San Antonio Spurs won’t abandon their culture after one losing season

SAN ANTONIO,TX - NOVEMBER 03: Assistant coach Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs makes a point to the rest of the coaches during game against the Los Angeles Lakers at AT&T Center. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO,TX - NOVEMBER 03: Assistant coach Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs makes a point to the rest of the coaches during game against the Los Angeles Lakers at AT&T Center. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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During a Zoom interview published today, representatives of the San Antonio Spurs confirmed their faith in the organization’s values and culture.

Staying the course has led the San Antonio Spurs to great success in their 22-year playoff streak, but that’s come to an end and there are serious questions to be answered. This group, as currently constructed, doesn’t seem to have what it takes to compete with the heated Western Conference. For as much of a disappointment as that may be, this organization still believes in itself.

Former Spurs beat reporter Jabari Young published a piece for CNBC about the business side of the Spurs and what comes next for the organization. The piece was framed in a way that put the organization on the ropes, questioning what’s to come for the silver and black. Spurs Sports & Entertainment CEO R.C. Buford took the charge in addressing the situation

[Buford] then spoke of the Spurs’ values-based system, mentioned the team’s 47 years in the NBA, making the postseason 39 times in that span, and a .599 winning percentage, best in league history.

“That is the history and the legacy that we’re here to build from,” Buford said. “And from a vision standpoint, it’s not going to change a whole lot – values based, culture focused, community engaged, and championship driven.”

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Later on, Young addressed first-year general manager Brian Wright, who replaced Buford in that role last offseason. Instead of allowing the GM to answer, Buford interjected as he’s one of the two visionaries behind this team (Gregg Popovich is the other). He noted that people told the Spurs to blow it up at the tail end of David Robinson’s career and again in the 2009-10 run.

Sustained success is difficult to manage, but the Spurs have a great opportunity to keep building. This culture has made San Antonio home to five NBA championships and the best regular-season winning percentage of all 30 NBA franchises. This is a team that emphasizes player development, taking the time to groom players and empowers them to unlock new facets of their talent. That’s not possible without consistency — Even if that means accepting this group in its current state.

Trades are on the table and options are open, but ultimately, the Spurs are going to simply remain the Spurs. There’s no more franchise player in Tim Duncan to guide them through every issue or alternate scenario, but the values that gave Timmy the platform to thrive remain the same. In due time, San Antonio is going to have a frisky lineup of athletic wings and guards that emphasize defensive intensity while putting their athleticism to good use.

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With that foundation in place, it’s hard to blame San Antonio for believing the culture will guide it.

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