Why the San Antonio Spurs Should No Longer Be Called the "Big Three"
The Big Three No Longer
First it was "The Twin Towers", David Robinson and Tim Duncan. They brought two NBA titles to San Antonio, a previously championship-less franchise. That was 1999 and 2003, the last of which ushered in some new, yet unfulfilled talent in Manu Ginobili. Tony Parker was still a struggling young shooter who had yet to develop into one of the most dangerous point guards in NBA history.
Then David Robinson retired.
It was now Tim Duncan's team, but like any great super star, Duncan couldn't do it alone. That was when "The Big Three", Ginobili, Parker, and Duncan truly developed and ripped off another two titles.
But are the Spurs still "The Big Three" as I hear them often referred to? I would pose they should now be called the "The Average Six or A-6". I know, I know, it doesn't have a nice of a ring to it, BUT it is so much more accurate and here is why.
Over the past several seasons failed experiments like Richard Jefferson, Stephen Jackson, and others along with aging brought the Spurs to a point where they could compete and make the playoffs, but had no real shot of winning a title. Then they started to make a series of trades, signings, and had been bringing along a few players as they had with Parker, Ginobili, Oberto, Scola and others over the years. Additionally, they made a series of great draft picks to infuse youth and talent on the roster. The results were this...
Now, the Spurs generally have one guy, either Duncan or Parker who are scoring in the 20s, although really anyone on the roster can do that at any point. Following along, the rest of the starters usually score in double digits, sometimes accumulating double doubles as Tiago Splitter does on a consistent basis these days. By the end of the night, one or two guys will come up big, usually one, while another 4-6 players score in double digits. This means everyone is contributing on both ends of the floor.
Tony Parker is the only player averaging 20 points on the team. Duncan follows averaging 17 points per contest. Leonard and Ginobili are averaging close to 12 points per contest. Green and Splitter are averaging 10 each (While Gary Neal is just under 10 points per at 9.5). The total effect is there are too many guys to defend who are competent enough to score and rebound, so it is hard to beat this team.
On the defensive end, the same pattern appears. Duncan leads the team with just under 10 rebounds per contest, while Splitter and Leonard follow suit averaging 6 rebounds per contest each. Then you have another five guys who are averaging between 3 to 4 rebounds each per contest.
This also is why the Spurs are so hard to defend, because every player can score at any moment and they all play defense. The Heat should learn this the hard way as they cannot focus on any one player, except to try to shut down Tony Parker. Regardless, the Spurs have shown that they can win when he has bad nights, even in the playoffs.
The Heat on the other hand are pretty much a one man show these days. This makes what the Spurs are doing that much more impressive!
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