In typical San Antonio Spurs fashion, the defending NBA Champions made a significant move as Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James controlled all of the publicity surrounding the league. In the middle of the 2014 NBA free-agency frenzy, San Antonio signed Gregg Popovich to an extension. This move, although quiet and not very sexy, is not good for the rest of the NBA and will assist San Antonio in maintaining their recent success.
Spurs players have to be glad Popovich will be returning for the near future, because their head coach has proven to be an absolute genius in player development. This ability is most observable this past season when Kawhi Leonard took home 2014 NBA Finals MVP honor. Leonard has developed immensely in only three years in the league. His three-point improvement has been most surprising, going from shooting 25 percent from behind the arc in college to 37.6 percent in the NBA. This is a true credit to Popovich, who believed Leonard would become the face of the franchise years ago.
The Spurs’ architect has also done a tremendous job of holding every single one of his players accountable, as I wrote about here. This accountability factor has led to the development of numerous Spurs players. By holding every player accountable to the team principles, Spurs players have flourished because they have observed the consistency of Popovich’s treatment of role players compared to stars like Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
In the end, the superstars of this free agency will deservedly get most of the discussion as this offseason rolls along. Still, the Spurs, who are content with low-key smart moves that pay off in the long run, once again made a decision that will lead to continued success in the short-term. This success will most likely culminate in more NBA Championships under the league’s best coach.