Spurs Click & Scroll: Cavs already favorites over Spurs, case for Duncan as best player since Jordan

It’s been awhile since our last look around the internet for Spurs writings, so I’m digging a little farther back in this edition of the Click & Scroll.

• Cavs are 4/1 favorites to win championship | Bovada

Online gambling site and sportsbook Bovada tweeted today that with the news of LeBron James returning to Cleveland to play with the Cavaliers, the Cavs are now four-to-one favorites to win the 2015 NBA Championship.

James certainly makes an impact on the Cavs playoff chances and pairing him with Kyrie Irving and possibly Andrew Wiggins (or Kevin Love) makes the Cavs a contender in the bottom-feeding Eastern Conference.

It may be a bit early, especially considering the rest of the free agency dust has yet to settle, to call the Cavs a favorite. Regardless of what happens with Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and others, the Spurs have brought back Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich just agreed to a contract extension.

The Spurs accustomed to flying under the radar, but it is interesting to see a sportsbook make that decision, especially in the wake of the Spurs winning the 2014 NBA Championship.

• LeBron can play but King Tim Duncan has a ring (or five) to it | Denver Post

Some of the content of the post is a little dated now that James has chosen to leave Miami, but Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post talks about one of the problems in the NBA, which is centered around James.

Kiszla says that LeBron’s Decision 2.0 became more important in the NBA than anything else.

Well, the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth championship of the Tim Duncan era with some of the most beautiful basketball ever seen. But that’s trivial stuff. The real news is: Have you downloaded the LeBron app to your smart phone yet?

The King is great. Anybody, however, who tells you James is as great as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson or Hall of Famers who relished competition instead of moving on to whatever’s convenient fails to realize how hard a meaningful legacy is earned in sports.

James wins Twitter.

Duncan wins rings.

You tell me who the real king is.

• The Best Player Since Jordan | The Cauldron (Medium)

Nicholas Tuths, writing for The Cauldron, has an excellent longform piece on giving Tim Duncan consideration as the best player since Michael Jordan retired from the NBA.

Tuths says the NBA and fans looked to several players, including Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and eventually LeBron James for the next heir to idolize, even though Duncan was there the entire team.

And that’s the other thing about the A.D. (after Duncan) Spurs. They always competed for championships because they always made the playoffs. This is not an exaggeration. The Spurs drafted “Death & Taxes” in 1997 and have not missed the playoffs, since. Can you say that about Kobe? No. Can you say that about LeBron? No. Shaq? No. Hakeem? Jordan? No. No.

But Timmy hasn’t just been there, he’s arguably the NBA’s greatest playoff performer of all time. Most playoff double-doubles with 158. Most playoff blocks with 516. His three Finals MVPs are second only to you-know-who and tied with the aforementioned Shaq.

There’s a lot more on Duncan than I can include here, so be sure to visit the link above to read the entire piece.

• Winners and Losers of North American Sports | Best Tickets

Andrew Powell-Morse of Best Tickets recently shared a new data visualization he worked on showing the most successful sports franchises across all four major leagues.

The Spurs tied for first in win percentage across all sports with the Los Angeles Lakers. Powell-Morse also took a look at the best bang for your buck in Pro Sports. In the NBA, the Spurs offer the second best value.

They are followed closely by the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs. Spurs tickets are the 8th-most expensive in the league, but the Spurs bring everything to the table for fans with a winning pedigree as well as a team that is at the top of their game. Right now, it just doesn’t get much better than Spurs basketball.

• How the Spurs get away with overpaying role players | SB Nation

Tom Ziller says the Spurs can get away with overpaying for role players like Boris Diaw and Patty Mills in large part due to the Spurs’ main core taking less.

At $10 million, Duncan is an absolute steal. Barring an extension, he’ll be a free agent next summer and will probably convince himself to take even less despite still being effective. He kept his body in impeccable shape into his late 30s, and there’s really no telling how long he can go. Manu was the Spurs’ last bad contract in 2012-13 at $14 million. In 2013-14, he took a huge paycut (down to $7.5 million) and had a huge comeback season. Because, of course. These are the Spurs.

Parker is the cheapest perennial MVP candidate alive not on a rookie deal or second contract. Kawhi is a legit star these days … and a mid-first rookie deal, which is even cheaper than most studs’ rookie deals. Green will make $4 million and be one of the league’s best perimeter defenders next season. Splitter’s the only starter who isn’t an outright steal at $9 million next season, but that’s a totally reasonable, fair and affordable deal for San Antonio. Skilled centers ain’t cheap

• The Amazing Aberration that is the San Antonio Spurs | Red94

Richard Li of Rockets blog Red 94 talks about the Spurs bucking trends with their passing, and how it normally doesn’t translate into better offense.

More and quicker passing does not correlate with better offense. From a statistical perspective, this is what makes the Spurs a true aberration. By passing the ball and being offensively efficient, they are essentially going against the grain of the NBA. Three teams pass more per possession, and their offenses are all below average. Philadelphia, who hold onto the ball almost as little as the Spurs, has the worst offense in the NBA. On the other hand, the Thunder, who do not pass much per possession and hold onto the ball quite a bit, also has a pretty good offense.

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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