Our very own Air Alamo Site Expert, Jonah Kubicek, wrote an article recently in which he built a starting five of the San Antonio Spurs' all-time rivals. The result was a star-studded lineup full of the top-75 players in NBA history— Nash at PG, Kobe as the 2-guard, Kawhi and Dirk at the forward spots, and Hakeem as the center. My question is: could an all-time Spurs team put up a fight against that lineup?
Jonah limited himself to one player per franchise in his exercise, so I want to give myself some guidelines as well. The peak years of each player’s career will be represented in the lineup, and there can be no overlap in the years chosen. Otherwise, it’d be pretty easy to look at the title-winning 2014 Spurs roster and take 3 or 4 guys from that team. Nevertheless, let’s jump in!
Coach: Gregg Popovich, 2014-16
Yes, this is quite obvious. But it would be unfair to Coach Pop to put anyone else up for discussion. The only other names of note in Spurs coaching history are Albeck, Brown, and Hill (who Popovich, then GM, fired and replaced with himself). Again, there’s no debate. You could practically grab any year(s) of Popovich and call it his “prime.” Heck, he’s putting on a masterclass this season despite the team's record. I went with the end of the Big 3 era because I felt those years were the epitome of "Beautiful Game" basketball.
Jonah didn’t include a coach to pair with his all-time lineup, but there are a lot of great options to choose from. The coaches that the Spurs faced in the Finals are as follows: Jeff Van Gundy, Byron Scott, the previously mentioned Larry Brown, Mike Brown, and Erik Spoelstra. And that list doesn’t even include other greats that coached against San Antonio along the way to those Finals trips, such as Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Rick Carlisle, and Steve Kerr.
Regardless of who is chosen, I’m giving the Spurs the advantage in coaching— Pop is the greatest of all time, after all. San Antonio up 1-0.