The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Why I Only Read One Sportswriter

The Bill Simmons lovefest continues here at the Jeff:

  • For whatever reason, if you're appearing on a radio or television show in which you have to express an opinion in a short amount of time, there's inherent pressure to make that opinion as strong as possible. So Walton was doing his job. And yes, this is one of the 500 reasons I would be terrible as a studio analyst, because Tirico would have thrown it to me and I would have said something like, "Wow, this Spurs team is something else, they're just better than the Pistons, we may as well stop this series right now and go home." And then everyone would have stared at me like I had three heads. Again, that's why you can't state the obvious on these shows. You have to come out firing with some sort of angle.
  • I just worry about the direction that we're headed in, that's all. The Spurs have the best two players in the series. They're impeccably coached. They feature one of the 15 best players of all time in his absolute prime. They play about as well together as any Finals team since the '92 Bulls. Isn't that the only story here? Shouldn't everyone be going crazy about this Spurs team? Shouldn't we be wondering about stuff like …
  • 1. Where they rank among the all-time greats?
  • 2. How you could possibly beat these guys?
  • 3. Would Miami have done any better?
  • 4. Do they need a sweep to cement their legacy as a top-10 team?
  • 5. If Manu Ginobili finishes the series the way he started, does he have to be considered the most dominant all-around two-guard in the league (ahead of Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and everyone else)?
  • 6. Where does Tim Duncan rank among the greatest players ever?
  • And so on?

Answers to the above questions?

1. Since the 88-89 Bad Boys title, there have been 17 NBA seasons. I'd rank the current Spurs team as the 8th best team in that time span. Behind all six Bulls teams (MJ would get into Bowen's head, not vice-versa, and MJ and Pippen would tag-team the hell out of Gino), one of the Bad Boy's teams, and be tied alongside the '01 Lakers team. Clearly pretty good company. The question that needs to be asked though is how good will next year's team be (assuming, of course, that we win this year) defending the Larry O'Brien? If they do this, I think they're at MJ-Bull level. And I'm not going further back because I'm too young, if you all can, please help me out.

2. You gotta find a way to make Gino less efficient, which will take shots away from everyone else, muscle Tim up and pack the lane so Tony can't score or create. Then you need one good role player to just stay at home on Horry, and make everyone else beat you. Oh, and you gotta find a way to score on them.

3. I think Miami would be doing slightly better. Wade's a player on par with Gino and there's no way he goes 7-21 for 14 points. Shaq would make Nazr and Rasho work inside, even if he is at 40%, and if Eddie Jones could wake up and 'Zo could play some good role player minutes, they could make the games tighter... don't know if the series lead would be any different though.

4. I think if we sweep (or win in 5... basically win in Detroit), it puts to rest all the "three in seven ain't no dynasty" smack. It also has us looking forward to the 3 in 4 years talk for next year, which would really cement our place among the greats (we're talking 80's Lakers/Celts and '90s Bulls echelon). As an aside, is anyone else as perplexed as I am that pundits have had the "Tim Duncan hasn't won a title without David Robinson yet" conversation? I mean, come on, it's hasn't even been two full seasons yet.

5. Yes. Next question.

6. Alot of people try and take him out of the best big man conversation because he's officially listed as a Power Forward. That's bull. You have to put him on par with Shaq right now, I believe. He's definitely better than any big man I grew up with- Five-oh, Ewing, 'Zo, etc. I think he's just a notch below Hakeem right now, but if he can get us one other ring (four total), then he joins the Holy Triumvirate of Russell, Jabbar, and Chamberlain. Which makes him a top 10 player of all-time in my opinion.

Here's one question for you all... How good defensively is this team all-time, and how good is Pop's defensive system all-time? I think, should they win this year, their defense needs to rank alongside '60s Celtics dynasty.