When any professional athlete hears the words “road trip,” he or she tropically cringes. However, the San Antonio Spurs are nearly the opposite, especially when it comes to their annual Rodeo Trip. This year especially, the Spurs can use it as a way to get aging stars like Tim Duncan rested while adding to their lead in the Western Conference standings.
The Spurs started making this trip a decade ago and they’ve thrived with it. They’ve never finished the trip below .500 and have won more games than they’ve lost while on the trip for nine out of the 10 seasons they’ve done it. In all, the Spurs are 54-28 in Rodeo Trip games, so they don’t get down when the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo comes to town.
As mentioned, Duncan is ailing again after Washington Wizards guard Martell Webster fell into the back of Duncan’s legs last week. This road trip will allow him to rest and get healthy for the playoff stretch run, which will be in full force after the Spurs return from their Rodeo Trip, which stretches across the All-Star break again this year.
The Spurs are 22-2 at home and 16-9 on the road this year, so they don’t fear away games and they shouldn’t because historically, they’re one of the best road teams in the NBA. Younger Spurs like Danny Green, Gary Neal and Kawhi Leonard are already seasoned for playoff action, but this road trip will undoubtedly see less than usual of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, which will allow those young players more time to get ready for the intensity of the NBA playoffs. More importantly, it will provide more playing time to Tiago Splitter, who the Spurs are trying to morph into a power down low. Finally, it gives San Antonio a reason to showcase trade bait DeJuan Blair.
The Spurs’ Rodeo Trip includes nine teams this year, starting with the Minnesota Timberwolves and ending with the Phoenix Suns. Only four teams on the trip have anything close to winning records, so this year’s Rodeo Trip should be just like all the others for the Spurs.