The San Antonio Spurs are banged up and they just lost one of the best players in the NBA. Somehow, they’re still able to win.
Death. Taxes. And the San Antonio Spurs grinding out a ridiculous number of regular season wins. These things are all givens. And still, foolish pundits (like this one, in this very column) somehow make the mistake of thinking the Spurs won’t be a good team.
Listen, it’s only been one game, so there’s a chance that San Antonio finally does have a bad campaign. But in their first game back, the new Spurs, without Kawhi Leonard, and Dejounte Murray and Derrick White looked an awful lot like the old Spurs.
They don’t play like the old Spurs do, not anymore. That’s exactly the staple of a Gregg Popovich team. Pop doesn’t have one style he insists on using, he just always gets the most out of the players he’s got. The Spurs always find some sort of undervalued player type and exploit it in the NBA marketplace.
With his 2013-14 squad, Pop ran a beautiful motion offense that many believe to be one of the purest expressions of offense the Association has ever seen. The undervalued types then were European players, and wings who could shoot and defend.
Now, with LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan as his two stars, Pop is playing to their strengths. San Antonio is without its two best point guards, so the Spurs did what they do: adapt and move on, without losing many basketball games.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are far from the most stable franchise at the moment, but with Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns in tow, the Wolves are still a credible threat. Still, San Antonio came out on top. If the Spurs can make the playoffs in this Western Conference, without Dejounte Murray for the season, it will be yet another ridiculous display of their status as the best-run franchise in pro sports.
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