From the comments of Cashmere:
Did you just stop short of saying that this has a lot to do with Popovich? -- silverandblack_davis
No, I didn't stop short of it. I didn't want to go there. Why? Why didn't I want to go there? Come on in. Enter the mind of the devil.
The softness of the team is something I had wanted to write about for quite some time. Lack of clarity had held me up. I didn't know how to contain it. I didn't know how to frame it. What were the boundaries for what I could illustrate? Where did my ignorance begin? Trying to capture all my intuitions into a single post was daunting.
I was having a hard time figuring out how to take my impressions of the season, put them to words, then proffer solutions. I didn't have solutions because I wasn't comfortable placing the blame.
Blame is a many splendored thing. Who's to blame for the bird's egg falling out of the nest? The nest builder doing an insufficient job? The wind? The arborist who prunes the tree robbing the tree of stability? The kid who threw his ball into the tree and shifted the nest?
Who's to blame for the erosion of a beach? The land developer? The politician who approved the development? The condo owner who purchased it? The hurricane that devoured it? The Saharan wind the birthed the hurricane?
Who's to blame for the wasted life of the alcoholic? The liquor company? The spouse who refused to help? The weak compulsive mind of the alcholic?
When you enter that intersection and the stupid high school kid t-bones your car and puts you in the hospital or ends your life, does blame make a shitload of difference? Not to me. There's no solace in being dead. It's incumbent upon me to do everything I can to not be the victim. I won't ever find piece of mind in being right. Not when I'm in a hospital bed. Not when I'm dead.
For the 2008-2009 Spurs, the fact is we weren't that good. We were soft. It doesn't matter why. The record shows we finished third in the West and lost in the first round. No volume of ALL CAPS ARGENTINE RANTING will change those facts. Every one of us has an opinion why that might have happened, but those opinions don't matter. They won't change the facts.
The path of the season threw obstacles at the Spurs. In 08-09, they weren't able to overcome the obstacles to win a championship. The front office chose the roster. It could have been better. Manu was hurt. It could have been related to the Olympics. Tim was awesome in stretches, hurt in stretches, and maybe he is getting old. Tony was good most of the time and seemed to be his best ever. MudButt had a hot streak. Cubits was uneven and might have been too much of a rookie. Bruce's role was reduced and maybe he's done. Pop played it differently and nursed them instead of browbeating them.
We were what we were. We finished the way we finished. I don't need to blame someone.
Blame is the outcome of somebody looking for an excuse. I don't need an excuse. I just know what I saw.