NBA: five things we learned in week 16 | Sport | guardian.co.uk NBA: five things we learned in week 16
As the season starts wrapping up – or finally getting exciting – the Spurs are surprising; is LeBron's MVP spot locked up?
3. The San Antonio Spurs have become surprisingly interesting
The San Antonio Spurs get plenty of respect, but very little love. When the Tim Duncan era ends in San Antonio, the Spurs may be remembered as the least interesting great team in NBA history. The Duncan-led spurs have won an impressive four championships, and unless one is a Spurs fans, each championship run has been less memorable than the last. This postseason might be different though, because for the first time in recent history, this Spurs team has actually been a surprise.
See, the Spurs weren't actually supposed to be relevant this year, they were expected to come into the playoff as a lower seed and probably bow out quickly and dully. However, thanks to a strong second half performance, the Spurs are currently holding onto the second seed in the Western Conference and might be one of the few teams capable of knocking off the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although Tim Duncan is headed towards the back nine of his career, and Manu Ginobili is still battling injuries, guard Tony Parker has made the team his own, almost as if it were a teammate's wife.
With the charismatic and athletic Parker in front, and the media-friendly "overachieving veterans" narrative, this is one of the more entertaining Spurs teams in years. Maybe the turning point of this change occurred a few weeks ago when Gregg Popovich wanted to give a tired Duncan a day off. On the lineup card, next to Duncan's name, Popovich wrote "DNP (Did Not Play) – Old". It's not exactly a knee-slapper of a joke, but it's a small sign that this Spurs team might actually be, gasp, fun to follow