All the San Antonio Spurshave done this season is win. And win some more. And some more. Yet, curiously, many are not giving them a chance to win the NBA Championship this season. I’ve heard all the old stereotypes, such as they are too old, too slow, the offensive is too boring, blah blah blah. You know what? I’m tired of hearing it. Here are my five reasons the Spurs can win it all.
Reason #5 – Just Enough Defense
Great defenses win championships, right? Well, almost always. Sometimes, a team that play just enough defense can win the big one. The San Antonio Spurs are not the defensive juggernaut they used to be, but that doesn’t mean they have forgotten how to lock down opponents. Looking at defensive efficiency, the Spurs are 11th in the league. Good, but not great. You only need to score one more point than your opponents. The Spurs have put the clamps on this season, and will be doing that in the playoffs.
Reason #4 – Playoff Experience
Sure, youth helps, but experience in pressure packed situations matter. The original Big 3 of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker have been here before. They expect to win. Kawhi Leonard may be a rookie, but he’s been thrust into the spotlight on the defensive side and has been playing well. Almost every player on the Spurs roster has experience, which will be key.
Reason #3 – Deep Bench
The Spurs may have the deepest bench in the league, and one of the best. Yet, somehow, players are underperforming this year. DeJuan Blair has not been the force he has the past two seasons in the paint. The playoffs bring out the best in people, and I expect Blair to take his game to the next level. With Manu Ginobili coming off the bench, that gives the Spurs an advantage most teams do not have.
Reason #2 – Offensive Efficiency
San Antonio has the best offense in the league, hands down. As my colleague Dave Daniels points out, San Antonio leads the league in multiple offensive categories. They have destroyed teams such as the Lakers so brutally, so methodically, that it was almost as if the defense was not there. They get to pass up good shots for great shots. They find wide open people for easy baskets. Other times they drive the line and kick to wide open players for three. Everybody is a threat on this team, which gives opponents nightmares defensively.
Reason #1 – Rest, Health and Coaching Brilliance
Do not underestimate head coach Gregg Popovich’s strategy to rest his stars this season. In a compact season, 11 players are averaging more than 19 minutes a game, with just two (Duncan and Parker) averaging more than 25. Parker is the only one above 30. Yet, somehow, the Spurs still are tied for the most wins in the league at 48 so far. Popovich has rested his stars and bench players well, making sure he has a fresh squad. While many teams have put a usual amount of minutes on their players this season, the Spurs decided to rest. After playing 80% of the games is just 67% of a normal season, people are going to be tired in the coming few weeks. Not the Spurs, who will have easy pickings of teams that are physically worn out from a grueling season.
Follow Paul Troupe on Twitter @gamin4HIM