Friday, August 31, 2007

The San Antonio Spurs, a boring team?

The TV ratings of the 2007 NBA Finals dropped significantly. One of the suggested reason was that a lot of people thinks the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers are the two most boring team in the NBA. Well, whoever believed in this, does not consider the bad teams as boring. It would be more valid, if they say the most boring playoffs teams. But in my opinion, then this statement is only half true, the Cavs is boring but the Spurs is quite exciting to watch. It is my believe that whoever think the Spurs is a boring team are not real basketball fans, they don’t care about winning but only enjoy highlights real plays, they would probably enjoy watching street ball more, which I consider as crap. Those are people who only watch the NBA occasionally (probably only the All-Star game and the playoffs) but do not actually play and cannot play the game of basketball.

Its true, Cleveland Cavaliers is a boring team to watch!
Yes, they have LeBron James, but that is all they got. The Cavs is a solid defensive team, with a couple of solid big men guarding the paint and LeBron’s athleticism to defend the perimeter. Of course, playing in a weak eastern conference help pad the statistics too. In the offensive end, the Cavs got nothing, they basically have only two plays, dump the ball down to Ilgauskas and let him post up, find the open man if double teaming by opposing team. The other play is give LeBron the ball and let him go to the hoop, pass to open man for shot if double teamed, pull up jumper if can’t shake the defender or hope the referees bail him out and get to the free throw line. Are they a boring team? Hell yeah!

Why are people considering the San Antonio Spurs a boring team?
There are only two generic reasons only, really. The Spurs only plays defense and a slow half-court game offensively. Which is true, if you watch a Spurs game, you are guaranteed to see the Spurs plays well defensively and they will dictate the pace of their game to their liking, which they tries to eliminate fast break and easy basket opportunities for their opposing team and plays a slow half-court game.

Why is it enjoyable to watch the Spurs then?
Fast break opportunities usually generated from opposing team’s misses and turnovers. Very few teams, only Phoenix Suns to be exact, can run and fast break on other team’s makes. But this exactly what the Spurs defense causes, turnovers and misses then they have one of the fastest point guard, Tony Parker, he may not dunk but seeing him blew by other NBA players is pretty amazing. The Spurs also have Manu Ginobili, who is one of the best in the open court and hitting circus shot, and get by defenders with some somewhat weird moves, which is also pretty interesting and enjoyable to see such creativity. As for the Spurs half court game, their attention to detail and ability to make the right pass to get a good shot is just fun to watch. I think this requires the viewer to be a basketball player, who had played a lot of basketball and been to similar situations, to know how difficult this is. Fortunately, I am such a basketball player/viewer to be able to enjoy the Spurs’ game.

I know this is a very short argument and probably can’t convince the Spurs haters to like the Spurs but there is no point to type 5 pages to do so. Because I am not a Spurs fan, I just think they play the game right and well, so I don’t need to defend them to death to convince people who don’t understand basketball to appreciate the Spurs’ playing styles.