The Sporting News analyzed a lot of NBA topics in its most recent issue.
One of the most intriguing stories is part of a continuing series in the magazine, which is analyzing the greatest teams in a number of sports as part of 125-year anniversary.
This week, a 23-member panel of NBA experts.
Surprisingly, none of the Spurs’ four championship teams is included on the list.
Here’s how the Sporting News panel ranked them.
1. 1995-96 Chicago Bulls
2. 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers
3. 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers
4. 1985-86 Boston Celtics
5. 1964-65 Boston Celtics
6. 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers
7. 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers
8, 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks
9. 1991-92 Chicago Bulls
10. 1988-89 Detroit Pistons
The list is pretty solid, although I might quibble about a few points. I think the 1966-67 Philadelphia team is woefully underrated. A case could be made that Alex Hannum’s team, which featured Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham, could be deserving of the No. 1 ranking.
The 86-87 Lakers team at No. 3 might be a tad overrated, although they had to battle a similarly great Boston team to win the title.
It’s also difficult to compare teams from before the league’s 3-point era against those after the rule was enacted. The rule has produced such a different game that’s it’s really hard to analyze and make astute comparisons between teams from different eras.
The list is titled to one-season dominance as it should be. And that’s probably why none of the Spurs’ greatest teams are included.
The Spurs’ top team in wins is the 63-19 2006 team that lost to Dallas in the Western Conference semifinals.
I still lean to the 2003 Spurs team as the best in franchise history. Tim Duncan was at his absolute peak, finishing that season with a near quadruple-double in the deciding game of the NBA Finals against New Jersey. It also is the only title team the Spurs had where Duncan, David Robinson, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all are roster members.
I think the Spurs’ place in NBA history is stunted a little bit because they never claimed back-to-back titles. That failing, in the mind of many hoop experts, is why the Spurs aren’t included among the great dynasties in league history.
It’s hard to argue that point, although the Spurs did claim four titles during a nine-season span. Only the Celtics, Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers and Minneapolis Lakers have been able to match that dominance during NBA history.
But I’m curious, Spurs Nation. Do you feel that any of the Spurs title teams really is worthy of being included in the list of the top 10 teams in NBA history?