30 to 16 to 1:(Pt. 8 Rnd2 San Antonio Spurs): The Forgotten Kings

Posted on 08/10/2010 by

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The Basics:

30 to 16 to 1. Based on a half baked notion, that since the true goal of any NBA season is to turn thirty teams into one champion and as we saw in my earlier piece, what wins in the regular season is not necessarily what  gets you the trophy, my 2010 Playoff Review series continues.

The Half-Baked Notion:

Simple (based on 2010 numbers):

  • The best two players accounted for 55% of a teams wins in the 2010 Playoffs.
  • The top three players are just below the pareto threshold
  • The next three (4,5,6th man) account for the rest of the positive win contribution about equally.
  • After that everybody else actually hurt teams in the playoffs.

The format will look at the best six players in the playoffs for each team, will look at how many wins their coach/injuries might have cost them and talk about their opportunities/drawbacks going forward (and if they’ve done anything in the off-season to address these). We will go from least productive to most productive team in the Playoff (based on the table that follows now):

This piece covers the next of the 2nd Round Losers: the San Antonio Spurs.

Forgotten Kings


And you’re always talking about, “Muhammad, you’re not the same man you were 10 years ago.” Well, I asked your wife, and she told me you’re not the same man you was two years ago!

– Muhammad Ali to Howard Cosell before the fight with Foreman in Zaire.


  • The Storyline: In 2007, the San Antonio Spurs won their 3rd title in five years and cemented their claim as team of the decade. What has followed is four years of injuries and re-building. Four years in basketball is an eternity. The sport appears to have moved on.  But the Spurs, have found success before through uncommon routes. A small market team working with 6/7th of the resources of other teams (see here for detail) the spurs have drafted incredibly well (so much so that it should be considered a skill and not luck) and built arguably the most successful pound for  pound franchise in sports. I for one wouldn’t bet against them.
  • The Good: Duncan & Ginobli played well although their best may be behind them. DeJuan Blair posted a ridiculous .446 WP48 in 90 minutes in the playoff.
  • The Bad: Everyone else played well but not great.
  • The Coach: Pop is an awesome coach. He got his team to beat a good Mavs team in a transitional year. There are thirty teams that would kill their coach for a chance to sign him.
  • Needs: Health and less minutes for their Big Three.
  • Major Moves: Signed the best European available (Tiago Splitter) cheap ($11 million for 3 years) which at a minimum it gives them flexibility, saves Duncan for the playoffs and lets them play Blair. The more I think about it the more I’d bet on Pop’s talent for spotting talent and think Splitter is can’t miss. The Jefferson deal is a bad but not horrid move
  • 2011 Outlook: The Spurs are the forgotten contender. I think the Splitter/Blair/Duncan combo sets them up for the future with a scary frontcourt. Combined with their ability to develop backcourt player thru the development team and they’re the spoiler out west. I’ve already said that I think they’re at least a three seed out west. I trust Pop to play the right guys (Blair) more. I think the health of Ginobli come playoff time will be the deciding factor in whether or not their run ends in the West Finals or the Finals or with the crowds chanting “Duncan Bumaye, Duncan Bumaye!”
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