The city of San Antonio loves their Spurs, there’s no question about that. But outside of San Antonio, it’s a different story. People groan and whine (maybe someone like NBA Commissioner David Stern) when they think about the Spurs going back to the NBA Finals. When you think about the Spurs’ championships where they beat the Nets and the Cavaliers, “massive TV ratings” is not the first thing that comes to your mind.
But who cares? The Spurs don’t owe it to the rest of the country to be exciting. They play the type of basketball that wins championships, and they play it well.
That being said, this isn’t the same Spurs team from five years ago. A lot of the same, old guys are still around, and Tim Duncan does still love his bank shots and layups, but they play a little bit of a different style. Coach Popovich loves his defense, but this year’s Spurs team is actually third in the NBA in scoring. They score more than the Heat, more than the Bulls and more than the Lakers.
So while the Spurs never need to make excuses for the way they play, I think people who don’t normally watch them might be surprised this year. Tony Parker has risen to the rank of the elite point guards in the league, and some of the ways he’s able to score is just as exciting as what Derrick Rose can do. Manu Ginobili is still the same old Manu, you either love him or you hate him, but a few of the role players like Kawhi Leonard and the newly re-acquired Stephen Jackson make the team a lot more fun to watch.
If the Spurs make it to the Finals, none of their fans are going to care who’s watching and who’s not. They won’t think for a second about David Stern and his dream of seeing Kevin Durant and LeBron James go at it for seven games. But if people outside of Spurs’ fans give this team a chance, I think they might like what they see.