Why the San Antonio Spurs Remain NBA Title Favorites
Jun15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives in the first half against Miami Heat guard Ray Allen (34) in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Winning the NBA title has become tradition for the San Antonio Spurs. Here are some reasons why they could do it again in 2014-2015.
Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich
Everything starts at the top for a title contender and few teams have had it better than the Spurs. Not only do they feature of a future Hall of Famer in forward Tim Duncan but also a future Hall of Fame coach in Gregg Popovich. All five NBA titles San Antonio has enjoyed came with those two together. Duncan is not the player he was ten years ago but even at age 38 he finds other ways to be effective on the floor, be it with leadership or his remarkably steady points and rebounds per game. Popovich on the other hand is one of the smartest at his position, a keen developer of talent and builder of team unity. He knows when to rest players and when to push them hard. His presence alone has extended the life span of Duncan and will do so for other veterans as well.
Some NBA teams, and sports teams in general, are always looking for the quick fix. That often brings about constant changes to personnel and staff until the “perfect” combination is discovered. A lot of them don’t realize that part of the formula is continuity, allowing players and coaches to grow familiar together. That breeds trust, confidence and knowledge in what they can and can’t do. It’s a big reason why the San Antonio Spurs always get off to great starts each season and why they can play such an unselfish but effective brand of basketball.
History shows that no team can win a championship without a young star in its midst. Luckily the Spurs have one in Kawhi Leonard. His abilities proved more crucial than anything during their five-game rout of Miami in the Finals, as evidenced by his MVP honors. Leonard is no longer a supreme role player for San Antonio. He is a main part of their future and one of the keys to contending beyond the original Big Three of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili.
Limited change to Conference
The final key factor to note rests in their competition. No question that the Western Conference is still a major obstacle, but no more so than it was last season. None of the key teams of note got much better than they were a year ago such as Oklahoma City or the Clippers. The only notable opponent the San Antonio Spurs should be wary of is the Dallas Mavericks, the same team who fought them to seven games in the playoffs. Not only did they get back Dirk Nowitzki, they also added Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons to their front court. As road blocks go, that could be the biggest one. Otherwise the Spurs have no reason to fear what they will see come playoff time.