The Boxscore Geeks Show: The Spurs Settle Family Business

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Listen to the podcast and then answer our weekly poll. Or you know, don't listen and answer.

And thanks for restoring my faith in humanity on last week's poll. Yes, you the readers did think Russell Westbrook was overrated!

Special Guest E.J. Fischer

We're happy to welcome E.J. Fischer to the show. Follow his work at or on Twitter @glorioushubris. E.J. is a science fiction writer by trade, recently completing a stint as an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa. He's also, perhaps, the biggest Spurs and advanced stats combo fan in existence. Of course, there are other crazy Spurs fans. He had a ton to say about the Spurs.

How did the Thunder keep the Series so Close?

After two quick wins, the series was evened. However, E.J. starts by pointing out that using point differential, the series was not as close as it appeared. A few important factors - Tony Parker was injured, and Ibaka came back.

We actually give Westbrook some props. As we repeatedly say, overrated doesn't mean a player isn't good. Although, E.J. points out that a player on the same team as Durant that takes more shots than Durant is doing something wrong. Westbrook shot 123 shots in the conference finals to Durant's 122. A bigger problem is easily how many minutes Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher got. Of course, that's nothing new.

E.J. has a point on the Thunder's athleticism. They're a fast team, meaning the refs can miss things. Case in point: Ibaka's "block" in game six. On the subject of blocks, Tim Duncan has been called a very efficient blocker compared to flashier ones by advanced stats. Also, there was a great interview with Marcus Camby I can't seem to find. If this rings any bells with you, please link it in the comments!

Settling Family Business?

The Spurs have had a ton of posteseason success. However, they've had a lot of post season heart break.

  • In 2004 Derek Fisher scored with 0.4 seconds left to win game 5 against the Spurs
  • In 2006 the Spurs lost to the Mavericks in 7 games.
  • In 2012 the Thunder swept the final four games of the series after the Spurs went up 2-0 in the conference finals.
  • In 2013 the Spurs were a half a minute away from a title before the Heat and Ray Allen dashed their dreams.

This season the Spurs are settling their affairs Godfather style. They took down the Mavericks in seven games. They beat the Thunder and sent Fisher to retirement without another finals appearance. That only leaves the Heat!

An interesting note, Fisher has "turned it up in the playoffs", but Kobe's clutch is a tad overstated.

By the way, Manu Ginobili is a first ballot Hall of Fame player. Much like Dikembe Mutombo, his greatness may be underrated. Seriously though, first ballot.

Tim Duncan trash talks? Or does the media leave out important contextual words like "hopefully" Worth noting Tim Duncan called LeBron James the future of the NBA after the 2007 finals.

Also, how absurd is it that the Heat are the old beat up team? Additionally, who could have predicted that LeBron James and Tim Duncan would make a legitimate rivalry?

Also, one of the few metric that make Kobe look extremely good is longevity. Of course, Tim Duncan is smashing that by keeping up top play for almost two decades.

Players like Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash work really hard to stay at peak level late in their career. I feel this is often underrated, as it is not an easy thing to do.

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan definitely wins the "player after Jordan" question. At one point that may have been a Shaq vs. Duncan debate, but clearly no longer. Arturo's put it best that Tim Duncan's face would go on the Mount Rushmore of basketball greats.

The Spurs Dynasty

Here's a fun stat, this is the top five (six due to ties) teams in regards to consecutive seasons of a 60%+ win percentage.

  • 1998-2014 San Antonio Spurs (17 seasons)
  • 1980-1991 Los Angeles Lakers (12 Seasons)
  • 1957-1968 Boston Celtics (12 Seasons)
  • 2001-2011 Dallas Mavericks (11 Seasons)
  • 1996-2004 Los Angeles Lakers (9 Seasons)
  • 1980-1988 Boston Celtics (9 Seasons)

To the only dig against the Spurs, which is the lack of consecutive titles, it's worth noting the Lakers didn't do this until 1988. Also, the Spurs have had close misses, as we point out above, which shouldn't count against them for dynasty (in my opinion)

It's worth noting that while Richard Jefferson was a bad signing by the Spurs, his corner three shooting was amazing (thanks Chris Chan for pointing this out to me!).

One question that's come up a few times. Are the Spurs disadvantages actually advantages? For instance, not having top draft picks means they aren't pressured into wasting picks on hyped players. Having less money, due to the St. Louis Spirits deal, means they have to look for undervalued players. Of course, lucking into two number one picks doesn't hurt (unless you're the Cavs!)

Also, as we've said, the Spurs have been Moneyballing for years. Unlike Moneyball though, they keep their mouths shut!

One part of the Spurs staying competitive is the addition of Kawhi Leonard. I have slammed the Pacers for trading him. E.J. offers a weird perspective. The Pacers had the option of

  • Taking a point guard they knew the Spurs liked
  • Trusting the could draft as good as the Spurs.

This logic hinges on the Pacers trading their pick, not Kawhi, which is, for instance, how Dirk Nowitzki ended up on the Mavericks. I can't verify the Pacers traded their pick before getting Kawhi though.

Wrapups and Shoutouts

E.J. and I have podcasted a few times. Of course, there's one I mention a few times that I have still yet to post. E.J. suggest we just never post it and continuously grow the myth of it.

My shoutouts this week are Brian (@boxscorebrian) for an amazing Westbrook tweet.

and to E.J. Fischer and Manu Ginobili for a great regression to the mean interview.

I know, I know, my shoutouts are to other people on the show. Still, their stuff was awesome this week!

E.J. had some awesome shoutouts. The first was to Monica Byrne (@monicabyrne13), author of the book "The Girls in the Road", which has already gotten rave reviews from people like Neil Gaiman.

Next, E.J. shouts out to Genevieve Valentine (@GLValentine), who just published "Girls at the Kingfisher Club" and author of the site Questionable Taste Theatre, which reviews only bad movies.

Great shoutouts, great coversation, great guests? I had a ton of fun on this podcast, hope you enjoy listening! See you next week.