Just So You Know, the Spurs Are Kind of Good

21 05 2012


April 11. This date marks the last time the Spurs lost an NBA game. And not one player on the team has a big head.

As the San Antonio Spurs calmly took down the Los Angeles Clippers 102-99 to send the Clippers fishin’, they consequently won their 18th game in a row, which includes a perfect 8-0 playoff record. This conglomerate of veterans and young players won six of these eight games by double digits.

Even though Gregg Popovich won’t allow anyone on his team to discuss the topic, this team is on a definitive mission. By means of the only “Big Three” currently in the NBA to last more than a decade, the Spurs have a goal to bring their franchise a fifth championship in the past 14 seasons, and it is showing in their gameplay. They have 10 players that all have the ability to make a play down the stretch while this series proved their opponent had one – Mr. Paul.

In the last five minutes of Game 4, Tim Duncan, Danny Green, Matt Bonner, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all found a way to pick up either points or assists for their team. What about the Clippers? Chris Paul was the only one to contribute any points or assists for his team’s box score. While the Spurs took about two to four dribbles before moving the ball around the court as they have done during this winning streak and all season, the Clippers were only able to have one guy dribble the ball over and over before attempting to create something for his team.

While this fresh Clippers squad has seven free agents and a lot of kinks to fix in the gears, the Spurs’ engine that has allowed their team car to run for seemingly 150,000 miles still has many miles to go.

The Clippers might have had the best player on the court, but the Spurs by far had the better group of players with exceedingly better chemistry. Many continue to point out the flaws of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and many other Clippers that have hurt their chances against the Spurs. Well, their opponent that just swept them has plenty of players with flaws. Tony Parker can’t shoot three-pointers. Matt Bonner can only shoot three-pointers. Manu Ginobili needs rogaine as bad as Lebron James. But the players on the No. 1 seeded team in the West play off one another, leaning on each of their teammates’ strengths. They pass and they slash their way to victory. Sweeping Lob City didn’t just happen by chance; they swept them because their organization had assembled a better overall squad.

How did their management assemble this squad?

Answer: completely different than the norm in the NBA right now.

Miami, New York, Los Angeles and the other Los Angeles have all focused on putting together a few superstars before establishing a reputable coach or a reliable bench. It’s about bringing in those ticket sales, making as many jerseys with a recognizable name on the back and having a stardom pairing that looks better than Jordan/Pippen on paper (which most likely won’t look better on the court). San Antonio has done the complete opposite.

Even though every one of the Spurs Big Three has been an All-Star at some point in their career, they are not celebrities. Let me clarifty – they do not believe that they are celebrities.

Through the guidance of one of the wisest coaches to ever hold a coaching position in the NBA, Duncan/Parker/Ginobili possess a demeanor unlike any other trio of leaders in the league. They might be highly skilled basketball players, but they are not “celebrity superstars” such as LeBron/Wade, Melo/STAT, Kobe/Gasol/Bynum and CP3/Griffin.

Outside of these top three players who have not been given luxurious triple-digit contracts, their team has other players picked out from the crowd that work in Popovich’s system specifically. Instead of forcing insurmountable expectations by putting a few huge names together and marketing their team’s image for all to see, the Spurs picked up a waived Cleveland Cavalier (Danny Green) in 2011 and a waived Charlotte Bobcat (Boris Diaw) in 2012 while also drafting a nobody at No. 57 (Manu Ginobili) in the 1999 NBA Draft and trading George Hill to the Indiana Pacers so they could draft a player they liked at No. 15 (Kawhri Leonard) in the 2011 NBA Draft. Oh yeah, and other than the 2008 Sixth Man of the Year, all of these players start.

Every single other team in the Western and Eastern Conference Semifinals has found a way to make it into the media for reasons unrelated to what occurs during a 48 minute basketball game. The Sixers could also be considered as another team that has kept their stories on the court, but they don’t come close to having the pedigree that San Antonio has created the past 14 years.

Why has this team been able to spread out their three (and possibly counting) championships over such a long period of time? It all starts and will end with the Spurs former general manager and current head coach.

“Each game is just a separate entity.”

This was Popovich’s response to the media’s remark about the Spurs consistent ability to win no matter the obstacle they face – even if that is a 24-point deficit.

When any Spur speaks into a microphone, it’s as if they have an earpiece connected to their coach as he tells them what to say. He has ingrained a certain attitude that follows each player (yes, even Stephen Jackson) on and off the court. Even though this could be considered as an insignificant team characteristic toward winning games, this would simply be ignoring the obvious. A team does not go 13 years with 50+ win seasons without something remaining consistent to help push along the success. Since this franchise comes from a small market and lacks the ability to write multiple extravagant checks, the current longest tenured NBA coach with one team has been the cornerstone for success. He has been the cornerstone for sarcasm. He has been the cornerstone of a dynasty.

This team won’t make the SportsCenter Top 10, and they won’t make your Twitter blow up. They don’t care. The personnel on this team has had a focus in the past and currently has a focus that has led them to become the favorite to win the 2012 NBA championship. Yes, the supposed old Spurs should be considered to have the best chance to go all the way.

So, as Andrew Bynum and the Lakers attempt to fix his immaturity, Russell Westbrook borrows Sally Jessy Raphael’s glasses for post-game press conferences, Kevin Garnett calls out his opponent’s team owner and the Miami Heat cancel their practice and media availability, the Spurs will do the only thing they know how to do.

Win.

 

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2 responses

22 05 2012
David Ernst

Jay, this post is incredible. Thanks for finally giving the Spurs the respect and recognition they’ve deserved. As a popular belief, I also got the Spurs winning it all; however, it will come to no surprise if OKC beats them. Although San Antonio has the most solid team so far in the playoffs, their competition does not match up to the Lakers or last year’s champions, Dallas. Then again, not many teams can say they have gone their first two rounds of the playoffs sweeping their opponents. I give tons of respect towards my team, as well as any opponent they face. With OKC having the scoring champion, arguably the best point guard this season along with Tony Parker, and the sixth man of the year, the series should be a magnificent one. I love your blog man. Keep up the great work. Go Spurs!!!!

21 05 2012
Anonymous

What’s amazing is how he doesn’t even shorten his rotation… he goes so deep into his bench! Reminds me of another recent champion.

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