A lot of people thought that for most of the season the Spurs were the best team in the NBA. They made that clear in the NBA Finals. They ran the Heat right out of the gym in games 3, 4 and 5 and finished the series in 5 games. Many people including myself thought this series would be a lot like last year’s. I picked the Heat to win in a thrilling series that would end in 7 games. After games 1 and 2 I could have sworn that my prediction was going to be correct. But the Spurs came out and dominated the last 3 games of the series. The Spurs roster top to bottom was the clear cut best in the NBA. It’s hard to find flaws in their roster construction…they have 3 future hall of famers and the deepest and most effective bench in the league, oh and they have Pop. They were deep at every position and could rebound, shoot, and defend as well as anyone. Kawhi Leonard rightfully got Finals MVP but they had multiple guys that were in the running. They were better than the Heat at 4 positions on the court no matter what group was out there for them. The Spurs are a classy organization and group of guys that deserve and have earned everything they have received. You never hear about guys getting in trouble or any distractions in SA. I was rooting for the Heat, but i can’t lie It was cool to see Duncan enjoying it with his kids and Ginobili kissing his wife. I tweeted it yesterday: I think it’s awesome to see guys who make millions of dollars care so much about their craft…on both sides. Seeing the joy and jubilation on the Spurs side, and the frustration and sadness on the Heat side is awesome to see as sports fans.
Popovich has the be the second best coach in the history of the NBA right? Not only has he won 5 championships, the Spurs have been a solid team every single year he has been the coach. It’s not just the rings, it’s the way he got the rings. He has constructed the best team he could, not just a collection of the best athletes. He used international flavor better than anyone in the history of the league. He has an unbelievable eye for talent…to think Danny Green was a starter for this championship team after failing to make other rosters is outrageous. Nobody has a better feel for his team and manges minutes better than Pop. In my opinion, he’s the second best to ever put on the sideline suit.
Lastly…LeBron. The fact that people are ripping LeBron for this finals loss is crazy. He absolutely carried this Heat team the entire season. Nobody does more for their team than this guy. He is their leading scorer, assist man and rebounder on most nights, and he covers the best opposing player no matter what postion he plays. The Spurs were just a clear cut better team than the Heat. Do people understand that it’s a team sport? Like i get it if you want to compare LeBron to the greatest of all time he has to be graded by the highest of high standards. But i just don’t think you can look at LeBron and be like “Well he’s 2-3 in the finals which is bad so he can’t be up there with the greatest of all time.” That’s just not fair. People forget how hard it is to win a championship. Elgin Baylor, Stockton & Malone, Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, and Patrick Ewing are some of the greats that never hoisted a single trophy. Durant, Westbrook, CP3, Mel and Steve Nash, are all some of the current ones who don’t have a ring. You have to take more into account. Like the first time LeBron was in the championship and got swept by the Spurs…his team was average at best. The second and third best players on that team were Mo Williams and Big Z…come on now. LeBron takes a super average Cavs team all the way to the finals, and they lose to a great Spurs team so it becomes a negative? LeBron puts the Heat on his back all year, and falls to another great Spurs team, so it’s a negative? I get it, the greatest have to come through in the biggest moments, which is why the finals is worth so much. In the loss to the Mavs, he flat out crumbled. He was terrible and consistently wilted late in fourth quarters, you can always hold that one against him. All I’m saying is I don’t think carrying 1 very average team, and 1 decent team all the way to the finals, then losing to 2 great Spurs teams with 3 future hall of famers and the second greatest NBA coach ever is something that should define LeBron’s legacy.
— Steve Butabi