When talking NBA dynasties, it’s easy to call Bill Russell’s ‘50s Boston Celtics, or the Los Angeles Lakers teams led by Magic and Kareem in the ‘80s and the Shaq and Kobe team in the 2000s all dynasties. The Bird led Boston Celtics team of the ’80s are always talked about and no one ever forgets to bring up Jordan’s bulls of the ‘90s. Let’s take a look at the resume of a NBA team that should be considered a dynasty but is rarely in these conversations.
In an eight year span the Spurs won four NBA Championships and have not missed the playoffs since drafting their first-ballot Hall of Fame leader, Tim Duncan. Of Course, we’re talking about the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs were NBA champions in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007. You can argue that the Spurs during that time were just as successful, if not more, than the the Shaq/Kobe Lakers of the same time. From 1999 to 2009, the Shaq and Kobe Lakers won three straight NBA titles (2000 to 2002) but in that same 10 year stretch the Spurs won four. With the way the Lakers won you can say they had a nice stretch run but the Spurs actually won more consistently for a longer period of time.
There’s no secret what the main difference is between the teams called “dynasties” and the Spurs – star power. Bill Russell is considered one of the best centers in NBA history and the most decorated champion with 11 rings. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led a Lakers team known as “Showtime”, maybe the most entertaining team of all time. Larry Bird’s Celtics team had four Hall of Fame players and Bird’s rivalry with Magic might be the greatest of the sport. Then there are the Bulls of the ‘90s led by arguably the greatest player in the game’s history, Michael ‘Air’ Jordan.
When you compare the Spurs to those teams you see where they kind of get lost in translation. Which is sad really when you look at who the leader of this great team is. Tim Duncan should go down as the greatest power forward to play the game and easily will be among the top-10 of all big men to ever play.
The problem with Tim lies in the nickname “The Big Fundamental.” Tim Duncan doesn’t have the flashy game of a Shaquille O’Neil with the fancy dunks and the great post-game speeches. Tim is fundamentally sound in the way he goes about playing the game of basketball. All he’s done for a career is average 20 points and 11 rebounds for the regular season and 22 points with 12 rebounds in the playoffs.
One other problem with the Spurs being recognized as a dynasty is in their leader. There’s not the flash of the ’80s Laker’s Pat Riley or the “Zen” of the ‘90s Bulls and the 2000 Lakers Phil Jackson. All the Spurs have is a coach with 886 wins with a 68% win-loss rating and who has won over 60% of his playoff games. For all the things Greg Popovich has done, he hasn’t made a name for himself above his team. The Spurs preach team first and play that way and that starts from the top down.
They’ve made the playoffs every season since drafting Tim Duncan but are almost never talked about as a serious contender for the NBA title. This year’s favorites by most sports writers are the Heat and the Thunder. Even the struggling Lakers seem to get more consideration and they are not even a playoff team. At this point of the season, the Spurs sit at the top of the Western Conference with the best record in the NBA riding an 11 game winning streak.
Are the Spurs a dynasty?
- Yes (84%, 48 Votes)
- No (16%, 9 Votes)
Total Voters: 57