No Stone Unturned: What Drives The Spurs Success
Mar 24, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; The San Antonio Spurs huddle up against the Houston Rockets during the second half at the Toyota Center. The Rockets won 96-95. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
They have said they are not the flashiest team, they are boring to watch. Well to Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford, to them it does not matter what everyone has to say about their team. Both of which have assembled a team that is not flashy, boring to watch, even though we do have a few that will be Hall of Famers, or do not hear them getting involved in altercations off the court, this team is a humbled team and they know that they have a job to do, and I believe with their success and how they do it, it what makes others upset.
Shaun Powell from USA Today, wrote up an outstanding article on the San Antonio Spurs entitled, Spurs always find help in unexpected places. He starts off by stating some facts. You will At some point this weekend you’ll see a former second-rounder who couldn’t stick with the Cavaliers (Danny Green), an undrafted player forced to start his career in Europe, a flabby Frenchman (Boris Diaw) who dealt with the indignity of being bought out by the Bobcats and a guard who was getting run in the D-League (Cory Joseph) just three months ago.
Dec 30, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Boris Diaw (33) looks to set the play during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Spurs defeated the Mavericks 111-86. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
He makes some good points right. Those players listed above have contributed to the Spurs success this season and in previous as well. What makes the Spurs good every year would have to start with their Head Coach/General Manager and Owner. Spurs Owner Peter Holt tells Powell that they look for players that will fit the system, there is no unturned stone when searching for talent.
“We try not to leave any stone unturned in our search for talent,” said GM R.C. Buford. “We look for players who’ll fit well, regardless of where they are in their careers. Not everyone’s a good fit for what we do.”
Powell went on to make another great point that had me sitting here in full agreement. “Has any professional sports team breathed life into more dead careers than the Spurs?”
Makes you sit back and think doesn’t it?
During the regular season, this team won 58 games and are off to a 2-0 start in the Western Conference Finals against the Memphis Grizzlies, because of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and a solid core that makes everything else possible. He [Powell] goes on to talk about the core players of the Spurs.
The Spurs are giving quality burn to Boris Diaw, Gary Neal, Danny Green and Cory Joseph and getting more than anyone would’ve expected in return. Unlike Kawhi Leonard, a former first-round pick, they weren’t projected to be this important. It’s not uncommon to see all four on the floor together, sometimes in the fourth quarter. That sounds almost suicidal, but it works, and it has for years.
May 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs president of sports franchises R.C. Buford watches from courtside before game three of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
That statement pretty much reflects the kind of coach and guy Gregg Popovich is and why he is well-respected by every player in the NBA. R.C. Buford credits the Spurs success to Popovich as well as Duncan.
“We’ve been fortunate,” said Buford, “and it all starts with Pop and Tim. Without them, none of this would be possible. Tim does a great job of providing the professional atmosphere in the locker room and making sure everyone’s on the same page, and Pop is a terrific motivator.”
Motivator is on point in describing Popovich. We get a chance to listen to him inside the huddle and you can’t help but always be in agreement with what he says to his players. You can look at them and tell they are hanging on every single word that is coming out of his mouth. Popovich is not afraid of anyone. He to this day still will go after Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. No favorites are played. Even if the team is up by 10 or by 20, if someone is out of position, you better believe the hammer will come down from Pop.
Would Duncan, maybe the best power forward of all time, own four championships if not for the hired help over the years?
Duncan does make each player around him better. He has the type of leadership that draws people towards him and is always asking for more. As stated in the quote above, Duncan brings the atmosphere that many General Managers and Owners want to have. Surely there are the arguments and bickering amongst one another, it wouldn’t be a locker-room if there was not such actions. You don’t hear this much from the Spurs. Powell goes on to state that the role players that the Spurs have are acting like starters when they are in the game.
May 16, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Tracy McGrady (1, back) hugs power forward Tim Duncan (21, front) during the fourth quarter in game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Spurs defeated the Warriors 94-82. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
He then takes a look back at some of the players in history that were ‘role’ players for San Antonio. This will bring back a lot of memories to some.
Mario Elie, Danny Ferry, Bruce Bowen, Steve Kerr, Robert Horry, Stephen Jackson, Antonio McDyess, Steve Smith, Michael Finley and Brent Barry.
Every one of these players while on the Spurs knew their roles and played exceptionally well. They didn’t try to over due it. Just like the core players for the Spurs this year and in previous, they all gave it 100% when their numbers were called. Even if it were two minutes of play to 15 minutes of play, you were always going to get the same energy, nothing less.
Finishing off his article, Powell puts out a great point on the role players.
One or more of these players will find himself pressed to produce something, either a basket or a stop, in a big moment in this series, and then in the Finals if the Spurs advance. Is there a Horry in the bunch? A Kerr? Bowen?
There is one person on the Spurs bench that has confidence in any one of his players to make that defensive stop, hit the final basket, that is left for the the mastermind of this San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich.