Recipe for a championship

"It has been said that the team that controls the boards will probably control the game and this statement will usually hold true."  - Coach John Wooden


First off, props to McDyess, Timmeh, Ginobes and the rest of the Spurs for a gutsy playoff performance win or lose. Much respect.

However, in the interest of the future, once again, I have decided to show what made the Spurs great and the recipe for success in basketball. There  was a time when the paint was a place of terror for opponents where only fools treaded. Opponents looking for an easy layup or show stopping dunks, were turned away like a homeless man entering a fine restuarant. It was known that to enter the paint area was to risk one's manhood. Many would be high flyers were served a basketball sandwich consisting of a long arms and glass.

Made even worse for opponents was the philosophy of the wine master. He instructed his perimeter defenders to deny the middle and force opponents to the baseline (which would act as an extra defender). Waiting for those hapless opponents were bookend seven footers on each side. Perfect in design, flawless in execution. There was a Patton like zero tolerance for letting a player drive the middle. Any violation of that rule resulted in automatic time out, a tongue lashing and a nice cold seat on the bench.

Offensive rebounds were as unheard of as a good set of teeth on a an Englishman. It was simply not allowed. A swarm of seven footers, Mack truck energy guys like Malik Rose and half insane guards would crash the boards. 

Big men were the foundation of the Spurs future success. However, the dynasty began for real with the arrival  of Mr. Shutdown, the human lock down torture cell on the perimeter...Bruce Bowen. This cat changed the Spurs from a contender to legends. Mr. Shutdown would take the opponents premier outside player and wreak havoc. Every shot was contested, legs flailed, the guy was inside the opponents shirt all game long all the time. Inside, a bevy of seven footers surrounded and harassed even the likes of the west coast pot roast, Shaq. The bottom line is, you win a championships with Bruce Bowen. That mix of inside length (which is difficult to assemble, but the Spurs did it over and over again) with a perimeter lock down guy is unbeatable. People don't realize how rare somebody like Bowen is. There have been guys like Joe Dumars, Dennis Johnson, Mo Cheeks, Michael Cooper, but they don't come along very often. These perimeter shutdown guys are the crown jewels of the basketball world.

Another big factor in winning championships is having peeps that stretch opponents D. The guys that are threats from deep downtown. Notice a pattern forming here? You cut off the court on defense, you stretch the court on offense. Having athletic slashers is exciting and effective in the regular season, but come playoff time, stretching the court is what the doctor ordered.

Having an old school bad ass is pretty much required if you really want to win a championship. The Spurs have had more than their share. When the Spurs brought in an old timer, it was usually a bad ass with an attitude and pension for clutch performance. The big dog, Mario, the horror, Willis, Smith. These dudes brought a championship attitude. You can not coach what these guys have. You play next to a Robert Horry and you step your game up...period. That is understood.

Also, the Spurs never put a joker on the court. Dumb fucks were immediately removed from the game after the first halfhearted play or missed defensive assignment. Danny Ferry was a clown, but the Stone-cutter made him turn himself into a scratching clawing serviceable big man. Low on athletic talent, but he would mix it up and stay in front of anyone he guarded. There were no ESPN highlights of 360 jams in Spur faces. Seriously, I can't remember somebody turning the Spurs into a poster. The days of old man river, Terry Porter, looking like jello pudding guarding Kobe, were over. I won't insert any Bonner comments here, but the red death is a class A example of what I am talking about.

Finally, there is wine master, the defensive sage, Genghis Khan in dress pants, Greg Popovich. In his prime, he set down a pattern and never deviated from it. He never settled for anything less than a plate of prime rib bad ass hustle, fundamentals and team play. He stocked his team with fearless long distance shooters, old timers with attitude, a superstar perimeter defender, length, height and a head for the game.

That my friends is championship basketball. Here is the breakdown of a championship team versus a borderline playoff team.

The recipe for success is...

1. Get a coach that is unbending in his defensive philosophy

2. Get a perimeter lock down guy

3. Get a stud big man or two

4. Bring in several serviceable big men

5. Collect three point threats

6. Bring in an old school bad ass


2003 Championship Spurs

Mengke Bateer      C      6-11      290      1
Bruce Bowen     F     6-7     185     6 
Devin Brown     G     6-5     220     R 
Speedy Claxton     G     5-11     166     1
Tim Duncan     F-C     6-11     248     5 
Danny Ferry     F     6-10     230     12     
Manu Ginobili     G     6-6     210     R     
Anthony Goldwire G     6-1     182     4         
Stephen Jackson     F     6-8     218     2     
Steve Kerr     G     6-3     175     14     
Tony Parker     G     6-2     180     1     
David Robinson     C     7-1     235     13     
Malik Rose     F     6-7     250     6
Steve Smith     G     6-7     200     11
Kevin Willis     F-C     7-0     220     17

1. Quality Interior Big Men: 2
2. Serviceable Big Men: 2
3. 3 Point Threats: 7
4. Slasher: 3
5. Old School Bad Ass: 2
6.  Energy guy: 3

2010 Spurs

DeJuan Blair      F      6-7      265      R      
Keith Bogans     G-F     6-5     215     6     
Matt Bonner     F     6-10     240     5     
Tim Duncan     F-C     6-11     248     12         
 Manu Ginobili     G     6-6     210     7     
Malik Hairston     G     6-6     220     1     
Marcus Haislip     F     6-10     230     3     
George Hill     G     6-2     180     1     
Cedric Jackson     G     6-3     191     R     
Richard Jefferson F     6-7     222     8     
Ian Mahinmi     C     6-11     230     1     
Roger Mason     G     6-5     200     5     
Antonio McDyess F-C     6-9     220     13     
Tony Parker     G     6-2     180     8         
Garrett Temple     G     6-6     190     R     

1. Quality Interior Big Men: 1 *Aging Duncan
2. Serviceable Big Men: 1
3. 3 Point Threats: 4
4. Slasher: 4
5. Old School Bad Ass: 0
6. Energy guy: 3

If the Spurs want to return to greatness, this is the recipe. It is time to start thinking about Pop's replacement, getting some stud inside players, old school bad asses, serious three point threats and a world class perimeter defender.

We owe Pop a lot for setting down a pattern of success, but an eye on the future would do a lot more than wishful thinking about getting on some magical run for Tim's last go round without a total commitment from the coach and the horses in the stable. Peter Holt put his money up, so respect for him, but bringing in Jefferson turned out to be a very poor choice. We are Spurs. We don't settle for second best. We don't hold our position. We let Phoenix and Utah do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy's balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!"

Let's get to thinking in the off season and start going Medieval on the basketball court again.


The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.

-Vince Lombardi

This is fan-created content on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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