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Would the Spurs have beaten the Warriors?

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In The Bonus returns with the PtR staff giving their opinion on the NBA finals.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

1 - The Warriors put numbers similar to the Jordan Bulls this season. Will they be considered one of the best teams of their era?

Michael Erler: It all depends on if they can repeat or at least do what the Spurs did from 2003-2007 and win like three in five years. If they're just a random one-and-done champion a la the '04 Pistons, I think their accomplishments will be diminished and dismissed as somewhat fluky. As dominant as they were all season long, it's going to hurt them a bit historically that they struggled to beat a Cavs team with LeBron James and four hobos he carpooled to the games with. The '96 Bulls also went six games with Seattle, but that Sonics team was really, really good. Also, I get the feeling Spurs fans will always remember the way they absolutely trucked Golden State in their last regular season meeting on Easter. The rest of the world doesn't care, but we're a peculiar bunch.

Bruno Passos: If we're looking at teams by season, then they'll have to be up there. They were one of the most dominant regular season teams we've seen (by record and point differential), were favored in every series they went into, and won the chip. Oh, and they had the league MVP.

Chris Itz: They were great in the regular season and they were underwhelming in the Finals. They need another championship before I'm ready to include them in a conversation involving best-of.

Jesus Gomez: They had down games in the playoffs but they were amazing in the regular season. The fact that they didn't face the Clippers or the Spurs in the postseason hurts their legacy but you can only play the teams in front of you. I think they are one of the best teams of the past 10 years.

2 - Golden State could ostensibly bring everyone back. Are they a dynasty in the making?

Erler: I don't know how much longer Andrew Bogut has left as an effective player, so they'll need Festus Ezeli to take over for him, and if the Finals are any indication, he's ready and capable to do just that. They're gonna lose David Lee soon to free up the money for Draymond Green. They may have to lose Harrison Barnes a year from now either because Stephen Curry's next deal is looming and it's gonna be for all the money.

Passos: Their core of Thompson, Green and Curry is young enough to give them a chance, while Kerr's first year more than suggests he's the coach for the job. It also helps that Curry and, to a lesser extent, Thompson are on cap-friendly deals that make long-term success far more sustainable. But the competition in the West is still too tough to see them significantly distancing themselves from the field.

Itz: I'd bet against them returning to the Finals in 2016.

Gomez: They could be. No one is too old, no one is too expensive to keep. They haven't tune out their coach and the stars seem to get along. The talent is definitely there. The only question is health. Andrew Bogut missed some games but they were healthy for most of the season. An injury to Curry or even Green would have derailed their run and that might come next year. There was a time in which the Thunder looked like a dynasty in the making and that didn't happen, so I'll wait a little before penciling then in for more championships.

3 - LeBron James had a terrific performance in the loss. Should the MVP award had gone to him?

Erler: Probably? But I'm not losing any sleep over it. After they gave it to Kobe Bryant in 2010, I was prepared for anything. I think if it went seven they would've had to give it to him, but losing 4-2 and having Andre Iguodala be unquestionably the Warriors most consistent performer over the six games gave the voters just enough of an excuse to squeeze him in there. It helped that Iguodala was the guy guarding LeBron on the other end as well.

Passos: There's a good case for it, especially because if he and Iguodala were to swap teams the outcome would be very different. I'm happy for the award to go to a guy on the winning team, but maybe its name needs to be tweaked a bit so that it always suggests that's the case. I agree with those that say if LeBron didn't win it this year, it's hard to see any Finals loser getting it in the future.

Itz: Normally I'm against the idea of giving the award to a losing player, but no one on the Warriors stood out. Without LeBron the Finals wouldn't have been a series.

Gomez: Yes, probably. He was the best player in the series by such a huge margin that any individual award should have gone to him. Unfortunately that's not how things work. Sure, Jerry West won it despite losing the finals but the league has changed a lot since then.

4 - The Cavaliers will likely have James, Irving, Love, Varejao, Mozgov, Thompson and Sumpert on their roster next season. Are they the favorite to come out of the East?

Erler: As we've seen, just having LeBron makes you the favorite to come out of the East. Like I wrote in my Game 6 recap, I'm done picking against that guy in that conference.

Passos: Yes. I'm not sure who would unseat them as favorites in what looks like another weak year for the East, regardless of what they do with Love. And they still have LeBron James.

Itz: They're without question the favorites to come out of the East. It's not close.

Gomez: I have a feeling the Bulls are going to surprise people next season. Noah will get rest and likely return to form, Fred Hoiberg will use Nikola Mirotic more and Derrick Rose might finally be healthy. If Jimmy Butler returns, I can see them being the type of team that can unseat the Cavaliers. But for now, Cleveland is the team to beat.

5 - Do you think the Spurs would have been able to beat the Warriors?

Erler: I'm ambivalent about it. I keep going back and forth. The more time passes, the more we romanticize these Spurs, I feel. On one hand, the Warriors weren't impressive at all in the Finals. I watched all the games intently and thought to myself "the Spurs could've beaten these teams," a hundred times over the course of the series. But the thing is, we're falling into the trap of thinking about them as the 2013-14 Spurs and not the 2014-15 version. Tony Parker was awful against the Clippers, Manu Ginobili looked to be on his last legs playing barely 18 minutes per game, and even Tiago Splitter was broken. It's just hard to see that crew, with the accumulated wear and tear of two playoff rounds, beating a Warriors team that would've had home court advantage on them.

The 2013-14 Spurs? Oh they would've beaten the Dubs like they stole something from them. The Spurs we saw against the Clippers? I just can't get there.

Passos: Probably, but I think we always knew the Spurs had a chance to beat any team this year. It was the difference between expectations and reality that ultimately defined this year's squad.

Itz: The Spurs have beaten the Warriors eight of the last nine times the teams have met. The Spurs outscored the Warriors by 81 points over those nine. The Spurs were the only team that won the regular season series against GSW. I'm not sure that SA would have won a series, but I'm sure that the Spurs were the team that the Warriors wanted to see the least.

Gomez: They could have beaten them. I'm convinced of that. No other team had the ability to match any style the Warriors decided to play as well as the Spurs. That being said, who knows if the Spurs would have beaten the Rockets? The playoffs are all about matchups and while San Antonio had a better shot than most against Golden State, other teams gave them trouble.