Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
The Spurs win the West! What kind of shot do they have against the East?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: What, the West suddenly is the D-League? Yes, Memphis has flaws, Oklahoma City was hurt, Golden State overachieved as it was and – ha! ha! – some people actually expected the Lakers to still be standing at this point. But none of that has a thing to do with San Antonio’s fitness to win it all. The Spurs have the best coach in the NBA, the best point guard these days, an echoes-stirring Hall of Famer and role players who do what they’re supposed to. I see San Antonio as a toss-up vs. Miami now and a favorite vs. Indiana. So yeah, a big chance.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: I’ll make this short and sweet. Spurs in six against either one.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: I believe the Spurs have such a good chance to win it all that I’m declaring them the favorite right here, right now, no matter which team prevails out of the East. If it’s Indiana, give me the Spurs in 6. If it’s the Heat, give me the Spurs in 6. No player has elevated his game to a higher degree than Tony Parker and no team is playing more cohesive, efficient ball than the San Antonio Spurs.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Definitely give them a chance, enough that maybe the question should be “How much of a chance do you give the East winner against the Spurs?” Beating the Grizzlies in the Western Conference final, at a time Memphis had been playing so well, would have been impressive enough. Sweeping the Grizz is an incredible run-up to the championship series. And now San Antonio gets to rest while Miami and Indiana knock each other around for at least two more games and possibly longer. The Spurs, of course, are voting for longer.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: I give them a great chance against either potential opponent. If they play Miami, they have the pick-and-roll game, ball movement, and weak-side shooting to take advantage of the Heat’s aggressiveness. They also protect the rim very well when Duncan and Splitter are on the floor together. Against Indiana, I think Tony Parker, with his mid-range game and floaters, can take advantage of the way the Pacers defend pick-and-rolls. The Spurs scored pretty easily against the league’s No. 1 defense in the two regular season meetings, and Parker had 33 points and 10 assists in the second of the two. The Heat could change my mind in the next few days, but right now, I’m leaning toward picking the Spurs no matter who the opponent is.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: I give them an even shot against the Heat and will go as high as 75 percent against the Pacers. Any fears I had of the Spurs being too old were doused with their back-to-back undressing of younger, “more athletic” upstarts in Golden State and Memphis. The Benjamin Button All-Stars showed me that they have every intention of finishing what they started in the playoffs last year, when their run was interrupted by those young guns from Oklahoma City. The Spurs have an experience advantage over the Pacers that would be pronounced in The Finals. They’d have no such advantage if they matched up with the Heat. But based on the way they handled the Warriors and Grizzlies, they’d have just as good of a chance to walk away with the Larry O’Brien trophy as the Heat in a best-of-seven series.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: A great chance. No matter which team comes out of the East. Honestly, what kind of team do they not match up against? They’ve got one of the best post players of all-time, they’ve got one of the best point guards in the League, they’ve got a killer sixth man, they’ve got wing scoring and defense, they’ve got depth, and they’ve got arguably the best coach of his generation. They might not be the most exciting team in the League, but they are one of the best, if not the best.
Akshay Manwani, NBA.com India: It would be a good series no matter who the Spurs play, but I think they will eventually run out of steam. Compared to both Miami and Indiana, San Antonio’s an older outfit. Miami will beat them with their athleticism while the Pacers are a very physical team who are simply relentless on the boards. But yes, like I said, it will be a fascinating 2013 NBA Finals.
Eduardo Schell, NBA España: It’s 2013. An odd year like ’99, ’03, ’05 and ’07. Just watch the trend here and bear in mind that the Cocoon-type swimming pool at San Antonio is still giving eternal youth to Duncan, Ginobili and Parker. So the very well-coached Spurs have a chance. They work as a unit, an orchestra – a true TEAM aiming for a Hollywood ending for this dynasty. And with the curse lifted off T-Mac, anything can happen.
Adriano Albuquerque, NBA Brasil: A very good chance. The Spurs actually look like the best team in the league right now. Against the Grizzlies, they showed that they have multiple ways to win games and if you negate one of them, they will only come back stronger. The keys to beating San Antonio, exposed by the Warriors in the second round, are guard speed and outside shooting, and neither the Heat or the Pacers have both of these. Also, no one seems able to slow down Tony Parker. The Spurs look like the favorites right now.