Spurs, Steph and OKC: a look around the NBA playoffs

Jeff Gross

So, I just thought I'd slap together a bunch of thoughts about the Spurs and the NBA that have been running through my head.

Golden State (Stephen Curry) is currently showing us why I'd rather play Denver. The Warriors are a beatable team, but they are an offensive juggernaut. Granted, the Nuggets defense is probably making them look better than they really are, but there's no doubt that the Warriors can fill it up. There's going to be a lot of pressure on the Spurs' perimeter defense if Golden State ends up winning that series. It'll be a lot different than playing the Lakers, who couldn't hit an outside shot to save their lives.

Oklahoma City is still a very very good team. Even without Westbrook the Thunder will not be an easy out for the Clippers or the Grizzlies, much less any team they might play in the Western Conference Finals. Durant and Co. lost a winnable game last night in Houston. It hasn't been pretty and I don't expect many other wins this postseason to be works of art from OKC. No team can lose such a key cog and keep winning the same way. That said, the Thunder still have Durant and Ibaka and many good role players. I doubt they'll go quietly.

Dwight Howard is going to get max money from the Lakers (or one of several other teams). It's not because he's necessarly earned it, but rather because there's not really anybody else who they can spend their money on who's going to be drastically better. It's the same reason Joe Johnson got a max deal and many others like him. Teams don't like letting good players get away (the exception being the Mavs), so they end up paying them like great players before wallowing in mediocrity for several more years. The Lakers will take that plunge soon, and it will be glorious.

At the ripe old age of 37, Tim Duncan is the most well-rounded big man in the NBA today. Think about it. Who's better? Sure, there are more dangerous offensive players, and even better rebounders. Perhaps there are some better at defense, although I don't think that's really likely. But there are none who can provide all of the parts of the game measured by stats and combine them with leadership, moxy and just plain old awesomeness. Yes, that's arbitrary, but am I wrong? No.

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