Wow, what a victory by the San Antonio Spurs defeating the mighty Miami Heat in just five games. Once again, the old and washed up Spurs have proved to fans nationwide why we should never foolishly count them out of a series.
San Antonio has been a model organization for years now, especially since pairing Tim Duncan together with future Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich. The duo has had sustained success, winning 50-plus games every season besides the lockout shortened 1998-99 season. Few teams in the entire league have the capability to win such a substantial number of games, but to accomplish this 17 years in a row is certainly impressive.
Achieving such long-term success is not easy, therefore San Antonio has constantly discovered previous bench warming players and have turned them into vital pieces to the championship puzzle. Zeroing in on this year alone, it’s doubtful the Spurs could have won a championship without the play of Patty Mills, Boris Diaw and Danny Green. Mills, for one, has barely seen the court in his five-year career, but all of the sudden he’s a game changing player off the bench. Same goes for Green, whose explosiveness as well as his ability to nail tremendous threes down the stretch has landed him nearly a permanent starting job.
What I’m attempting to get at is the Los Angeles Lakers, who are in the midst of a huge rebuilding project, must take note of how San Antonio is built from top to bottom. A coach has never had the impact Popovich has had on his team in the history of the league, mainly because he is a figure of respect amongst his entire roster. Everybody trusts him as a true leader, so this is a primary factor Los Angeles must take into account when selecting the next head coach of the franchise. They need somebody of high respect who has the capability to attain longevity is an absolute must.
Secondly, with the salary cap the way it currently is, Los Angeles must look to acquire under-the-radar talent that can make a major impact. It’s all about acquiring the huge superstar when it should be about building a well-rounded roster full of players with something to prove. Yes, a super team has proven itself as successful in Miami, but look how long that lasted. Four years and the superstars have broken down to a point of exhaustion. On the flip side, San Antonio has remained in contention for 17 straight years, being successful in five of them. Yes, Los Angeles has also been a historically winning franchise but has gone through several droughts including the mid-2000s and now in recent time.
Possessing a high draft pick and having a vacant head coaching position is the perfect way to begin the transition to building a franchise with sustainable success. Nobody expected Kawhi Leonard to become an NBA Finals MVP so early in his career. That just goes to show nothing is guaranteed in the draft. Los Angeles must find that one player who fits their team best, otherwise they are in for some rough years. All it takes is taking a deep look into San Antonio’s blueprint.