Jack McCallum is holding all sorts of things outside of the Spurs control against them to determine that they do not meet his arbitrary meaning of the word “dynasty”. It’s all in his column, “Hold off on the 'D' word.”
All right, let's get all the reasons we would not consider the San Antonio Spurs one of history's most successful franchises out of the way immediately.
• They never had to win a championship against Michael Jordan, a notorious spoiler of the Clyde Drexler Trail Blazers, the Charles Barkley Suns, the Gary Payton SuperSonics and the John Stockton-Karl Malone Jazz.
Just so I’m clear, we’re penalizing the Spurs for not beating a Bulls team that they never really played? Duncan was in the NBA for 1 year during that stretch, and he was a rookie. I mean, those were pretty much different Spurs teams with different players. Tim Duncan was in high school when that run started in 1991. Tony Parker was like 9. Eva Longoria was like 16, if that helps. Just to beat this point to death, you’re not allowed to play in the NBA when you’re 9.
Also, Michael Jordan played 5 complete seasons (excluding Wizards years, which didn’t happen, his injury filled ’86 year, and the ’95 half year) that a team other than his won the championship. The only year he had a team at all equipped to make a run, was 1990. So I thinks it’s fair to say that effectively 1 team in NBA history meets this criteria. The 1990 Pistons.
• They play in a league diluted by expansion.
This could be said of a lot of teams. I disagree with it, generally, being a good point. They also play in a league with a ton of foreign players, unlike your old-timey teams can say. Or even 80’s teams. Foreign players are also good now. There was expansion a couple years before and during the Bulls run too, if you want to go there.
• Their first title, in 1999, occurred in a lockout-shortened season.
So? It’s not like they handed the title to the regular season wins leader. They played the good half of the season, with the playoffs. Shouldn’t we penalize the team for things that they can remotely control. Obviously it wasn’t a fluke, since they won 3 more.
• Their most recent championship came against what was surely one of the worst Finals teams ever, LeBron James' individual brilliance notwithstanding.
True, but does that mean that they weren’t good enough to beat another great team? Didn't they come out of a strong conference? How is any of this their fault?
That’s all of Jack’s reasons. Those reasons sucked.
Let's just not bring up the "D" word. The Spurs are not a dynasty. They haven't suggested that about themselves. To me, a dynasty means this: A team must win more than half the championships over a decade and be considered the clear favorite in most of those seasons. A decade is a random measure, of course, but dynasty-dom has to be demonstrated over an extended period of time; the Mings, after all, lasted from 1368 to 1644.
The Yao Mings? Ha!
(Not the Yao Mings.)
In my view, only two franchises truly qualify as a dynasty -- the Boston Celtics, who, absurdly, won 11 championships in 13 seasons from 1957 to 1969 during the Bill Russell days, and Jordan's Chicago Bulls, who won six titles in eight years (the franchise's only championships) from '91 to '98.
So why wouldn’t the 1980-1989 Lakers be a dynasty? 10 years, 5 championships (in the first 9 years), and they made the finals 8 times in those 10 years.
Overall, the Celtics have won 16 titles (though a contemporary cynic would have to note that not a single one has come since '86). That career record is challenged only by the Lakers, who have 14 championships, five of them when the team was in Minneapolis, which was the dominant franchise in the NBA's first decade. But the Lakers have never had a true dynasty. They won five titles from '80 to '88, a tremendous achievement to be sure, but they clearly shared the decade with the Celtics, who won three titles in seven seasons.
Okay no dice for the 80’s Lakers I guess. Then by that measure, didn’t the Bulls “share” the period of 1991-1998 with the Rockets? Because Jordan was retired? Or is 3 titles your arbitrary "sharing" minimum? Wouldn’t you say then that Bulls were not a dynasty (shared with Houston), but Jordan was in some way? Who cares, this is stupid.
Also, you do realize that you just penalized the 1980's Lakers, despite meeting your criteria, because they had really good adversary in the other conference . However, you penalized the Spurs above for not playing a good enough opponent this year. So to be a dynasty you need to win 5 championships in 10 years to satisfy Jack McCallum (and be what he considers to be a "clear favorite"), but there better not be a good team that wins a few championships in the 5 that he's allowing you to lose to still qualify for dynasty status....make sense? Those teams he's okay with winning during your dynasty better not be favorites too often! I mean, isn't it better if you lose a few championships to a great team, like Boston, than if there was no Boston in the East and they still won 5 of 9? Also, they were 2 for 3 against Boston in the finals! My head hurts.
What if the Spurs win next year, to make your 5 in 10 mark? Do the '07 Cavs diminish that? Or did they "share" too much of the 10 years with the Lakers, because they won 3 (like the 80's Celtics). I'll be watching you McCallum! To be clear, I'm not arguing for or against the Spurs, specifically, I just hate Jack's reasoning here. I guess I am arguing for the 1980's Lakers.
Dynasty? Depends how you feel like defining it. Then once you define it, it depends on other things you feel like qualifying it with.