Going FJM-style with "Sprinting to the Finish Line"

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

How's this for a persecution complex?

I'm bored, and feeling a little catty, so just for the hell of it I thought I'd go "Fire Joe Morgan" on the Spurs section of Zach Lowe's "Sprinting to the Finish Line," column on grantland.com. Enjoy.

6. Remember the Spurs?

The fan base with the league's biggest persecution complex can relax: We all see your team,

I don't know why any of us would have a persecution complex when you start the Spurs section of your article with a rip on the fans. I was also not aware that Mr. Lowe was elected as the official spokesperson for the national basketball-covering media, but clearly congratulations are in order. Bully for you, sir.

and it may well finish the season as the overall championship favorites.

There is nothing that can happen between now and the end of the NBA regular season, short of the sentence, "Can you believe that Kevin Durant and LeBron James just decided to up and quit the sport out of the blue to join the Houston Astros?" that would prompt anyone at Grantland to declare them "the overall championship favorites."

On TNT, after they beat the defending champs, Charles Barkley declared that at least five Western teams could beat the Spurs in the playoffs. But sure, let's go with your premise.

Part of the reason the Spurs haven't received as much attention as usual is because they've barely been the Spurs.

They never get much attention precisely because they ARE the Spurs. If they've barely been the Spurs then that would be interesting in that it'd be different and thus would merit attention.

Talking head #1: "Say, did you hear the Spurs have a woman playing for them now, and a Martian, and also a hyper-intelligent ferret? Why, I barely recognize them now."

Talking head #2: "Well obviously we should ignore them then."

See, that's crazy.

Almost every rotation player has missed significant time because of injury or "a variety of maladies"; the Spurs are one of just four teams without a lineup that has logged at least 200 minutes, and with three or fewer that have even cracked 100 minutes together, per NBA.com.

You know how many Spurs lineups cracked 100 minutes together last season, in an 82-game sample size? Four. Their fourth-most common lineup played all of 108 minutes together. Their fifth-most used lineup had Cory Joseph on it. The most common used lineup with Manu Ginobili in it played 58 minutes together.


We just don't know this iteration of the Spurs Borg,

For you non-Trekkies, the Borg weren't a bunch of harmless, tennis-loving Swedes. Rather, they were cyborgs who traveled the galaxy to systematically "assimilate" (i.e. destroy) all living inhabitants. In other words, bad guys. Again though, it's absurd for Spurs fans to have such a silly persecution complex.

which makes it even more ridiculous they're atop the West at 46-16.

"It makes no sense that a team we're not watching because they're too injured has the best record. I demand that Adam Silver change their record to one commensurate with my attention-level and roster expectations."

They've lost the tiebreaker already with Oklahoma City, they've split head-to-head with Miami, and they're 0-1 against Indiana with one game remaining. Bottom line, the race for the league's top overall seed is also going to be fun.


San Antonio has struggled to score with the Tiago Splitter-Tim Duncan combination, a discouraging setback after Gregg Popovich spent years gradually building a functional offense around the team's best defensive front-line duo - a process that finally came together last season.8

The Spurs best defensive players should also be their best offensive players because that's totally normal. KEVIN DURANT FOR DPOY.

It can start the process of doing so again now that Splitter is healthy and looking spry. It would help if Duncan could rediscover some consistency in his jump shot, and if one of the deep reserve bigs could stand up and grab the fourth rotation spot behind Boris Diaw.

Having a useful fourth-big is really important in the NBA in 2014. Also important: Land-line telephones, acid-wash jeans and a "Members Only" jacket. Also I have no memory of Kawhi Leonard in the Finals last year.

All the pieces are here. The Spurs might have the deepest wing rotation in the league with Marco Belinelli on board, the irresistible Patty Mills has solidified the backup point guard spot, and the team has plenty of time to coalesce now. Watch out.

If we're not careful these guys might be good enough for me to pick them to lose in five games to Oklahoma City.

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