Polar Bear on the Loose

Chronicles of a polar bear's life in society.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

The 2006 San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs just completed their pre-season schedule with a record of 2-7. From my disadvantaged point of only being able to see scores and read other writers' views, I'm not able to carry on an educated discussion. I will base my observations on a general impression that Coach Popovich doesn't always have winning as his only objective. The Spurs leadership and he hold a long-term vision and work toward achieving that. The Spurs also have a history of starting slow and peaking later in the year.

At the beginning of the pre-season, they signed a few players they must have wanted to look at. None of them are still with the team. The current roster looks very tight.

Brent Barry, Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan, Michael Finley, Manu Ginobili, Robert Horry, Sean Marks, Nazr Mohammed, Rasho Nesterovic, Fabricio Oberto, Tony Parker, Beno Udrih, and Nick Van Exel. A solid, proven roster envied by many.

I believe the Spurs organization used pre-season games as a way to given lesser known players a chance to show their stuff. It should have provided a non-threatening way to see how different components of the team meshed together. The sense was supported when I read one newspaper account that Pop was playing deep bench players the entire 4th quarter. I equate deep bench and the worst point spread at the end of a game for pre-season was 12 points--most were closer to 4 as a good sign for the season to come. Of course, were other coaches playing their deep benches as well? Not living in San Antonio where I could have seen the games, I can't say.

The dearth of coverage for San Antonio continues, even though I'm seeing a bit more respect for them in written sports coverage. Yes, TNT is featuring them on opening week this year. I can catch them on TV for 20 games this year--TNT, ESPN, or ABC. All other games would cost me additional money. In San Antonio, of course, I could catch every game. In my NBA gear catalog that arrived this week, I would have expected to see San Antonio more prominently featured, but no. It's still all about the Lakers and the Bulls, and LBJ (LeBron James--once I figured that out, the fur-trimmed parka made sense: Cleveland), Melo (Carmelo Anthony), and Air Jordan.

How will the Spurs do this season? Hard to say. The team composition should be able to do the job, but will they? Last year's slogan was "One Team. One Goal." That sounds like they were focused on accomplishing what they did--not the best record in the NBA--they could have done that, probably at the expense of the championship, but the championship itself. This year's goal looks like it's "Get Ready. Get Loud." Doesn't sound so focused. San Antonio, a team which has developed into a perennial winning package under Pop's leadership, hasn't perfected the repeat yet. After 1999 and 2003, they couldn't quite pull it off. Might the third time be the charm? Let's watch.


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