NBA Finals Preview: Style vs. Substance - The Battle for the NBA’s Soul

The stage is set and the pieces are on the board. In one corner, there is the mighty Miami Heat. They have the one player in the world who cannot be stopped. In the other corner, stands the time (and battle) tested San Antonio Spurs. They play the best team-oriented basketball in the world.

One shall stand and one shall fall, but both teams, whether they know it or not, are actually battling for the soul of the National Basketball Association.  

The Heat represent flash and style. They have Lebron James. They have Dwayne Wade. Even bench players like Udonis Haslem and “The Birdman” Chris Anderson are colorful and brash characters. Their fans are as extreme as they are. Justin Bieber’s a fan and he was at last night’s event looking…well…Justin Bierberish. The Heat are a symbol of style, power, arrogance. They were forged in the image of the Pat Riley era Los Angeles Lakers by the Pat Riley. They run, they dunk, they win, all with bravado and hubris. The Heat are both loved and hated and that’s how they like it.

The Spurs are a throw back basketball team. For them, it is all about substance. They are a team-first core and concoct solid game plans for both offense and defense. Everything runs through their big man, Tim Duncan, who has been a force in the league for over a decade. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are major weapons who will also look to make the extra pass and get others involved. Role players on the Spurs excel at doing the dirty work like setting screens, helping defensively, and rebounding. Their coach, Gregg Popovich, is a superior basketball mind who is the current NBA definition of strategy. They are methodical and precise. If they win by 1, or by 21, it doesn’t matter to the Spurs. The win, and the team, are what is important.

The game plans for each team is simple in thought, but complex in execution.

The Heat want to run and gun. The goal is to get James and Wade running in transition. In the half court set, again the Heat will rely on James and Wade to create, with shooters surrounding the perimeter ready to get their looks once the Spurs help defend the drive to the basket. Defensively, James will guard whoever is hot and the rest of the squad will look to generate turnovers to get the break rolling.

The Spurs will look to use Duncan in the post to create their offense. The Heat have 3 major players they will use to defend Duncan, but none of the three can stop him. This means the Heat will have to use help when Duncan gets the ball, which will open up lanes, and opportunities, for Parker, Ginobili, and others. Defensively, the Spurs want to funnel everything at Duncan who erases mistakes with his length. They will use help against James and count on their rebounding to control the Heat break.

And God only knows how the officiating will affect the series.

So, it’ll be substance versus style for the 2013 NBA crown. Style is arrogant, mean, and talented.  Substance is consistent, systematic, and not in vogue. Culturally, style is in charge these days.  Substance, though, is gaining traction. It’s the defending champs versus an older group with pride.


We’ve seen this before, haven’t we?

ViralRead’s pick - Spurs in 6, and the NBA’s soul is saved, albeit only for a year…maybe a year and a half.

Who you got?

1 Comment

  1. June 4, 2013  5:25 pm by Stephanie Joyce Reply

    I hate basketball, and I love this post. Gives me just enough information to be able to hold a conversation. Well done!

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