Here we are folks. It's nearly playoff time and there are still some scenarios to be played out and questions to be answered.
Right about now, us fans and so-called experts will start looking at possible match-ups and seeding arrangements. Which team will the Spurs face and how do we/they stack up? Well, don't look now, but the Lakers are streaking. Why wouldn't they be? The Black Mamba guaranteed the playoffs, did he not? The Jazz are free falling. The Clippers buckled under the pressure of being looked at as favorites. According to ESPN, the Heat can only lose to the Dream Team. It should also be noted that the Spurs are doing their version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute, they are embarrassing the uber talented OKC Thunder and the next minute they are embarrassing themselves against the Wolves. (Well, at least the last couple of games have been shaky.)
Let's forget about seeding for a minute and talk about match-ups. As a matter of fact, sambrunell already got the party started with this fine article. A player by player breakdown is always fun, but I believe there is more to consider. To be honest, this will always spur the most conversation and is the method I would prefer as well. However, I will say that this method does not always do the Spurs justice. As soon as you plug in the Lakers, for example, you will immediately start to think of the issues that the Spurs will have with them. Who's better than Kobe? Dwight? Never mind, this is already starting to stress me out. That is until, I remember that the Spurs are greater than the sum of their parts.
What is the word that the media loves to throw out about the Spurs and their success? System! I cannot place my finger on it, but this word bothers me. I would much rather say that it is a philosophy. Now, I could go into detail about the Spurs syste..rrr... philosophy and give you a ton of examples. However, the great folks of PTR have this covered. One on one, we can always think of why Player X will create problems and how we would not match up against them. It just doesn't, thoroughly, explain intangibles. Westbrook is better than Parker, right? Kobe better than the world. Dwight better than Splitter/Duncan, etc.
Will Parker go on a 0-6 shooting streak? Will Dwight shift around the paint, with the sole purpose of creating space for Gasol? What will Leonard do if double-teamed? Will Kobe defer a shot to Steve Blake, if he is double-covered and Blake is wide open in the last minute of 4th Quarter? The Spurs philosophy will always trump (at least in my mind) the battle of individuals. The Spurs are a finely tuned, piece of machinery. Other teams may have better tires or engines, but not better vehicles. In my mind, there are only 3 teams that the Spurs should worry about. 1 in the East and 2 in the West. Hint: Neither are Lakers or Rockets.
As the playoffs approach, which teams are as well put together as the Spurs? Heat, Thunder and Nuggets. (IMHO)
Heat: Spurs bench has them questioning their own greatness.
Nuggets: Close game, final shot...who takes it for the Nuggets?
Thunder: Their bench looked better with Harden on it. Whew!