San Antonio Spurs: The Constant and The Consistent! 

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Coach Pop with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard
Joseph Praveen

When one says, "Spurs", more often than not, people in the eastern part of the world relate to the football team "Tottenham Hotspurs". However, when you go to the west or rather a southern part of USA downtown Texas, a small city with a population of just over 1.5 million has a basketball team that goes by the name San Antonio Spurs. From the same state (Texas), there are two other NBA franchises, based out of cities, which are bigger in market size, population, and economic development - the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks.

But what's special about this small city of San Antonio when it comes to basketball?? This team has more NBA championships than both the teams combined.

Yes, Spurs have five championship rings, while the Rockets and Mavericks have two and one respectively. The number could have easily been six, if not for the three-pointer by Ray Allen (Miami Heat) in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, a shot that every Spur would never forget. However, the Spurs, in spite of being the most consistent team in the NBA in the last couple of decades, qualifying for the playoffs every year since 1998, they have always been over-looked or rather underrated by the media and experts.

What's more impressive is that they managed to win all these championships in the last 18 years. It all started with the 1997 NBA Draft when the Spurs selected a 6 ft 11 in Power Forward from Wake Forest University. Tim Duncan was his name. A name which would resonate in every household of San Antonio that followed NBA for the next 19 years.

The Spurs already had veteran David Robinson, a No. 1 draft pick himself when Duncan joined the team. Together, they formed the “Twin Towers” that rattled every team with their defense in the paint.

Well, if stars were enough to win Championships, the likes of John Stockton, Karl Malone, and Charles Barkley should have won at least one in their career. What they possessed that many teams lacked was a great coach who created a system that was easy to decode but difficult to replicate. Gregg Popovich or Coach Pop as he's fondly called, joined the Spurs management as its GM in 1994. In the year 1996, he took over the role of Coach from Bob Hill, when the team had a really bad start to the season. That kick-started the redemption or the beginning of the Pop Era so to speak.

It would be more than unfair if adequate credit is not attributed to Pop, who has been the root of the system and the team. For the Spurs, it has always been the team over the players. Ever since Pop took up the duties, there could not be a single incident that one could recall when a star player was given preferential treatment over another player. Everybody in the team had/has a role to play in the system.

Each player in the team was like a jigsaw piece to the puzzle. The design (roster) might vary every year and the final picture (offense and defense plays) might be different, but Pop ensures the end result is achieved, which is winning. The fact that the Spurs have spent only 48 days with a losing record since 1997 is a testimony to Pop's system at San Antonio. This is the best in NBA in the last 20 years.

To the Spurs, Coach Pop is "The Constant", and to the league, the Spurs are "The Consistent"!

Edited by Yash Matange


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