#Warriors out spurred the #Spurs

coach pop and coach kerrWhen I watch the Golden State Warriors play I see a much younger more modernized version of the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors led by the Splash Brothers shoot threes as easy as the Big Fundamental won five NBA titles hitting bank shots in the paint. But did we really expect a Gregg Popovich disciple to coach his squad any other way? Although a 30-point loss is never enjoyable, a small part of Coach Pop had to be amused to see his offense being used so brilliantly against him. Either by luck or buy design the Warriors were constructed in the Spurs image.

Just like their predecessors, the Warriors roster consists of overlooked guys who 29 other warriorsteams passed on because they  were either too  injury prone,  too small, viewed as draft bust, or simply because they were not their fathers. In spite of their shortcomings as individuals by their talents combined the Warriors now look like a dynasty in the making and Coach Pop is largely responsible.

The Warriors ball movement and willingness to make the extra pass for a better shot is vintage Popovich. Although Stephen Curry will never be confused with Tim Duncan, his ability to embrace a team first mentality has created an infectious championship mindset.

warriors out spurred the spursXs and Os are only as good as  the players running them and the Spurs simply got out spurred, one back cut after the other. The aging vets couldn’t keep up, Lamarcus Aldridge was a no-show, and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard was on skates all night. Since the Spurs got out spurred by Spurs-West Coach Pop must make some changes because standing pat just won’t work. Warriors won round 1, do the Spurs stand a chance in round 2? Stay tuned…I know I will.

NBA Playoffs Primer: The San Antonio Spurs, then and now

spurs big 3 In customary fashion the San Antonio Spurs wrapped up the top seed in the Western Conference and secured home court throughout the NBA Playoffs. But there is no need for confetti, t-shirts, or celebrations because winning division titles and securing the best record in the NBA for the 1,000th time means absolutely nothing to Coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. Securing home court throughout the NBA Playoffs may be considered a crowning achievement for some franchise, but for the Spurs its literally championship or bust, screw the banners, and those shiny regular season awards mean absolutely nothing to they guys.

Last year the Spurs pursuit for titles appeared to be only seconds away until Jesus (Ray Allen) intervened and the Miami Heat won their second NBA title. But how will things be different a season later? The Spurs did not make a splash in free agency and return the Spurs restingsame starting five which includes same ol’ often injured big three of Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan. Tiago Splitter is still an offensive liability and calling Danny Green inconsistent would be an understatement.

But despite these glaring deficiencies and a unimpressive showing against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers this year may finally be the year. Talented forward Kawhi Leonard is healthy and is a year wiser after his impressive showing in the NBA Finals last year. The continued development of point guard Patty Mills will give Parker a much needed breather with very little drop off. And the most important reason why things will be different in 2014 for the Spurs is Marco Belinelli. Belinelli showcased his versatility last Patty Mills and Marco Belinelliyear as a member of the Chicago Bulls and his ability to both space the floor and get into the lane give the Spurs an invaluable asset that they did not have last year.

Although the fate of the Spurs will continue to be determined by their Big Three, their much improved bench will give breathers to the vets and ensure that their stars are not winded when they are needed most. Will this formula finally lead to the Spurs winning their fifth NBA Title? Only time will tell and I can not wait. Stay tuned…I know I will

 

Life after the Finals: The future of the San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs Big 3 and PopovichAs the conclusion of an exciting 2013 NBA season draws near a champion will be crowned, win or lose the San Antonio Spurs will find themselves at a crossroad where the future is uncertain. Despite the inspired play of Manu Ginobili and the age defying resurgence of Tim Duncan no one is capable of defying the inevitable, father time.

For nearly twenty years Spurs fans have grown accustomed to Coach Popovich, his infamous scowl and intolerable demeanor but he is no spring chicken either. Pop has won 4 NBA title but would you blame him if he decides to ride off to the sunset along with the two stars, Ginobili and Duncan who he molded and shaped into eventual Hall of Famers?

While fans and pundits live in the moment the future of the Spurs is an intriguing topic in itself. Since the Spurs are unlikely to capture the number 1 pick anytime soon the time to unearth the next batch of stashed European talent has arrived. And while Adam Hanga Spursfranchises mull over American talent, the Euros that the Spurs have drafted are poised to step in. When the Spurs selected Adam Hanga from Hungary in the second round it registered a zero on the interest scale, but his impressive showing in the Euro-league has many calling him the next Ginobili.

Although their transition to the NBA will not be seamless it appears that the cupboard is far from bare. Their addition combined with the continued maturation of youngsters Spurs next 3Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard the Spurs next Big 3 lead by Parker, the best point guard in the league makes the future appear even more tantalizing.

Despite the potential of another decade of playoff promise the fate of the Spurs rests with Popovich. How many more years does he have left? When Popovich calls it a career will Spurs decline follow? Which assistant or coach will take the reins once Pop retires? Avery Johnson? Mike Brown? Vinny Del Negro?

But instead of mulling the uncertainty of the future its best to act like Spurs fans and enjoy the ride and the ever infamous scowl because it unknowingly may be the last. Stay tuned… I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Blueprint to a NBA Championship – Spurs stability vs Heats star power

miami heat earned not givenAfter the Miami Heat assembled their big three many franchises believed that the way to win a NBA title is by signing big name free agents and teetering on the verge of luxury tax disaster in order to be crowned as NBA Champions.

Several teams foolishly followed suit assembling their own versions of the big three but none of those teams are in the conference championship fighting for an opportunity to dethrone the reigning NBA Champion Heat.

Big market teams like the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and the Los Angeles Los Angeles Lakers $100 Million RosterLakers led by their billionaire owners foolishly thought that they would simply write a blank check and the 2013 NBA Championship would be theirs for the taking.

As these owners get a strong dose of humility while in luxury tax purgatory small market franchises continue to thrive despite building a title contender on a budget. The San Antonio Spurs continue to be the standard for small market franchises who refuse to overpay players and rely on superb scouting and player development programs.

Although small market teams like the Indiana Pacers and the Memphis Grizzles will never win a popularity contest or ever attract big name free agents one thing is certain, these teams will likely find themselves in the conference finals for decades too come.

Since the San Antonio Spurs will be returning to the NBA Finals for the first time sincesan antonio spurs dynasty 2007 the table it set for a clash for the ages. If the Heat duplicate their  impressive performance in Game 3 its very likely that the Heat will clinch the east.

If the Heat and Spurs clash the game as well as how to construct a NBA Championship will be on the line. Both formulas have resulted in NBA Championship but which style will win in the end.

nba big three eraThe Heat big three which was assembled via the free agency and the decision. And the Spurs wise three which was constructed through the NBA Draft. Which big three take its place as one of the best of all-time? Coach Pop, the Big Fundamental and his crew or The King and his court? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

 

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 3 PM EST. Subscribe to podcast

NBA Coaching Carousel – Hired. Fired. Then hired again. When will the vicious cycle end?

nba coaching carouselAt the end of every NBA season the coaching firing squad ensues and the franchises who failed to live up to expectation find themselves back at the drawing board searching for a new coach to excite a fan base and make their perspective franchise relevant once again.

Franchises invest millions of dollars to unearth hidden gems in remote countries all over the country but for some reason these same franchises fail to invest the same time in searching for their next coach instead selecting one from the Fired Basketball Coaches Association, ‘FBCA’.

Although a few fired coaches have won NBA Championships in their second stint, Doc Rivers and Rich Carlisle, its time for NBA tom thibodeau jeff van gundyfront offices to finally think outside of the box. All eight of the teams remaining in the playoffs took the road less traveled hiring long time assistants, ex-video recorders, and an ex-commentator.

When the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat hired a longtime video recorder as its erik spoelstra miami video recordernext coach Erik Spoelstra was a great unknown. However, in only three short seasons he won nearly 400 game as well as a NBA title.

When pundits were calling for a big name hire for the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers these franchises did entertain anyone from the ‘F.B.C.A’ and instead hired long time assistants Frank Vogel and Tom Thibodeau who have been home run hires.

As the NBA coaching carousel continues prominent names like Scott Skiles, Byron Scott, Mike Dunleavy, and Nate McMillian will continue to be mentioned as top candidates  nba coaching vacancywhile little known assistants may the one to lead your franchise back to prominence. Six NBA franchises must find their next leader, will they go with the popular big name hire? Or will they venture down the road less traveled? Stay tuned… I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST

NBA Playoffs: Previewing Sunday’s Match-ups

nba playoffs 2013After 82 games of no defense and little effort on the court, effort returns with everything now on the line and with each team dreaming of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy as NBA Champions. Although the Miami Heat are the prohibitive favorite the NBA Title will not be gift wrapped and handed to them with a bow on a silver platter.

The fortunate 16 teams who have made it to the postseason all are vulnerable and enter the playoffs not completely at full strength.

Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks

The Heat’s first round tussle with the Milwaukee Bucks may not be the cake walk that many expect. The Bucks led by scorers Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis will build a tent in the lane and fire from long-range with abandonment. The Heat will have several of their shots swatted by defensive player of the year candidate Larry Sanders who gave the Heat fits in the regular season. miami heat big three championship ringsAlthough I do believe the Bucks have the talent to steal a game at home, many will not be surprised if the Heat use Jennings comments of beating the defending champions in six games as fuel to send a message to the rest of the teams in the playoffs.

Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks

The Indiana Pacers limp into the playoffs on a three game losing streak without their full paul george tyler hanborough indiana pacerscomplement of players. With only two players under long-term contracts the Atlanta Hawks play each game trying to impress future suitors and also to change the mind of Hawks ownership to offer them a long-term contract. During the regular season the teams have split their match-ups but the Pacers were clearly the more talented team. Although the Hawks will not be swept the Pacer will be prime for an upset if their All-Star forward Paul George does not get out of his regular season scoring funk.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs

At the start of the 2012 season each of these teams were projected by many to be thedwight howard air balls free throw prohibitive favorite to challenge the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Western Conference title. Both of these aging franchise have been riddled with the injury bug and enter the playoff a shell of the team that many expected them to be. Tony Parker is hobbling on one leg and Steve Nash continues to make fans forget that he collected two MVPs in his career. This game will ultimately be won or loss in the paint. Does Tim Duncan have enough spring in his legs to thwart the Kobe-less Lakers and their twin towers. Dwight Howard‘s inability to hit free throws in the clutch combined with Kawhi Leonard and their bench will be the Spurs saving grace .

Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

james harden fear the beardJames Harden returns to him home stomping ground poised to remind the Thunder front office that they made a huge mistake in trading him. The Thunders duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant should be enough to take down the Rockets lone star. Although the Houston Rockets are capable of scoring points in bunches their inability to make defensive stops will be their downfall. Expect Westbrook to do lay up drill against the Rockets and live at the free throw line when they decide to foul.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST

NBA Title Hopes – 1 Ankle and 3 knees will be the deciding factor

injury bug hits NBA title contendersWhen NBA fans and pundits began to discuss title contenders and pretenders the key element often overlooked during these debates is the hated injury bug. The injury bug has already crippled the title hopes of the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics whose point guards Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose tore their ACLs. Although each of these teams title hopes were dealt a serious blow their playoff chances were unaffected.

As the NBA enters its stretch run the injury bug has begun to rear its ugly head yet again and even the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat have felt the brunt of its harshlebron james hurts knee sting. Currently on a franchise record 16 game winning streak Heat fans all held their breath when Lebron James twisted his knee, however fans all breathed a sigh of relief when x-rays came back negative. Although no NBA team has ever been considered unbeatable James injury is reminder of how quickly fortunes can change.

Since James was fortunate enough to avoid an injury scare it appears that the carmelo anthony injures kneefranchises that poses the biggest threat to the Heat winning another NBA title were not so fortunate. The New York Knicks who are a close second in the Eastern Conference behind the Heat is currently without their All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony who twisted his knee two nights ago in a freak accident against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although the Knicks won the game their chances of securing home court throughout the playoffs were dealt a serious blow with the Indiana Pacers a game and a 1/2 behind them.

However, the Pacers also a star to injury, Danny Granger who is out yet again for an danny granger reinjures kneeindefinite period of time due his surgically reconstructed knee swelling up after playing extended minutes against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

In the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs who have the best record in the NBA lost All-NBA point guard Tony Parker for a month due to a sprained ankle. Although the Spurs record tony parker sprains anklewill lead one to believe that they won’t miss a beat in Parker’s absence their title hope rest on the ankle of the diminutive French point guard who was playing at an elite level.

As the NBA Playoffs grows near the title hopes of the Spurs, Knicks, Heat, and Pacers can all change due to an errand pass or a wet floor. Despite injury scares by their franchise players each of these teams have continued to persevere even when their stars were not 100 percent. So the next time you discuss title contenders, do what bookies in Vegas do, check the injury report and hope that your favorite team makes it through a meaningless regular season game unscathed. Stay tuned… I know I will. – A. Denmark (@eatdrkslpsprtz2)

NBA Game of the week <Pacers vs. Heat, March 10th>

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 EST & Sat 1030 EST