Nobody cares about the San Antonio Spurs. As sad as that may sound, it’s the truth. If fact, the Spurs may be the most unpopular team in the NBA. However, there’s an internal battle going on with the league’s most disciplined and fundamentally sound team that could make for a great storyline come playoff time. Until then, the Spurs have to figure out how to use the Big Three with their younger stars in the most effective way. In a 96-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, they might just have figured it out.
The game was the first on that Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker had played together in a month as at least one of them had been out with an injury in all the games in between. The win was the Spurs’ 13th in their last 14 games, but it didn’t come easy on the road against the lowly Cavaliers. However, the way it ended may have been the light bulb that Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich needed to transition his team from one era to another.
That’s no shot at Pop–he’s easily the best coach in the NBA today–but it’s very hard for a coach to transition from his older stars to his younger ones, especially when the veterans can still ball. Still, until last night Pop hadn’t figured out how to use the Big Three effectively with the Other Big Three (Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Gary Neal).
You see, it wasn’t Duncan, Ginobili or Parker who took the game-winning shot with two seconds left; it was the second-year stud, Leonard, who is establishing himself as the final member of the Big Four or the lead role player in the Other Big Three, depending on what day it is. This win proved that the Spurs shouldn’t just rely on their veterans and that they can’t do that if they want to make another trip to the NBA Finals with the Big Three intact. It will be very interesting to see how San Antonio plays the rest of this season after what happened against the Cavaliers and then into the playoffs.