May 25, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (left) and forward Kawhi Leonard (2) watch the from bench against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the fourth quarter in game three of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Playing good basketball is why the San Antonio Spurs are world champions. However, to do it again, they must know when to stop playing.
Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker focusing on big picture
An all-time great named Oscar Schmidt said he turned down playing in the NBA because it would mean not being able to play for his country anymore in international competition. Regardless of the lacking money, it’s a duty and privelege few players get to experience in their lifetime, but sometimes the big picture has to take hold. That is the case for the San Antonio Spurs and their championship roster.
As it stands they could field three players on international teams for the FIBA World Cup. NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard would play for the USA while Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili would represent France and Argentina respectively. However, extenuating circumstances have forced changes. With the Spurs set to go after their first repeat title in franchise history, something they’ve missed out on four other times already, their players are valuing rest above all. Leonard and Parker have already dropped out of the running for roster spots while a stress fracture injury forced Ginobili to follow suit.
While the feeling between the three is one of regret since all would love to compete against the rest of the world, they all understand that the opportunities for back-to-back titles are all but gone. Parker and Ginobili likely know 2014-2015 could be their last ride together. By resting the horses now, they give themselves the best chance to stay fresh when it matters during the NBA season to come.