I wrote a pile of utter garbage several years ago, proclaiming that the Spurs’ time as a perennial NBA playoff team and title contender was coming to a close. The key players were getting old, I argued. All good things come to an end at some point, and this run of the Spurs was one of them.
I’ve searched in vain for that misguided post, but for whatever reason the Internet does not want me to find my old thoughts. My best guess is that it was written about five years ago, and that the Spurs have won close to three-quarters of their regular season games since then — as well as winning one NBA title while losing in the finals another time.
Certainly this wasn’t a unique opinion, as others who write about basketball full-time for a living have long wondered how long the Spurs can keep this up. Since the 1998-99 season, they’ve won five NBA titles and never failed to post at least a .600 winning percentage in every year while making the playoffs each time.
Tim Duncan will turn 40 during the playoffs this year. Manu Ginobili, who has looked like he’s 38 for the past six seasons, is actually 38 now. Tony Parker, once the youthful injection into the lineup, is now 33. And none of it seems to matter. The Spurs reload with complementary players, shrewd late-round picks, savvy trades and free-agent grabs like LaMarcus Aldridge. Every year people wonder if this is it. And then they go out and win 55-60 games and are a team nobody wants to face in the playoffs.
When I wrote them off several years ago, my vision of the Spurs was still clouded by a painful playoff series against the Wolves from my college days. I may or may not have shouted unprintable curse words at Malik Rose from the upper deck of Target Center. We were all young once. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to appreciate the Spurs’ clockwork efficiency and ability to keep on keepin’ on.
All of this is a long windup into this thought: Are the Lynx on the way to becoming the WNBA’s version of the NBA’s Spurs?
That is to say, this is a team whose core is slowly aging. Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson are 33. Seimone Augustus is 31. New center Sylvia Fowles just turned 30. Maya Moore is entering her prime at 26, the outlier in the group. For the past couple of years, the whispers have been as such: Might this be the final run for this group?
At this point, it’s probably foolish to keep asking that question until it actually happens. Any team with Moore is going to be competitive. The biggest question is how long Whalen, Brunson, Augustus and now Fowles will play at a high level, combined with how well the Lynx are able to supplement their talent and how well they are able to adapt to new styles.
They’re already on the verge of being a dynasty, a legacy they would clinch with a Game 5 victory over Indiana on Wednesday for their third WNBA title in five seasons. Now it’s a question of how long it lasts.
I know one thing: I won’t be writing them off. I made that mistake with the Spurs, and they’re still making me look foolish.