Have the Spurs Passed the Bulls as the Third Best Franchise in League History?
In sports, legacies are defined by winning championships. In baseball the New York Yankees are the best team, because they have won 27 world titles. In football the Pittsburgh Steelers reign supreme with six super bowls won. The same can be said about the NBA. The Boston Celtics are number one with 17 titles, followed by the Los Angles Lakers with 16. The third place team are the Bulls with six followed by the San Antonio Spurs with four. As far as the all-time list goes the Spurs have surpassed the Bulls.
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The Spurs are trying to win their fifth NBA titles as they go against the Miami Heat. If the Spurs are successful, the franchise would have won NBA titles in three decades. Only the Lakers and Celtics have completed this feat before. The thing that makes the Spurs run so successful is that they keep their star players. Tim Duncan was a rookie on that 1999 NBA championship team, and 15 years later he is still a key contributor. The addition of Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker have set a record for playoff wins for a trio.
The Bulls had a dominate stretch in the 1990s that made the franchise popular, but if you take away the eight years that the Bulls were championship contenders the franchise has not been great. The 1984-1988 Bulls won one playoff series, and was swept by the Boston Celtics twice. The 5-12 record in the playoffs is far from the the level of excellence the Spurs have enjoyed.
The Bulls also fell victim to a horrible rebuilding phase. Top players did not want to play for the Tim Floyd coached Bulls. It took the Bulls seven years to contend in the Eastern Conference. The time on top was shorter than expected as the Bulls have not reached the Eastern Conference Finals since the 2010 season.
The Spurs are always a top team in the tougher Western Conference. They have become the benchmark for how teams in the west judge themselves. The Spurs have faced off against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzles, and the Lakers in the playoffs, and advanced past them all. The Spurs have sustained a level of greatness that outlast all of their rivals. The Spurs rivals with the Lakers has faded away, because the Lakers are a lottery team now. The Spurs effortless style sometimes, puts casual NBA fans to sleep. The Spurs execute offense and defense so easy that they can go on big run without fans noticing.
If the Spurs win against the Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals, then the long standing success would widen the gap between them and the Bulls on the NBA franchise list. The Bulls will forever have one of the most iconic players of all-time, but the decade that Michael Jordan dominated is not long than the 15 years that Duncan has propelled the Spurs into the upper echelon of the NBA.