The San Antonio Spurs Worst Season: 1997

The San Antonio Spurs, all the way back to their ABA days, have been one of the sport’s most consistently excellent franchises. Before 2021, the team had never missed the playoffs in consecutive years. They fell short in 1973, 1984, 1987, 1989, and 1997. Which, in turn, means their three straight playoff misses account for 37.5 percent of all the team’s missed playoff years going all the way back to the founding of the ABA in 1967. And while you can (and I will, later) dump on Gregg Popovich for not retiring as the sport has passed him by, let’s …

The San Antonio Spurs Worst Season: 1997 Read More

The San Antonio Spurs’ Best Season: 2014

The San Antonio Spurs have been one of the NBA’s best franchises since they entered the league after the ABA merger in 1976. In 45 years, they’ve won five titles in the Gregg Popovich/Tim Duncan era between 1999 and 2014, reached the conference finals in three out of five years between 1979 and 1983 when George Gervin was their biggest star, and until 2021, when a 33-39 season broke the streak, had never missed the playoffs in two consecutive years. To choose a best season from all of that, especially the run as perpetual contenders in the aughts and most …

The San Antonio Spurs’ Best Season: 2014 Read More

The Greatest Dynasties in NBA History

In celebration of their new sponsorship deal with the NBA, Mondelez International, makers of delicious junk food, decided to launch a line of Oreo cookies celebrating the NBA’s great dynasties. Featured on the cookies will be the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls, the Golden State Warriors, and…the Miami Heat. Excuse me, what? A Miami team that won just two titles in four years while being broadly regarded as responsible for the only two of LeBron James‘ six Finals losses that could be legitimately said to tarnish the legacy of a guy who otherwise has a claim …

The Greatest Dynasties in NBA History Read More

Robert Horry: Was He Any Good?

The ultimate counter-arguments to “count the rings” as a measure of NBA greatness exist in the forms of James Jones (“the only player besides LeBron James to appear in eight straight NBA Finals since the merger”, because Jones was LeBron’s teammate first in Miami and then in Cleveland), Steve Kerr (piggybacked off Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan to win five rings), and our subject for today, Robert Horry, Big Shot Rob Himself, a legend of the ’90s and the Dark Ages who won a combined seven rings with the Rockets, Spurs, and Lakers, or “more rings than anyone who never …

Robert Horry: Was He Any Good? Read More
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

Tell Your Statistics to Shut Up: The Weird Pacers-Spurs Game

This season, Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich have been, in terms of D’Antoni Index, the most mired-in-the-Dark-Ages, least inclined toward modern NBA offense teams in the entire league, and it hasn’t even been close between them and the rest of the NBA’s coaching fraternity. For those needing a primer, to calculate D’Antoni Index, you sum a team’s 3-point attempt rate (the percentage of its shots that are 3-pointers), its percentage of shots taken within 3 feet of the rim (per Basketball Reference; you can just as easily use NBA.com’s restricted area stats if …

Tell Your Statistics to Shut Up: The Weird Pacers-Spurs Game Read More

Are the 2019-20 San Antonio Spurs Good?

Of all the teams in all of professional sports, no team confounds analysis like the San Antonio Spurs. This is a team that won 48 games in the Western Conference and nearly upset the 2 seed Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs despite a coach whose offensive philosophy is so mired in the Dark Ages that if he weren’t a legend walking, he’d have been fired as the team said “we need to modernize and look toward the future.” The Spurs were dead last in 3-point attempt rate. Their two best players, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, …

Are the 2019-20 San Antonio Spurs Good? Read More

NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part V: Southwest Division

Welcome to Part 5 of our 6-part series taking a look at every contract in the NBA—except for rookies and two-way contracts, plus anyone who didn’t play in the league last season due to injury or having been overseas or something—and quantifying the ratio of minute-weighted dollars paid to Win Shares produced. To remind folks who haven’t read previous entries in this series: As a quick reminder, a rookie, veteran minimum, or midlevel exception contract should produce a Wiggins Factor below 100, a rotation player with a rotation salary should be under 200, and ideally you want your superstar-level contracts …

NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part V: Southwest Division Read More

Manu Ginobili vs. Chris Paul: Who Was Better?

Manu Ginobili is arguably the greatest foreign player ever to wear an NBA uniform—it’s pretty much down to him or Dirk Nowitzki. Which led the Twitter summer hot take machine to toss out this beauty of an argument over the weekend. Hot Take: Manu Ginóbili is better than Chris Paul — ⚡️ (@HeadbandBookk) August 12, 2019 The whole thing got me thinking. Chris Paul is worth a few superlatives in his own right, but the biggest one might be one he shares with John Stockton and Karl Malone as the best players never to win a championship. Paul is in …

Manu Ginobili vs. Chris Paul: Who Was Better? Read More

Basketball is the Ultimate Sport About Failure

Move over, baseball. Your title as biggest sport about failure has just been usurped by basketball. Because in baseball, “you can fail 70 percent of the time and be an All-Star” is both untrue (batting average is dead; all hail on-base percentage, and you’d better be getting on base closer to two times in five if you want to be a true star) and irrelevant; once you are out, you are back in the dugout and your ability to contribute meaningfully to your team’s success is done for another two or three innings. In basketball, on the other hand, some …

Basketball is the Ultimate Sport About Failure Read More

On NBA Sidelines, We See the WNBA’s True Value

As a business entity, the WNBA is just about a complete non-factor, a small blip on the NBA’s balance sheet, a league that makes barely more money in a year than one NBA player on a four-year supermax will in Year 4 of that contract. But in terms of its contributions not just to women’s sports but to sports irrespective of gender, the WNBA punches far above its weight—like on a Little Mac in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out level of punching above its weight. Kara Lawson, WNBA and Olympic champion and Washington Wizards broadcaster, was hired by the Boston Celtics to …

On NBA Sidelines, We See the WNBA’s True Value Read More