Continuity drives Spurs’ success


VIDEO: Manu Ginobili is back for another year, and another run at a title, with the Spurs

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Manu Ginobili surely couldn’t bring himself to walk away from it all, not with the very real possibility that he and his San Antonio Spurs teammates could make yet another run at a Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Manu’s decision to saddle up for another season with the Spurs only serves to reinforce the driving principle that has sustained the organization during their decade and a half run of dominance. The continuity that comes with keeping the core group of a championship crew together is what allows the Spurs to absorb star talent, and sometimes discard it, and maintain their position as a league power.

While others lose franchise pillars — the Spurs’ biggest acquisition this summer, LaMarcus Aldridge, was exactly that in Portland — the Spurs keep their most critical pieces in the fold and keep finding ways to rebuild around them.

Witness the report later Monday that David West has agreed to join the Spurs for the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million, opting out of a deal with the Indiana Pacers that would have paid him $12 million in 2015-16.

It’s masterful work, buoyed no doubt by having a future Hall of Fame and all-time great rock like Tim Duncan to build around. But it’s still work that has to be done, work that Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford and the rest of the Spurs’ brain trust has done masterfully for years.

While aging stars like Duncan, Ginobili and one day Tony Parker fade into the background in San Antonio, the baton will be passed to Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard and others in much the same way that David Robinson passed it to Duncan a generation ago.

The only other team during the Spurs’ current run capable of duplicating this sort of succession of power, the Los Angeles Lakers, has failed miserably in that department. Their free agent work this summer, or lack thereof, is proof that they have been unable to find the right mix of stars, culture and continuity to sustain their success.

The sacrifice needed to keep the train rolling is what has kept the Spurs viable for so long. The sacrifice from players like Ginobili, who could have easily chased his fortunes elsewhere once he went from a starter and All-Star to a world-class sixth man and super sub.

We might not see a run like this again anytime soon in the league, this sort of cosmic mix of the right stars, with the right coach, in the right system at just the right time. It’s a lesson that championship crew in Golden State might want to pay careful attention to, if they plan on staying relevant for the long haul.

Ginobili understood as much while he was deliberating about his own future. All of the Spurs’ big dogs have over the course of their run.

And that’s why Manu had to come back for at least one more season of doing it the Spurs way.

39 Comments

  1. Manu is fading but he still can give the Spurs 15-20 mibutescoff the Bench! They’ll need him since they lost Belinelli and Cojo and Patty Mills can’t do it by himself!

    This should be his last hurrah as well as Timmy Ds! The last charge of Pop and his valant heroes!

  2. Tien says:

    The Spurs are a role model for other organization to emulate.

  3. Kevin Weatherby says:

    Im A Lakers fan forever! The Spurs have always been a worthy adversary. We can’t win always that is why times at hard now for the us. But things are looking up! Patience is good! The League is looking over their shoulders. We will be back.

    • scotyd says:

      Maybe Kobe should take a lesson from TD and take less money so they can afford other players, also, look at how Duncan’s game evolves to let others flourish. Kobe has been great for alot of years but his ego holds him/team back from true longterm greatness. Last 3 years of Lakers been a joke.

  4. SPURS SECRETS says:

    UNDER THE RADAR: Pop and coaching staff will be paying close attention to Patty Mills this summer. Patty will certainly be a key darkhorse to watch next season. Although he was injured for most of last season, he has healed now and will train hard this summer. This is significant because SPURS can’t win without a cometetive backup for Tony Parker. Watch for his progress next season!

  5. Sam says:

    and Rodman ^^

  6. Broekers says:

    Go Spurs go!

  7. Drew says:

    What’s the chance that Ray Allen can play for the Spurs in 2015-2016?

  8. Andrew Diehl says:

    Which guys from the NBA draft will make an immediate impact in the pros? Three Immediate Impact Players: http://t.co/pB3xNObl4x

  9. ism says:

    Spurs these days, with all they’ve accomplished over the years, even counting in their first-round-exit last year:

    Wow. Just wow.

  10. Kolin says:

    Im really liking what I am starting to see in the NBA. Greg Monroe going to Milwaukee over everyone else was awesome. He said himself though that he wanted to play for a coach that he knew would be there a while and a team that has a future. Plus Monroe will get the majority of the looks on the elbow and in the post. It seem like the perfect fit for him. And then you got Aldridge, Green, West, Duncan all going to/back to San Antonio over big market teams for less. Its definatly nice to see players starting to value other things beside their wallet. Good Luck to all

  11. LakerNation says:

    wow!!! what a line up.
    PG Parker
    SG Leonard
    SF Manu
    PF Aldridge
    C Tim
    Sixth man: David West

  12. TPeak9 says:

    The Spurs is a formidable team then but will be a powerhouse this coming season. I could count like 10 very solid players that Pop could use night in and night out. You got your star caliber players in Aldridge, Leonard, Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. Then add some very good or serviceable role players in West, Green, Diaw, Mills, Bonner and Baynes. This team is ready to dominate the NBA once again. Cavs and Warriors better do their homework in the offseason if they want to stand a chance.

  13. ronhawkster says:

    NEWSFLASH: Putin has just joined the San Antonio Spurs and its growing list superstars http://wp.me/p2wEfU-27

    Earlier NEWSFLASH: LeBron James agrees to jump ship and join the Spurs for minimum wage: http://wp.me/p2wEfU-1Q

  14. RG2 says:

    NBA-with all do respect, the Spurs and it’s small market isn’t going away anytime soon. If you’re smart, market them like a Greenbay of basketball and cash in on the franchise’s success rather than shy away. After all, they’ve earned respect of many. Just look at their away games. Often times, the crowds are so pro-Spurs. In my opinion, it is foolish to ignore them as much as you do.

  15. Roberto says:

    Great moves from the spurs… Can’t wait for season to start…. Top notch organization

  16. Jacquie says:

    I am a Timberwolves fan but I totally agree. Poppy is the best coach. Between resting the older players and bringing in younger players who integrate well they have a hell of an organization. And now with Aldridge……

  17. Dennis says:

    The best free agents tend to flock to the best coaches, and or the best players. That’s how it is done, plain and simple.

  18. Skywalkerrr says:

    Their sucess is going to depend on Tony Parker being able to raise his game in the postseason. It will be exciting if he is moving well, healthy, and in shape when the playoffs start next year.

  19. jimjule says:

    The Spurs have a system that was designed by Popovich and cared for by RC Buford. As long as those two are together and on the same page you can expect San Antonio to put out a great product. Spurs fans, like me, have been very fortunate to have such great leadership on and off the court. It started long ago when the Spurs drafted David Robinson who is my all time favorite player. Robinson took Duncan under his wing and taught him that it is all about the team and not yourself. Duncan learned well and under Pop’s guidance became the great star that he is. Now it is Duncan’s turn to play a lesser role and hand the baton to the likes of Aldridge and Leonard. The new starting five of Duncan, Aldridge, Leonard, Green and Parker is going to be really good, but having West, Diaw, Mills and Ginobli coming off the bench will make the backups even stronger than last year.
    Bonner, Williams and Ayers have yet to sign, but they will be battling against the new youth movement of Anderson, Darius Bertans and the athletic Livio Jean-Charles. Bertans looks ready for the NBA and could easily fill the role that Belinelli did. Nikola Milutinov and Cady Lalanne aren’t ready for the big time yet, but they may be ready in a year or two. Can’t wait for the season to start.

  20. Staygolden0691 says:

    HOLY GUCAMOOOLE!

    I CANT BREAFFFFF

  21. Mark from Bay area says:

    Well managed organization!!
    When Shaq and Kobe were the dominant force in NBA, only team that could match against them was Duncan.
    Salute to Duncan and Spurs organization for their long success!!
    Lakers and other big market teams should learn how to manage their resources

  22. ronhawkster says:

    Everyone is joining the Spurs. Even Putin wants to leave the Russian national team and join the Spurs for a chance to take back the Larry O’Brian trophy back to Moscow: NEWSFLASH: LeBron James agrees to jump ship and join the Spurs for minimum wage: http://wp.me/p2wEfU-1Q

    Earlier: NEWSFLASH: NBA cancels season, hands trophy to Spurs: http://wp.me/p2wEfU-1T

  23. CLIFF C says:

    Lakers won’t attract any real good player while KOBE the ball hog is still there

  24. Troy says:

    2016 NBA Champions the San Antonio Spurs…..Spurs Nation Stand up….

  25. dtheking says:

    wht’s wrong with West? got 1/10 salary for the Ring? come on, shame on you! have a little bit of competitive spirit!

  26. Kellio says:

    San Antonio looking like a prime contender for next season yet again. The only real weakness they have right now is at point guard. I say that not because of the skill of Tony Parker, because when he is healthy he is easily a top five PG. However he has struggled mightily with hamstring injuries the last couple of years and for a player as reliant on his quickness, that ain’t good. Even the best teams can’t win it all without a little luck, so fortune willing though San Antonio is a real chance to take it all if Parker has a relatively healthy season.

  27. harriethehawk says:

    Wow, there are no bums on their team. None. All star power. And I must say I am impressed and a little jealous… You know, it’s official. After today I will no longer call them the Slurs. But I still don’t like them and OKC will still stomp them out. lol

  28. Dennis Lippy says:

    The SPURS are the gold standard and that is why they are always a factor.

  29. dustydreamnz says:

    Yes, every team adds players but the Spurs manage to hold on to many.

  30. ko0kiE says:

    well give the lakers some slack… the great jerry buss died and phil jackson retired as a coach, hard to recover from that..
    something san antonio has not had to deal with recently.

    • lino says:

      is it so hard to just acknowledge great teamwork, great sportsmanship, and great leaders, all combined into one team? oh, wait, ya’ll are giving 24 million to just one non-team player. how’s that working out for you?

    • Tim Duncan says:

      no excuses, the lakers dug themselves into this hole by not building through the draft. About time for some much needed humility for the purple and gold. Plus its good they don’t make the playoffs

    • josh says:

      annnnnd la has had gary payton, karl malone, shaq, kobe, gasol, nash…..i guess you can’t buy championships, huh?

    • apexofkryptos says:

      Phil Jackson is/was a joke. A ham sandwich could have coached his teams to victory. He did a great job “managing egos”, but that’s all he did. No game management, no clock management, no player development. He couldn’t hold Pop’s jockstrap. That’s why he always took off when he knew his true talent wanted out. Couldn’t sustain beyond them.

      • Mark Harmony says:

        I am so in agreement with you! I’ve said the same thing on other forums and people thought I was out of my mind. I’ve always called him Fradulent Phil because of all the reasons you stated.