Spurs' Style – Flying Under the Radar
*Photo via ESPN
Go ahead, Steph Curry and the Warriors, the Houston Rockets, Kobe, and even Pozingis, go ahead and take those headlines because the Spurs don’t mind. Matter of fact, it’s what they’d prefer. Even further, the Spurs seem to treat the regular season as an 82 game preseason to prepare for the ‘real season’ or, as it's formally known, the postseason.
Once again, the San Antonio Spurs have flown under the radar as one of the league's best teams, now undoubtedly their MO. At 18-4, the Spurs boasts the Association’s second best record behind the marvelous Golden State Warriors, while both Western Conference squads remain the only two teams unbeaten at home.
Though the Spurs lack the fireworks of Golden State, spontaneity of Houston, or the lights in the likes of New York and Los Angeles, they are defined and determined by their consistency and growth.
San Antonio continues to rely on a plethora of players to contribute and step up at any given moment. Their teamwork and sacrifice has defined this franchise for nearly twenty years. While their top talents’ numbers aren’t eye popping, it’s these concepts that continue to make the Spurs great. Four of San Antonio’s first six players are averaging over 10 PPG (excluding Tim Duncan’s 9.7PPG), their star, Kawhi Leonard, is averaging nearly 22 PPG, and their newest acquisition, LaMarcus Aldridge, drops just under 15 PPG. In order to impress this team mentality further, ten of the Spurs’ fifteen-man roster average at least one assist.
Though the Spurs’ offense has defined their franchise in recent years, it’s their defensive prowess that has boosted their play. The Spurs currently rank first in defensive efficiency. They’ve only allowed their opposition to score 100 or more points five times this season and on average their opponents score under 95 points. Not to mention they boast arguably the league’s best defender, which surely comes in handy when facing the staunch scorers of the Western Conference.
*Photo via SBnation
The fact that Spurs’ proclaimed ‘superstar’ is arguably a better defender than scorer defines his proficiency and completeness as a basketball player. It also reflects the Spurs’ model of teamwork, sacrifice, and consistency. Kawhi Leonard is literally all over the floor and his numbers reflect that: aside from putting up 22 points each game, Leonard grabs nearly 8 rebounds, dishes 3 assists, and averages almost 2 steals. Simply put: Kawhi Leonard looks phenomenal in the first quarter of the season.
Excellency is expected in Spurs nation and that’s the reason they continue to fly under the radar. In relying heavily on fundamental, team basketball, San Antonio makes no major splashes because consistency in these categories is assumed. While winning x-amount of games or winning a particular game for any other team can be especially important, the Spurs seem to treat the regular season as an 82 game preseason to coast into the ‘real season’ or, as it's formally known, the postseason.