Veteran forward Robert Horry has reached the playoffs in each of his previous 13 seasons, and his team has never lost in the first round.
Record: 59-23 (2nd in West) Points scored: 96.2 (18th in NBA) Points allowed: 88.4 (1st) Coach: Gregg Popovich (10th season with the Spurs)
Less money, fewer minutes? Sounds perfect, says a Mavericks castoff
This summer free agent Michael Finley was offered many things: a starting job, more money, a chance to play with old friend Steve Nash in Phoenix. So, naturally, he chose to be an underpaid backup in San Antonio. "Yeah, I was surprised too," says Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "He had a lot of [options] that would have made it difficult to choose the Spurs. And we established right off the bat that his minutes would definitely be going down."
After nearly nine years in Dallas, Finley was jettisoned by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in August under the league's new amnesty clause, which saved the team $51.8 million in luxury tax. Finley says his decision to sign with San Antonio, for a multiyear deal that starts at $2.65 million this season, came down to two factors: recruiting pitches from Tim Duncan and the newly signed Nick Van Exel, and the stability of the organization. "It's an established team, a coaching staff that's well respected," Finley says. "There are no individual egos or underlying strategies."
Along with Van Exel, Finley adds scary depth to a team that won the title essentially playing a seven-man rotation. If there is a concern, it is the chemistry in a crowded backcourt. Popovich is confident that his system, and the lure of a championship ring, will be enough to satisfy everyone. "Nick promised he wouldn't head-butt me," Popovich says, jokingly, before adding, "and I'm not too worried about Michael."
Neither is Michael. "I just want to do what I can to help the team win," he says.
That's just what the rest of the league wants to hear: The Spurs have found another talented player willing to sacrifice for the good of the team. -- Chris Ballard