For 20-plus years, being one of the toughest and best defensive teams in the NBA was always a staple for the San Antonio Spurs. For the past three seasons, that hasn't been the case.
One of the biggest reasons the Spurs were always such a dominant team in the 2000s and 2010s was was that they always had one of the best defenses in the league, constantly holding opponents to under 100 points even in the rapidly growing fast-paced offense we've seen in the latter years of the 2010 decade.
Whether it was Tim Duncan anchoring the team with his other worldy rim protection or Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green shutting down opposing teams on the perimeter and not even allowing them a chance to get to the rim, defending was always the best way to capture head coach Gregg Popovich's heart.
Everyone knows we are years removed from the Big Three and Kawhi era, and the Spurs have slowly but surely been picking up the pieces since then. Quietly, the front office has been accumulating defensive-minded players in the draft and through trade to help regain their status as a premier defensive team in the league.
Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Jakob Poeltl, and even Lonnie Walker have all shown they want to work hard on that end of the floor. Dejounte has already earned All-Defensive honors and many people say he was snubbed this year from another selection.
Jakob has emerged as one of the better rim protectors and shot blockers in the league. Derrick is one of the best at contesting shots and taking charges while Devin and Keldon have shown they are workhorses on defense.