[The NBA season began on October 25th. It seems amazing to think that a new season has commenced. With Kevin Durant joining the already stacked Golden State Warriors, most pundits are assuming that Curry and Co are poised for a World Championship run.
Their dominance has DC-based Ezra Troy thinking about how the team stacks up against some of the other great franchise of the modern NBA era. He has ANOTHER great piece here looking at a head-to-head comparison with the Spurs during the late 90s and early 2000s.]
The Spurs of the late 90’s and early 2000’s were a dynasty. They, along with the Lakers, made every single championship from 1999-2005. The Spurs best year was 2003, when they went 60-22. Lead by Tim Duncan averaging a double-double and Tony Parker, the Spurs cruised to a championship and won for the second time in four years and would later go on to win again two years later.
Given all of that, it is interesting to consider how the Spurs team of old would match up against the new darling of the NBA, Golden State.
Steph Curry vs. Tony Parker
Curry is having one of the greatest three year stretches by a point guard in history and has averaged 27 points and almost 7.5 assists per game over that span, leading Golden State to a title, two championship appearances and the greatest regular season record in NBA history. Parker, leading San Antonio to five championship appearances in his career, has averaged 16.5 points and six assists over the course of his career, but was still in his second year in 2003. Curry has a definite advantage over the Argentinian guard.
Klay Thompson vs. Manu Ginobili
Thompson, one of the league’s premier shooting guards and three point shooters, has paired up with Curry to create the famed “splash bros” and lead Golden State to its first championship in almost 40 years. Ginobili, a star shooting guard who teamed up with Parker and Tim Duncan to create “the big three” and lead San Antonio to five championships and create a dynasty. Ginobili was in his rookie year in ’03 and didn’t have much of a role, but has had a solid career since then. Ginobili has never been considered a superstar though and has never averaged 20 points a game in his career, like Thompson has already done twice in his career. He has never been considered a top twenty player (like Thompson) and has only been to two all-star games, like Thompson, while having a career almost three times as long.
Kevin Durant vs. Bruce Bowen
Considered a top five player of our generation and a sure hall of famer, Durant moved to the Warriors in hopes of creating a “super-team”. He has won MVP, four scoring titles and a rookie of the year award. Bowen had a mediocre career and bounced around on four different teams. This one is obvious.
Draymond Green vs. Dennis Rodman
Green has had a couple of recent all-star seasons, but he doesn’t even hold a candle to Tim Duncan, one of the greatest PF’s of all time.
Zaza Pachulia vs David Robinson
Robinson and Pachulia are both players at the end of their careers. The difference is Pachulia is a pretty run of the mill player, as opposed to Robinson, a hall of fame center and ten time all-star who had led the Spurs to an NBA title in 1999.
Andre Igoudala and Shaun Livingston vs. Steven Jackson and Malik Rose
Andre Igoudala could start for many NBA teams right now and Livingston is one of the best backup point guard’s in the game today. Jackson averaged 12 points off the bench while Rose chipped in 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Prediction: Golden State in Seven
The Warriors have an advantage in the front court, while the Spurs have it in the backcourt and the bench. The key matchup is at the Small Forward position, where the Warriors have a clear advantage. That being said, Durant would absolutely dominate Bowen and lead Golden state to a seven game victory.