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Why the Spurs Need To Win This Series to Be Considered a Dynasty

By Fredric Paul on June 10, 2014.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not the staff.

The San Antonio Spurs have been so good for so long that many people — and no doubt most readers of this site — are completely convinced that the Spurs have in fact created a Dynasty. But despite their incredible history of success over the past 15 years, to truly merit the title of Dynasty, they really have to win the NBA Championship this year.

First off, the Spurs are certainly in the Dynasty conversation. Sustained excellence and 4 championships since 1999 put them far ahead of many other good-to-great teams that played great basketball over a period of time, but never brought home a title, or won only a single Championship. I’m looking at you, 1970s Bulls, Kareem’s Bucks, all those great TrailBlazers teams, and even Hakeem’s Houston Rockets (two Championships in a row, but then nada).

I hate to say it, but even if the Spurs win the 2014 championship, they still won’t rank up there with the NBA’s truly dominant dynasties: Bill Russell’s 1960’s Celtics, Michael Jordan’s Bulls, and (don’t hate me) two different Lakers teams, the Shaq/Kobe/Pau team that won 5 Championships and went to 7 Finals from 2000 to 2010 and the Showtime Lakers who won 5 Titles and went to 9 Finals from 1980 to 1991. Those teams didn’t just win multiple championships, they were without a doubt the best teams of their eras. Sure they had competition. But in hindsight it’s clear that while an occasional interloper stole a championship here and there, we all still knew who the real big dogs were.

But there’s a level of Dynasty just below that the Spurs remain on the cusp of. That’s the level of the Showtime Lakers, the Piston’s Bad Boys, and (again I hate to say it) the Miami Heat if they win this series. Unlike those teams, even if they win this series, the Spurs won’t have won consecutive titles (this is the first time they’ve been to consecutive Finals), but they will have 5 titles in 15 years, a feat topped only by the Celtics, Bulls, and Lakers.

Beat the Heat, and they’re in. They’re an official Dynasty. But if they lose…

Well, then the case gets murkier. Sure, they still have four Championships. But their Game 6 collapse last year cost them their streak of never losing in the Finals (a la the Bulls), and they’ll then be in the uncomfortable situation of losing back-to-back Finals. While making the Finals is a big accomplishment, getting there year after year only to lose is more like the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings or Denver Broncos than a true Dynasty. While the Spurs have been great for a long time, they’ve never been unquestionably the best team in the league for several years running.

Similarly, while the Spurs will most likely remain very good next season, it’s hard to see how they’ll be better than they are right now. Given the incredible strength of the Western Conference, making it back to the Finals will take a Herculean effort and — as always — catching a few breaks along the way. While it’s not impossible for them to grab another championship before the Big 3 retire, they’ll likely never have another chance as good as the one they have in front of them right now.

Win or lose this series, Pop, R.C. Buford, Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and friends have built a sterling legacy. But if they want to be mentioned along with even the NBA’s second-tier dynasties, they really need to win this series.

Fredric Paul is an editor, writer and content strategist fascinated by the intersection of technology, business, and culture. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for @NewRelic and blogger for @NetworkWorld. You can follow Fred on Twitter @TheFreditor.

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