The San Antonio Spurs are having one of the best NBA seasons and nobody is noticing. With all of of the hype and attention mainly focused on the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Spurs are often an afterthought. Critics have seemingly written them off year after year, assuming that they cannot replicate their greatness. Not only have they replicated their long-time success, but they are reinventing themselves in the process.
Through 67 regular season games San Antonio boasts a 57-10 record, pacing themselves to only trail Golden State by 3.5 games during their record setting year. They have won 42 straight home games at the AT&T Center, ranking as the third-longest in NBA history, while Golden State holds onto a 46 home game winning streak. The Spurs are literally nipping at the heels of the conference leading Warriors, yet receive only a fraction of the media coverage besides the faithful Skip Bayless. The Spurs rarely play nationally televised games and you do not regularly see commercials featuring their players. The low-profile, ultra successful persona has been the identity of the organization for generations. They have remained true to the “Spurs Ball” ideology that focuses on fundamentals and eliminating distractions. The organization has won 50+ regular season games for the last 16 consecutive seasons, adding multiple championships within that period. Ball movement, floor spacing, and backdoor cuts have been a staple in hall of fame coach Gregg Popovich’s team basketball system for years. San Antonio has smoothly transitioned from the old-school brand of inside out basketball, into the newer, dynamic and explosive style of play that utilizes lineup flexibility, speed and outside shooting.
Led by the MVP caliber play of Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs posses a lethal blend of talent and roster depth. The team still flaunts its legendary and ageless ‘Big 3″ of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili while all-star Lamarcus Aldridge has been a nice free agency acquisition. However the roster is loaded from top to bottom. David West has provided veteran leadership along with his physical presence that will surely pay off during a playoff run. Danny Green, Patty Mills, and Boris Diaw each play their individual role providing multi-faceted options and starter-like bench play. The recent late season addition of proven veteran high-volume scorer Kevin Martin flew under the radar , yet may prove to be vastly underrated when it’s all said and done. San Antonio continues to find different ways to win and expand the mold of NBA basketball, while maintaining their core fundamentals of team play.
The only thing that seems to be standing in the way of the San Antonio Spurs run this season is the Golden State Warriors. The two teams highly anticipated early season match-up slated to be the best regular season game in NBA history, ended up a dud. The Warriors blew San Antonio out of the gym, destroying them 120-90 at Oracle arena. Coach Greg Popovich expressed his concerns after that epic defeat, which I believe was more of a motivational tactic than a full-blown surrender.
The Spurs have the talent, experience and leadership that any team aspiring for a championship must display. They will need to play their best basketball at the right time in order to supplant the unbeatable Warriors as champs, however they posses all the tools necessary for such a feat. San Antonio poses as one of the few teams that can compete on a championship level. The conclusion of the NBA season will have us on the edge of our seats to see if these vastly overlooked Spurs can stamp their place in history, or if the early season annihilation at the hands of the Warriors was an indicator of what’s in store.