Open Letter To The Spurs

Hey guys, Shawn here.
As you probably know by now, I’m a big fan.  Of course, if I wasn’t a big fan, why would I be writing here, at your fan site?  I’ve got a ton of respect for you guys, just for even making it to the NBA, not too many people can do that.  And then be the most successful professional sports franchise of the last DECADE!  Wow.  I mean, that’s a complete effort from everybody, from the floor moppers, to the players, to management, to ownership.  I still remember your first championship, I was on vacation with the family, driving to stay with my mom’s cousin, somewhere in Minnesota.  I was frantically working the radio, trying to find a radio station saying anything about the game.  I was lucky enough to find an ESPN station that night, and arrived at the house in time to watch the fourth quarter, and feel the joy of winning a championship.  I’m sure it was nothing compared to the elation that Tim and Pop must have felt that night though.
I’ve seen a lot of hard work and heart over the years, and also, disappointment.  From Robinson stealing the scoring crown from Shaq on the last night of the season against the Clippers, to his year of injury, leading to the drafting of Tim Duncan.  From sitting in disbelief after Larry Johnson’s four point play, to winning that first championship.  Seeing so many players leave after every championship, to having a roster that’s been the same for some time now.  I remember Parker’s younger days, when he wasn’t on the court in crunch time against the Nets.  I remember Steve Kerr against the Mavericks, with an onslaught of 3 pointers to not only renew hope in the fourth quarter, but to win that game.  I remember Robert Horry hitting clutch 3 pointers, both against us, and for us.  But never, in all my years of being a Spurs fan, can I remember such a colossal meltdown as I have seen in these playoffs, in New Orleans, in the third quarter.
I know that I don’t know you guys and how you tick like Pop does.  I can’t draw up the Xs and Os in the game for you, and I can’t afford to come and watch every game live.  I am here to offer you some advice, some pointers, some things you may want to take under consideration, so that I may continue to write about you here in the coming weeks, rather than watching some other team in the NBA finals.
You are all well aware that in the last game, somebody brought a cutout of Mrs. Parker to the game, and waved it around at the end of the court.  She deserves better than that.  Tony, bring your own cutout of her to the game, and place it on the sideline, with the team.  You can make her an honorary cheerleader if you wish.
It is also well known, that the fans in New Orleans will stand until they make their first basket.  I want you to demoralize those fans with a full on defensive effort that will make every fan of tough, disciplined basketball stand up and salute.  I want you to shut them out for the entire first quarter.  I want you to come onto the court as the second quarter starts, with thousands and thousands of yellow shirts still standing, waiting for that first basket.  We know the New Orleans players will be demoralized from this, but you need to take their fans out of the game.
As the second quarter begins, the Hornets should be so frustrated from not having anything on the scoreboard yet, that they will be making some dumb mistakes.  There is no way CP3 can keep up with The French Flash in the open court, so you need to push the tempo a bit, grab as many open layups as you can.  It will help if somebody can get down there with him every time.  You never know when they’ll drop somebody back to cherry pick you, trying to cheat the fast break.  Tony can get to the lane and force him to make a decision, but he needs someone right there with him to pass to, if need be.  Bonus points if we can go to half time, still holding New Orleans to a big fat 0.
Now this is your problem time, the third quarter.  Quite frankly, this is on the bench.  The Big 3 put out so much effort in the first half to have you in the position you have been in, and then the bench doesn’t do their part.  This is where guys like Udoka and Finley need to really step up their production, with solid fundamental plays, like making shots, and boxing out.  As much as you focus on defense, I know you guys still like to score.  It is much easier to score when you have the ball, so don’t let Chandler and West rebound, EVER.  Kurt Thomas will also need to hit those baseline jumpers.  That’s the same shot I love to take, 15′ baseline.  You can hit it, so make them pay when they put all that attention on The Big Fundamental.  Also, if you can find the time, somebody sit down with Fab-O and review some of the old game tapes of Rodman.  Fab-O has a tendency to tip it, rather than grab it.  If he can learn how Rodman would tip it as long as needed, until he did grab it, this could definitely help out.
If everybody does their part before the fourth quarter comes around, we should have the game well in hand, and Mighty Mouse should be able to come out and grab a ton of minutes to close the game.  If some people are slacking, not boxing out, not helping on D, not doing everything possible to make life easier for the Big 3, then we’ll be in a bit of a pickle.  This would be the point of the game where Brent Barry needs to do his best Steve Kerr impersonation.  A half dozen 3s in the span of 5-6 minutes would be super.  If it still comes down to the wire, you may want to watch some film of Reggie Miller in Madison Square Garden.  He’s got some experience with fast points in a short amount of time.
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I trust that you will all put forth the necessary effort to show this young group of whipper-snappers why you are LAST YEAR’S champions.  You aren’t champions this year, yet.  Don’t let us down guys, in 2 weeks, I still want to be shouting GO SPURS GO to people across America.  If you need some examples of your capabilities, Parker can reference last year’s finals.  Ginobili can reference the first regular season game from several years ago, when you opened up at home against LA, without Duncan, and went double overtime.  Duncan, you have any number of games/series to reference, but instead, you can look at some Dwight Howard film, and one up him with a 30/30 game.
I’ll be right here, watching the game intently, eager to write up a recap, proclaiming, SPURS WIN!

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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