Spurs’ Roster Methodology Is Indicative Of Success
By Ryan McCallum
Do you know how rare it is to return 100% of a NBA Championship-winning roster the next year?
It does not happen.
On championship teams, players get noticed by the deep run through the Playoffs and chase the money awaiting them in free agency.
Extend that logic and one realizes that rarely do back-to-back champions return the entire squad the following year.
The San Antonio Spurs have a rare chance to change that trajectory this year. All of the players from the 2013-2014 Championship season are coming back for another round.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com, recently showed that the Spurs greatly ahead of the league in roster continuity, giving them an edge for the upcoming season.
For San Antonio this shouldn’t be surprising. This is a Holt-Buford-Popovich Spurs organization that has been built around this idea of maintaining a core. It is a proven model for success indeed with the franchise having won 5 NBA Championships since 1999.
San Antonio just doesn’t mess with a good thing. They aren’t necessarily a team that reshapes its identity through big-time free agent signings. Since 1998, the Spurs have landed very few of the elite free agents available.
- 2000- Derek Anderson;
- 2001- Bruce Bowen
- 2001- Steve Smith
- 2002- Stephen Jackson;
- 2003- Robert Horry
- 2003- Hedo Turkoglu
- 2004- Glen Robinson
- 2006- Michael Finley
- 2009- Richard Jefferson
- 2012- Boris Diaw.
The most hyped names to join San Antonio during this period were Richard Jefferson and Michael Finley.
They are not the NBA’s version of baseball’s Florida/Miami Marlins. They don’t assemble super-teams then disband them faster than Voltron. This must be the groundwork for the sustained greatness we’ve seen from the Spurs in the past 15 years.
This is a place where free-agents are invited to try out. If you have something to add to the core, you may be selected for an open roster spot, if there happens to be one that year.
And when you’re on the Spurs’ roster you do everything you can to stay.
Even if Mark Cuban channels Ron Isley and offers you a pound-of-money, you don’t go. It is a rare occasion that the aforementioned scenario plays out.
Typically, if a Spurs player leaves during free agency, it is just as much a choice by the San Antonio front office as it is the player’s.
In last year’s class of champions, the following players had the opportunity to leave, either by opting-out or free agency:
- Boris Diaw
- Patty Mills
- Aron Baynes
- Matt Bonner
- Damion James
The outlook on the 2014-2015 season would be much different without these players, minus Damion James, in the fold.
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Winning back-to-back titles is not impossible. Since 1980 it has happened eight times. This team, the same team that ran over the Miami Heat in the 2014 Finals, has an excellent opportunity to win it all again. As of October 23rd, they are in the top spot on ESPN’s Power Rankings.
A dynasty where not only the same team wins multiple championships, but winning multiple championships with the same roster- now that is special unique among dynasties.
What do you think about the roster decisions that the San Antonio Spurs make? Let us know in the comments!
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