The 5 Legacies On The Line For The San Antonio Spurs In The 2013 NBA Finals

Can't say I saw this coming.

No, not that I couldn't not see the San Antonio Spurs playing in the 2013 NBA Finals. Hell, I lowkey expect these guys to be in every single NBA Finals as the season begins. Five times in 14 years? For some perspective, there's only one hitter in baseball that has a higher batting average this season than the rate in which the Spurs head to the championship series.

So no, it isn't that I couldn't envision the cantankerous one that is Gregg Popovich leading his man back to the promised land, moreso that I didn't envision it happening in this fashion. A thorough embarrassment of the once-proud Lakers? A definitive smothering of the long-range assassins in Golden State? A tactical execution of the brutish and never bluffing Grizzlies? Nah, I didn't see that coming. Could they win each series? Sure. Could they emphatically win them? I wasn't so sure.

Another interesting point to call out. The Spurs have lost as many games in this postseason as the Miami Heat (two) and we all know that Miami's still in fisticuffs with the Indiana Pacers as their series is still undecided.

Now the Spurs can put their feet up, sip some lemonade and just wait out their fate. Now it's our job, as fans of the game, to ponder over the historical significance of what could happen if the Spurs were to bring home their fifth NBA championship.

Tony Parker would have to be named the best point guard in basketball: In sports debate, everyone's trump card in determining which player is better than the other, the ring thing is the big joker. Yes, Parker already has three rings, but those have all been in earnest, serving as a flanked supporter while Tim Duncan served as the anchor. With this 2013 Spurs team, it's clear that while Duncan will always be the centerpiece, Parker is the best player on that team (along with being a MVP candidate). If Parker doesn't perform, the Spurs will not progress. It's the ultimate benefit of being on a stable organization, knowing your teammates, knowing your system and knowing your own capabilities and maximizing off of all of it. He might not be the assist machine Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo are, or the hyperathlete that Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook are, but he's the best for his team. Thus far, he's been lethal.

Gregg Popovich would have to be carved into Mount Coachmore: I sat here in this coffee house trying to figure out how many coaches had a better résumé than Pop. I only came up with three.

Auerbach. Jackson. Riley.

That's it. He wins title #5 and he's now tied with Riley for total rings and in the all-time head coaches power rankings. You could argue for Pop being in 3rd alone and ahead on Riley due to his longevity with one team and getting more out his core group of players than maybe anyone else, but for now let's just leave it as a 3rd-place tie.

Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are the players you wish your team had: If you're not named LeBron James or Kevin Durant, then there's probably no better prototype you'd want for a wing player better than Leonard and Green. Someone between the height of 6'6" and 6'8" and somewhere in the range of 210-230 pounds. Someone who is special athletically and is multifaceted in their games, a 5-tool player if you will. An ability to shoot, handle, distribute, defend and move up and down the court.

I'm not saying these players are readily available and easy to find like apples on a tree, but while Leonard and Green aren't supremely talented in one or two particular areas, they are capable at all five. The versatility they provide to their coach and the headaches they provide opposing coaches are astounding. Kawhi Leonard harkens me back to a player like Rodney McCray, who plays with an edge of physicality while still being able to play on the perimeter. Danny Green's ability as a three-point shooter has now come to a point where when he misses I'm surprised, which is amazing that just a few years ago I would be surprised if he actually made one.

Manu Ginobili will go down as owning the best bald spot in history: And it's not even close. (Oh, and he's probably going to challenge for the No. 10 spot in the all-time greatest shooting guards in NBA history list too.)

Tim Duncan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and serving as the dinosaur prototype for an NBA big man: Much as been made to the fact that Duncan is now in pursuit of his 5th title within a span of 14 years. If he wins a ring, then he would join the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for longest duration between NBA titles. However, the bigger deal between Kareem and Duncan is how they have transcended the game as big men in the league with their use of fundamentals, craftiness and a sheer ability to stay on the court.

What's fascinating is how like Kareem before him, there doesn't seem to be many big men in the pipeline that look to be following in Duncan's footsteps in using the "fundamentals" to be dominant in the game. We take for granted the things that Duncan is able to do on the floor: the use of the glass on jumpers, the use of both hands on hook shots, an ability to box out and rebound on both sides of the court, and the desire to still outrun other bigs in transition for easy buckets, at age 37.

I can remember Bill Walton effusing praise for Kareem back in the day, crying about why big men don't use the skyhook anymore. "IT'S THE MOST UNSTOPPABLE THING EVER AND SHAME ON ALL BIG MEN WHO DON'T USE IT!" Walton would probably say while covering a game on NBC, seemingly while Shaq was dunking and gyrating over an unsuspecting center. The skyhook is dead, for reasons that are still unclear today, and it seems that seeing a big man who leans on his craft as much as Duncan did in his career might be too.


These legacies might prove to be true regardless if Spurs win the title this season or not, but if they do THEN ALL HAIL TRACY MCGRADY, NBA WORLD CHAMPION then that small-market team in Southern Texas could be the ultimate championship dynasty outpost that everyone must recognize. Even if you can see that bald spot from a mile away.

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