
Going into this season, the odds again seem stacked against the Spurs getting out of the Western Conference. On paper, the Thunder remain superior, and the Lakers may have surpassed them as well, with upgrades at point guard and center in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. The Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers also made notable adjustments that should push them up the standings in the conference.
Meanwhile, French guard Nando De Colo was the Spurs’ lone offseason addition. They did re-sign everyone of relevance from last year’s team, which jelled together quickly after adding Stephen Jackson, Patty Mills and Boris Diaw late in the season.
That’s not enough to keep them from being written off as contenders by most, something that has become a preseason tradition over the last few years. Even their former starting small forward Bruce Bowen, who had his jersey retired by the franchise earlier this year, thinks last season may have been their best shot to add a fifth championship.
“I think they will always have the chance to be top three of the West,” Bowen told HoopsHype. “I think it was a telltale situation last year as far as experience winning over everything else. As (David) Robinson said, the supporting cast of the Spurs didn’t have that kind of playoff experience. They weren’t really tested in the previous rounds. With the Thunder, they needed to do some necessary adjustments. (Danny) Green and (Kawhi) Leonard, they had never been in that position before. It was a little different.
“In this game you can’t just say ‘Oh well, next year we’ll get it.’ You have to take advantage of your opportunities … [For more on Is the Spurs' title window still open?, click here.]