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Monday, January 31, 2011

Attention back on the Weberian Spurs

by Charvaka

The Spurs are atop of the league and absolutely rocking when compared to the competition. Typically guarded about their success and cautiously optimistic of their championship possibilities, the Spurs are going about their business as "normally" as possible. But the reaction nationally (and internationally) to the Spurs dominance of 2010-11 has been till now, puzzling.

The Spurs have either been relatively ignored or dismissed — remember all those experts who said an injury is waiting to happen to derail the Spurs' chances —in recent years. This is in comparison to the near frenzy coverage afforded to the much touted Miami Heat(les) or the atypical big market teams including the over-hyped New York Knicks. Chris Sheridan of ESPN New York for example, embodies the derision for the Spurs and the hyper-love for the mediocre Knicks the most, as he tries to make a mountainous story out of every molehill quote from a Knicks organisation person, while striving to undercut the euphoria for the winning Spurs based on his irrational expectations of “inevitable” health problems for their main players. Then, there is the Car'Melodrama' that seems to define this season more than any other story. 

But as the Spurs' juggernaut rolls on, that kind of attention or lack thereof cannot any longer continue. Now, you have a grudging acceptance of the Spurs' contending status. Advanced stats based experts of the game — the relatively more objective lot – are already calling express attention to the Spurs' dominance. The storyline back in some conscientious outlets hovers around the Spurs' sound fundamentals — the fact that the team has consistently won since Tim Duncan's drafting, the value based culture that has spawned the winning and the continuity of all of it, the Spurs' value addition to the league in the form of front office, coaching and scouting expertise and the "Groundhog Day" phenomena about the organization. This article from a Nets beat writer is the best example recently speaking to all of the above and how the Nets are keen to emulate the Spurs. 

To the long time Spurs fan, all this is again expected. The lack of continuous love for the Spurs and attention to its winning ways and the reasons for its squad's renewed dominance is a function both of the fact that the team plays for a smaller market and also that the squad is low key by the league's terms of glamor and showmanship. Apropos the latter, while across the league, those attributes are necessary to fuel emotions and give cutting edges to athletic abilities; in the Spurs' case, these are seen as distractions from the core of its way of playing basketball. But let us dwell on the former aspect.