I've always been fascinated with the counterintuitive. I think it had to do with convincing myself at a very early age that the Sun revolved around the Earth, only to find out that I was a dumbass. Damn you, science. I remember wrestling with this foreign concept because it flew in the face of my intuition and reasoning. Looking back, I had a paradigm shift. I learned to discredit the stuff that made too much sense, and seek out the counterintuitive. What does any of this have to do with the Spurs' current situation? Well I've been thinking...
Logical reasoning says the Spurs should do everything possible to avoid the dreaded 8th seed. The seed of death. After all, what are the chances that an 8th seed will actually advance to the second round? It just doesn't happen, people! (Wait...what's that you say?.... it happened to the Mavs in 07?....errr.... moving on) And everyone knows that this year, the 8th seed in the West earns you a date on death row with defending champions. Oh you're playing the Lakers? Well just sit right there in that metal chair while I plug this cord in.
The Spurs are currently presented with a unique opportunity that doesn't exist to the teams surrounding them in the standings. Because of our 187 stumbles and false starts at the beginning of this season, we find ourselves sitting last in the playoff race. Looking up, wanting. Usually this time of year we're sitting in the top 3-4 spots waiting to find out whom we're going to play. Well this year, we've been dealt a new hand and we're not quite sure how to play it. A late surge, Parker on the mend, Tim wearing down, Manu returning to form... What's the right play here? For your consideration...
How about we just say: Enough already, we want the Lakers. Instead of relying on the intuitive, why not dance with the devil and see how this plays out? Think about that.
Why not welcome the opportunity to knock off the defending champions? Let's choose to face the Lakers and meet that challenge. If it were up to me, I'd severely limit Tim's minutes for the remainder of the season. He needs and deserves the rest. I'd play Manu selectively and focus the rest of the season on getting Tony up to speed. For us to have any shot of getting out of the 1st round we must be healthy and our legs need to be fresh.
There's something very powerful when you call down the champs and take the fight to their doorstep. I guarantee you that the Spurs are the last team the Lakers want to play, especially in the first round. Unlike most 8th seeds, we have championship experience. We have the know-how; we've connected the dots. Tony will be back. Manu has resurrected himself to shock and awe. A reality that turns the stomachs of opposing coaches and fans across the league, and one that demands the utmost respect. And a rested Tim Duncan is a deadly Tim Duncan.
Some will call me crazy. Why take on such an enormous challenge when we don't have to? They may ask. Let's save this fight for a later day when the Lakers have been weakened by other teams. Other will say, as they blatantly ignore the fact that we too will be a weakened team by then. Well I say to them: Don't tell me I'm crazy because I want to beat the best. And don't tell me that our team, when healthy, can't do it. Let's make that our goal. Let's make that statement. Let's go for broke.