That's not enough to keep them from being written off as contenders by most, something that has become a preseason tradition over the last few years. Even their former starting small forward Bruce Bowen, who had his jersey retired by the franchise earlier this year, thinks last season may have been their best shot to add a fifth championship.
"I think they will always have the chance to be top three of the West," Bowen told HoopsHype. "I think it was a telltale situation last year as far as experience winning over everything else. As (David) Robinson said, the supporting cast of the Spurs didn't have that kind of playoff experience. They weren't really tested in the previous rounds. With the Thunder, they needed to do some necessary adjustments. (Danny) Green and (Kawhi) Leonard, they had never been in that position before. It was a little different.
"In this game you can't just say 'Oh well, next year we'll get it.' You have to take advantage of your opportunities when you have them. And that was a huge opportunity for the Spurs. They just got beat by a younger version of them in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. They are a big three, defensive-minded, young, athletic team. You can't teach youth in the NBA. In essence, the pupil surpassed the teacher." Is the Spurs' championship window still open? ? USATODAY.com