• 03/25/2013, 02:47AM ET

Preference - Spurs or OKC

J-Business (78-66-19) vs Marlins Fan (156-78-31)

If you're a player or a coach for the 7th or 8th seed in the Western Conference Finals, who would you rather play?
The Spurs or OKC Thunder

I'd rather play against the Spurs

If we look at the 7th and 8th teams currently in the West, they are neck and neck and a loss here or there can move them up or down one.

The Spurs are a good team and have the best record in the West by 1.5 games but I still don't see them as being a better playoff team than OKC

The Spurs are playing great regular season ball, but I'm not entirely sold on their chances w/out a clear star. Particularly since their former stars are now much older.

They would be facing a 1st rd match up against either the Lakers or Houston. Both teams have prime time players that would give them a great chance against the Spurs
The Spurs top scorer is Parker who has been injured and next is Duncan (age 36)
You have to think that Kobe, Howard, Nash and Gasol or Houston w/ Harden would like this match up

OKC on the other hand are playing great reg season ball but we know that they will step it up in the playoffs.
If they don't win a title, it will be at the hands of LeBron and the Heat

Typical NBA fan reasoning says the Thunder are superior to the Spurs. But this reasoning is short sighted.

Fans love Kevin Durant, unsurprisingly. Fans don't care for Duncan, Parker and Ginobili because they're not flashy players. It goes to reason, then, that the average NBA fan places a higher value on OKC's roster than SA's due to personal preference.

But that don't mean dick.

Nobody ever expects the Spurs to accomplish anything, but they've won four titles during the Duncan era. Clearly, the Spurs are more than capable of exceeding fan's short sighted expectations.

Why? Because the Spurs are a TEAM.

Not just a team, but a team full of SMART players who follow their HoF coach's SMART gameplan. The Spurs have the NBA's best offensive system, which is proven every time Danny Green of Gary Neal light up the opposition. These guys aren't stars but they can play with anybody because the offensive system is untouchable.

The Thunder, on the other hand, have two stars in Durant and Westbrook and a nice complimentary scorer in Martin. But they don't have anything else of note. They're not a team. They're a few stars surrounded by nobodys.

Team>stars + scrubs

Typical Spurs fan, living in the past

Yes, while the combo of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker has won numerous title, they haven't won a championship since 2007, when they were all in their 20's

Today, in 2013, the Duncan is 36, Ginobili is 35 and although Parker is 30, he's been injured a number of times.

On top of this, they are all playing more minutes this season, then they have in the past few seasons.
At the same time, they have to rely more on younger unproven players such as Splinter, Leonard and Neal.

Duncan has been taken out at key points in 4th qtr games to get a fresh body in.

A very hungry opponent in either the Lakers or Rockets

OKC has proven stars with current track records
They've elevated their game every yr and in the playoffs have only lost to the eventual champion

The 7th and 8th teams match up well against the Spurs
The Lakers don't want to face a team that is young and will run them up the court
They are also playing much better and the Spurs don't have vastly superior talent at any position

The young, hungry and faster Rockets would love a match up against the much older Spurs

If I'm Kobe or Harden, I want the Spurs

Aw hell naw... more typical anti-Spurs propaganda. Surprise, surprise.

Nobody ever gives the Spurs any credit. Not when they win championships, and not when the season is still going. It's the boring factor, no more, no less. Because rational thought says the Spurs are STILL one of the NBA's elite contenders.

For one thing they have the NBA's second best record, and had the first until Miami lucked into 27 straight wins. (seriously, have you looked at the teams Miami's been playing on this streak? Blech...)

For another thing, the assumption that Duncan's age means he can't play anymore it completely bogus. Duncan just posted a stat line of 25 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks in a win over Golden State. Sound like an old guy to you?

Matter of fact, Duncan is kinda experiencing a career renaisance. His 2013 numbers are strikingly similar to his peak-year numbers, especially in terms of efficiency.

And Tony Parker is having the best year of his career. If it wasn't for LBJ, Parker would be one of the leading candidates for MVP. But that probably means nothing too, right?

And the bench... SA's depth will be hard to combat.

This is as much about OKC as it is the Spurs

For the past 3 seasons, they have only lost to the champion. This means that, they come to play when it matters

OKC is the new top team to beat in the West

You keep bringing up the Spurs championships without mentioning the fact that their last title was 6 yrs ago.

Tim Duncan is having a great season, but once again, he's old, he's playing more minutes than the past two seasons and this will weigh in on his stamina

Parker is having a great season but one in which he's missed a hand full of games

The Spurs will have to rely on their unproven players like Splitter, Neal and Leonard.

Look at the match ups

Although Parker has an edge over Nash, Meeks will now play more with MWP out, so he'll be on Parker

Howard is more than enough for Duncan and a 1st rd match up between the two has to be viewed as a battle.

The prevailing idea is that the Spurs play team ball, and work together as a unit. That's great but in a 1st rd match up against another Kobe and a group of stars, that can be mitigated.

As it looks, the Lakers simply match up better against SA than OKC

You wanna talk about how long it's been between titles? When's the last time OKC won a title? I'll wait.

They haven't. But it doesn't matter, for either the Thunder or Spurs.

This TD is about who would you rather face right now.

And the answer is the Thunder.

I'm not gonna waste time talking about the Lakers. They don't really have anything to do with this TD.

Its about who presents the tougher matchup for a 7 or 8 seed, the Spurs or Thunder. Again, OKC would be the easier matchup.

You could double team Durant and Westbrook all day long, because no one else on OKC is capable of making you pay. Sure, Kevin Martin has had a nice year but it remains to be seen how he'll perform in the playoffs.

We already know what Duncan, Parker and Ginobili can do, and SA has the added benefit of a deep and proven bench. That's what separates the men from the boys. SA's bench/starting depth is a major plus that unfortunately the Thunder don't have.

OKC has to have perfection from the Westbrook/Durant/Martin trio to win in the playoffs. SA can survive a bad game from one of their stars because their bench has proven it can win games, even against top competition.

Comment #1 has been removed
March 25, 2013  02:42 PM ET

In this situation, I think either team would be a tough opponent. I'd be fearful of the Thunder because of their star talent. They have young guys with stamina and Durant is gonna take the game winning shots. But on the other hand, the Spurs are mature. They have players that have been there before and know what it takes to win. Much like Bernard Hopkins in boxing, they can use their experience to their advantage. Oklahoma City has been there before too, but they are still young. I wouldn't want to face either team in this situation, but if I had to choose, I'd probably go with playing the Spurs.

March 25, 2013  06:05 PM ET

This is obvious, Business.

Not at all.

Just takes looking at the bigger picture instead of being blinded by one or two stars' shining light. Remember, it's a TEAM game...

March 25, 2013  06:07 PM ET

This is obvious, Business.

Only to folks who are drinking the NBA Star Kool-Aid.

Remember folks, basketball is a TEAM sport. Don't be blinded by Durant's effortless game. He still has to carry almost all the weight for his team, with the exception of whatever Westbook shoulders, and occasionally Martin.

Point is, OKC is NOT deep. They're hardly a team.

Don't be blinded by the usual "stars are better than teams" nonsense. Even LBJ couldn't win a ring until he teamed up with Wade and Bosh.

NBA fans (and sports fans in general) tend to forget the things we've learned so quickly...

March 25, 2013  09:59 PM ET

My apologies, J-Business, for arguing in the comments. I'll try to keep this one to the arguments. My bad.

March 25, 2013  11:36 PM ET

I think the Clippers are just as big of a threat as OKC.

March 26, 2013  01:41 AM ET

I got the Nuggets with the Western Conference upset and with OKC as the favorites.

March 26, 2013  02:55 AM ET

My apologies, J-Business, for arguing in the comments. I'll try to keep this one to the arguments. My bad.

Not a problem, with the lack of activity on the site now, it's totally good to make things more active.

March 26, 2013  10:20 PM ET

I think the Clippers are just as big of a threat as OKC.


The Clippers are SO much deeper than the Thunder it's unreal. Honestly, I think a team made of the Clippers' top five reserves would be much better than some other teams' starting five.

March 27, 2013  12:11 AM ET

Wish I could delete either comment 3 or 4. Seems a tad redundant. Hindsight and all that jazz.

March 27, 2013  03:59 PM ET

I think the Clippers are just as big of a threat as OKC.

Agreed. Clippers are a deep and talented bunch. I wouldn't put any money on whoever has to face them in the 1st round.

March 27, 2013  04:01 PM ET

Point is, OKC is NOT deep. They're hardly a team.

I'm not voting based off of this comment in the comments section but based on the argument as a whole. I'm no Spurs fan, but I don't see either the Lakers (they're likely opponent) being able to knock them off. Actually I think the Lakers might have a better shot against the Thunder.

March 27, 2013  10:23 PM ET

WTF... I posted an argument last night. And I actually saw it post. I had to try it about three times before it posted.

Now it's not there. This is a bunch of cow poop.

March 27, 2013  10:24 PM ET

WTF... I posted an argument last night. And I actually saw it post. I had to try it about three times before it posted.Now it's not there. This is a bunch of cow poop.

Lucky for me I had copied/pasted. I was able to paste it again just now. Nice.

March 30, 2013  04:36 AM ET

Anybody catch the Spurs game? Duncan killed it. Spurs beat the Clippers.

The Thunder, meanwhile, lost to the Timberwolves.

March 30, 2013  05:44 AM ET

Anybody catch the Spurs game? Duncan killed it. Spurs beat the Clippers.The Thunder, meanwhile, lost to the Timberwolves.

True but this is still just the regular season. Duncan is pushing it very hard now and you have to wonder will he have much left in late April, early May.


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