NBA Playoffs 2012 Jazz Vs. Spurs Jam Session #1: Pounding the Rock's SpursfanSteve sits down with SLC Dunk

Hey SLC Dunkers, we're going to get to know the San Antonio Spurs very well in the next two weeks. And we're also going to get a chance to interact with their fans as well. They know their stuff, after all, they got to watch a lot of good, fundamental basketball for a decade or so.

Pounding the Rock's SpursfanSteve and I got a chance to ask each other some questions. My answers are over there on their site, and SpursfanSteve's answers are after the jump.

Amar: The San Antonio Spurs are the best team in the Western Conference. I don’t mean just this season, one could argue that they’ve been the best for over a decade. When a team is able to do that who gets the most praise: the star players, the coach, the general manager, or the owner?

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SpursfanSteve: For me, it all starts with Gregg Popovich and RC Buford. There are lots of teams with lots of talent, but if the front office and the coach don’t put them in the best position possible, oftentimes, the team underachieves. For example, see this year’s LA Lakers. There’s no excuse for them being a 3 seed. While some of the blame for their lack of regular season success has to go to the players, I think Mike Brown is also at fault. Another example would be the other LA team. They are only going to make it so far because of Vinny Del Negro. Basically, Pop and RC are awesome, and the fact that they don’t win coach of the year/exec of the year more often is absurd.

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Amar: Does winning so consistently change a fan base? Do Spurs fans remember what it was like to be a small market fan or a small market team that didn’t have rings? Do Spurs fans remember what it was like being a Jazz fan? Do you have any words of encouragement and advice for us?

SpursfanSteve: I vaguely remember that. I was pretty young at that point. Born in 87, Spurs were decent throughout the 90’s, and that’s what I most remember. I only lived in San Antonio for a few years, but my Dad used to take me to Spurs games and if I remember right mostly they were against the Jazz and mostly the Jazz beat them. So, growing up, I hated the Jazz probably as much as Jazz fans hate the Spurs now. Words of encouragement? Your front office and Ty Corbin really seem to know what they are doing. They got great value back for Williams, wisely showed Carlos Boozer the door, and seem to be doing a good job building around Devin Harris (who was dead in New Jersey) Gordon Hayward and all the young depth up front. Of all the players the Jazz have, though, Hayward is probably my favorite to watch.

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Amar: You’ve faced the Phoenix Suns a lot, you kind of have an idea of what they are about. As a result, what differences do you see between the Phoenix Suns’ Boris Diaw and the San Antonio Spurs’ Boris Diaw? What similarities persist through the weight gain?

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SpursfanSteve: Honestly, I don’t think there is much of a difference, and that’s been a very pleasant surprise. Diaw was always one of the best defenders on those Suns teams (not saying much) and he’s been a solid defender here so far too in limited minutes. Solid (figuratively speaking) rebounder, solid (…) passer, and solid scorer when he puts his mind to that instead of deferring.

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Amar: Tell me, in your own words, why your guys get super duper open looks at the basket.

SpursfanSteve: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and pick and roll. Tony Parker is every bit as good as Derek Rose at getting in the lane and finishing around the rim. And for me, the best passers in the league are Steve Nash, Manu, and Ricky Rubio. So when you’ve got a guy as fast as Tony penetrating the defense has to account for him, and when you’ve got a guy as good at carving up defenses with laser passes as Manu, open shots abound. They both make the game really, really easy for the rest of the Spurs.

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Amar: Out of the following clubs at full strength, which one did you most want to see in the playoffs: the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, or Minnesota Timberwolves? Which one of them would you have most wished to avoid? How does Utah stack up in both categories?

SpursfanSteve: I was really hoping Phoenix would make it. First off, it would have been the easiest matchup. We’d have been the first team in the NBA to win a 7 games series in 3 games. Second, ending Steve Nash’s time in Phoenix with a sweep would have burned into the Suns collective memory that the Spurs are now and forever (or as long as Robert Sarver is their owner) will be their masters. Third, the collective hate all that would have caused for their fan base…it would be like the ultimate troll. And they’d be helpless. Maybe I’m just a sadist, but I’d have enjoyed that. It would have been great payback for them sweeping us a few years ago.

The team I most wanted to avoid was Houston. They have size down low and on the wings, and they’ve got a pretty awesome point guard combo with Lowry and Dragic. Utah would be a close second to Houston. Minnesota always gives us problems, but I just don’t think they’ve got what it takes to beat us, even at full strength. Right now, our second string could beat a fully healthy Portland team. Our second string (and third string) DID just beat a relatively healthy Phoenix team. I think Utah is probably a year or two of experience and building depth away from being a legitimate contender. I think it’s possible you’ll be better (if not more hyped) than the Clippers are next year. This year, though, I think you’re just too outgunned.

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Amar: Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair: good buddy cop movie, or best buddy cop movie?

SpursfanSteve: Good buddy cop movie as a stand alone, BEST buddy cop movie if you throw in Matt Bonner as the villainous Hoagie Hunter and Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard as some sort of henchmen tag team. Don’t get me wrong- all of those are really, really good guys. Its just Bonner was born to be a villain and Green has kind of a dastardly look with his facial hair. Maybe it’s because of their on court chemistry, but Kawhi just seems like a natural partner for him.

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Amar: Do you think things would have gone better for Stephen Jackson these last few years if he remained with the Spurs? Would you have wanted him to?

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SpursfanSteve: Yes and yes. I mean there never would have been any off court issues with him. He even mentioned right when he got back in an interview that he missed Pop holding his hand and spanking him on the butt (hows that for a visual) every time he did something wrong. I don’t think it would have made a huge difference as far as how much we would have won- him leaving opened the door for Manu to get more minutes and we replaced him on the wing with Bruce Bowen, the only defender capable of forcing asteroids towards the baseline and keeping them from hitting earth. Maybe Jackson would have been happy to come off the bench for Pop. He was young, he wanted a payday and an increased role, so I’m not sure that’s the case. If anyone could have made it work though, it would have been the Spurs.

Thanks SpursfanSteve, and the rest of your amazing crew led by JR at Pounding the Rock. I hope your fans find ours equal to the challenge of being both good basketball fans, and also ambassadors for our team -- as you and yours fans represent yours Spurs. Also, I hope you don't complain when we unleash Enes Kanter break dancing to LMFAO on you.

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