The San Antonio Spurs will have a handful of alumni on the court for the 2018 NBA Finals.
Thursday night begins the 2018 NBA Finals, with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors set to go head to head for the fourth consecutive year. The last time a different team represented the Western Conference was 2014, when the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat to win the championship.
The 2018 Finals will see a handful of former Spurs return and hope for a title, whether it’s a player or coach, with at least one of them bound for glory. For one coach it could be his latest championship as both player and coach in the NBA.
After stints with the New Orleans Hornets and Indiana Pacers, David West joined the Spurs for the 2015-16 season. This team boasted Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, the final year of Tim Duncan and aging veterans Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, winning 67 games but falling six shy of the Warriors, who set an NBA record with 73 victories.
West became a role player, though, for the first time since his sophomore season and averaged 7.1 points and 4.0 rebounds. It became his only year in San Antonio, before the jump to Golden State in the 2016 offseason and a title win in 2017.
Before Steve Kerr took over the Warriors for the 2014-15 season, he spent time as an executive and NBA analyst for TNT. However, even prior to that, he played for the Spurs in four of his final five NBA seasons.
Kerr, much like with the Chicago Bulls, acted as a 3-point shooter off the bench, averaging 39.4 percent with the Spurs from 1998-01 and 2002-03. His contributions were enough to be part of the 1999 and 2003 championship teams, with retirement after the latter.
Between the Bulls, Spurs and Warriors, Kerr has seven titles on his resume. Will 2018 become his eighth?
Once upon a time, Mike Brown was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs from 2000-03, winning one title along the way and worked with Kerr on the 2003 squad. That eventually helped Brown land a head coaching job with the Cavaliers (twice) and the Los Angeles Lakers, before Kerr hired him in the 2016 offseason.
George Hill was once a future starter for the Spurs, a young guard who could either work with or takeover Tony Parker’s spot. That never happened, as he was traded to the Indiana Pacers in the draft-day transaction that brought Kawhi Leonard to San Antonio.
Hill flashed upside in his three seasons in the Alamo City, with 9.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 24.6 minutes per game, which appealed enough for the Pacers, Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings to give him opportunities. Then came the 2018 deadline-day deal that sent him to the Cavaliers to become the starting point guard.
A handful of ex-Spurs will go for a championship. It could only be the latest for Brown, Kerr and West while Hill tries for his first. Who will walk out victoriously?