Tag: San Antonio Spurs (page 1 of 3)

Zach Lowe’s “Welcome to Manu’s Familia”

This is one of the best articles on Manu Ginobili’s career I’ve read. Includes many gems like this:

Ginobili carried no sense of entitlement; he outworked everyone in practice, especially during scrimmages, when he played as if it were Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Toward the end of an early September 2007 pickup game involving Spurs and visiting free agents, Ginobili dove through three players to retrieve a loose ball and flung it to a teammate. That player scored, and Popovich, watching, stopped the scrimmage even though it wasn’t over.
He gathered everyone and asked them: “What does that play mean to you?” Popovich told them Ginobili wanted to win more than anyone on the floor, and that if the Spurs wished to repeat after their 2007 title, they would all need to play that hard. Popovich walked away, and everyone thought the speech was over. Suddenly, he turned: “And Manu: It’s f—ing September. Never do that again in September.”

David Robinson was my childhood hero, and the newly retired Tim Duncan is inarguably the greatest Spur ever, but Manu Ginobili is my favorite basketball player, and he’s coming back for one more year. Lowe’s piece does a great job capturing all the things that are special about him.

Thank You Tim Duncan

ThankYouTDTim Duncan is retiring after 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. Over the next several days millions of words will be written about his impact on San Antonio, on the NBA, on basketball. The Spurs have already put up a lovely career retrospective, with pictures, videos, and highlights from his every year in the league. The hashtag #ThankYouTD is trending on Twitter and Instagram. He’s retiring with what, by any reasonable estimation, is one of the greatest careers in the history of the league, up there with Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Michael Jordan and Bill Russell. During his nearly two-decade tenure the Spurs won 71% of their games. His 19 straight years of winning more than 60% is a record not just for the NBA, but also for the NFL, NHL, and MLB. Tim Duncan was drafted right around the time I entered high school, and has made my hometown team the most successful organization in American professional sports throughout my entire adult life. I’ll never, as a sports fan, have it any better than that. Thank you for the memories, Tim.

President Obama Honors the San Antonio Spurs

The President, an NBA fan, gets a few good jokes in as he celebrates the Spurs’ NBA championship.

Yao Ming’s Ideal Team

Former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming did a Reddit AMA to promote his new Animal Planet documentary about elephant poaching. I always liked Yao when he was a player, so was pleased to read his answer to the question, “Can you describe your vision of perfect basketball? If you are given free rein to build a basketball team, what would it be like?”

He replied, “My ideal team would be the Spurs. San Antonio Spurs.”

Spurs 2014 Championship Ring Ceremony

I drove down to San Antonio to attend the first game of the season with my Dad and watch the Spurs get their rings and unveil their fifth banner. I recorded the ceremony, and while I spent some time wrestling with the brightness settings on my phone, I managed to get some great moments (including a rare Gregg Popovich fist pump). Here’s what it looked like in the arena.

Spurs Season Preview at Boxscore Geeks

The fine folks over at Boxscore Geeks were kind enough to let me write what was probably the easiest team preview of the season. The short version: if you liked last year’s team that dominated the Finals and took home their fifth title, good news! They all came back!

One thing worth noting is that, while the text is mine, the table data comes from Arturo Galletti’s player model. He’s apparently calculating things somewhat differently than in years past, and says an explanation post is forthcoming. I look forward to reading it.

My Bet With Arturo Galletti

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at UCLA

I’m on vacation in Chicago at the moment, so I’m largely offline. But just before I hit the road I made a wager that I want to record someplace persistent. With the 30th pick in the NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs selected Kyle Anderson from UCLA. If you look at Arturo Galletti’s Draft breakdown at BoxscoreGeeks, you’ll see that he was rated the 8th best prospect available by Arturo’s model. What’s more, he’s a forward-sized player who likes to have the ball in his hands and run the offense as a pass-first point guard. And he’s on the record as appreciating the Spurs style of play, and wanting to play for them. So all signs point to this being yet another Spurs draft-day steal. Arturo and I are both impressed with the pick.

Where we differ is in how much of an impact we think Anderson is likely to have next year. Arturo, presumably on the basis of Anderson’s numbers, thinks that he will become a rotation player with the Spurs immediately. I disagree. I think that (a) Gregg Popovich is historically slow to trust rookies who aren’t named Tim Duncan, and (b) if the Spurs manage to retain Boris Diaw and Patty Mills, then they will be bringing back a team that just won a championship and already know how to play together. With the team focus being to repeat as champions, and the oft-commented complexity of the Spurs system, I see Anderson as a deep bench player next year at best. I think he might even spend more time with the Toros than the Spurs. On Twitter, Arturo and I decided to bet a day’s charity work on Anderson’s minutes:

  • If Kyle Anderson plays more than 1700 minutes for the Spurs, barring injury, Arturo wins. I put in a day for the charity of his choice.
  • If Kyle Anderson plays fewer than 1200 minutes for the Spurs, barring injury, I win. Arturo puts in a day for the charity of my choice.
  • If Kyle Anderson’s minutes are between 1200 and 1700, or he gets injured, or someone ahead of him in the lineup gets injured, it’s a push.

For my part, I feel like I’ll win either way. If Anderson plays the role I expect, I win the bet. If I lose the bet, it’s because my team got a new, young player who’s so good he forced his way into the rotation as a rookie on a championship team. I’ll be pleased with either outcome.

NBA Finals Roundup: Articles, Images, Videos

I’ve posted my own thoughts already, but after the jump is a whole mess of Spurs stuff that hit the internet after their championship.

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2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs

HandsOnTrophyThere has never been a team like this before.

Over the course of the season–a season in which they had the best record in the NBA–no player averaged as many as 30 minutes a game. No player averaged as many as 20 points a game, though there were nine players that averaged between  8 and 17. The roster included eight international players, representing seven countries and four continents. They used 29 different starting lineups. There was a 38-year-old starter. There was a 22-year-old starter.

People talk about unselfish basketball. They talk about team-first basketball. They talk about the need to sacrifice individual achievement for the good of the group. These things are held up as lofty ideals that teams should strive for in an essentially star-driven league. But the 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs embodied all of them, to such a degree that they will now be the measure by which such things are judged.

There were individual narratives, yes. There was Tim Duncan, becoming the first NBA player ever to start on championship teams in three different decades. There was Kawhi Leonard, emerging onto the national stage and joining Tim Duncan and Magic Johnson as the youngest Finals MVPs ever. There was Manu Ginobili, leading the Spurs comeback and silencing with thunderous authority those who said his career was over a year ago. There was Boris Diaw, waived by the worst team in NBA history, but a crucial starter on a championship team. There was Tony Parker, winning right next to him, the two of them best friends since they were teenagers in France, and coming right after they led their national team to Euroleague victory. There was Danny Green’s silky offense and suffocating defense, Patty Mills’s unfailing energy and scoring prowess, Tiago Splitter becoming the first Brazilian to ever win a ring. There’s R. C. Buford’s personnel, and Popovich’s plan. There were plenty of individual narratives.

But the most important narrative was the collective. This group of men suffered the most heartbreaking finals loss imaginable in 2013, and responded to it by trusting each other more, deferring to each other more, committing to the idea that the way forward was to forego personal accolades for team success. And when those choices led them again to the finals, against the same opponent, they produced the most crushing victory the NBA has ever seen. They set a record for shot-clock era Finals field goal percentage at 52.8%. They beat the Heat by an average 14 points a game, the largest average margin of victory in Finals history. They believed in each other, set records doing it, and emerged victorious.

I’ve run out of ways to describe how amazing this team was. But that hardly matters; they are a team for the ages. New things to say or no, I’ll be talking about them for the rest of my life.

Tweek in Review

This week’s favstarred tweets get a little basketball heavy towards the end.

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