For San Antonio Spurs, Ripping off the band-aid will hurt

By Matty Farner
San Antonio Spurs Lonnie Walker
San Antonio Spurs Lonnie Walker / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
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For over 20 years, there were only three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and the San Antonio Spurs being a winning playoff basketball team. For the past two seasons, however, that hasn't been the case. The Spurs have been floating in a purgatory of mediocrity with no end in sight, leaving many fans (including this one) frustrated beyond belief with the team's lack of direction.

The Spurs' empire that stood tall for two decades has crumbled and the front office is still picking up the pieces left behind by Kawhi Leonard. For now, at least, the band-aid has been ripped off and the Spurs can start to rebuild piece by piece. The first step in the rebuild was the departures of DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, and Patty Mills. The keys have been handed to the youth and the likes of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Jakob Poeltl.

The fans and players have been waiting for this moment for years, and it's finally here. While it seems everyone in the fanbase and the organization seems to be ready to turn the next page to a new chapter, there still seems to be one more band-aid to rip off.

That "band-aid" is that this Spurs group is going to have to earn every single thing they get from here on out. I don't just mean every win--I mean every possession, every point, every rebound, every steal, every block; every single second is going to be a battle. DeMar, Rudy, and Patty aren't there to bail anyone out. The young players will be forced to step up in those situations, whereas before, they opted to sit back and let those veterans take over.