Jun 9, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich (right) talks with point guard Tony Parker (9) during the third quarter of game two of the 2013 NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick ...
Jun 9, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich (right) talks with point guard Tony Parker (9) during the third quarter of game two of the 2013 NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
It goes by different terms: “The Spurs model”,“The Spurs philosophy”, etc. Some would have you believe it doesn’t exist; that the Spurs have no different philosophy as the 29 others organization other than to achieve the pinnacle of competitive basketball by any means, the elusive Larry O’Brien trophy. There are a lot of misguided labels and misconceptions of this successful franchise. “Boring basketball?” Maybe if you consider a team that finished the 2012-13 season 4th in points per game and 6th in offensive efficiency. In addition, it’s hard to try to nail descriptions to an ever-changing organization in an ever-changing league that forces innovation to be able to compete.
Gregg Popovich, the legendary Spurs head coach, recently created a stir about his comments regarding domestic and international NBA players saying foreign players are “fundamentally more hardworking than most American kids”. Regardless of the actual merit of the statement, it goes a long way to explaining San Antonio’s international plan of attack. A quick glance at the current roster reveals that only 6 of the 15 players were born in the United States. Currents Spurs hail from all over the world, including France, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. That’s not necessarily to say to American players have not been a key focus over the years (see Kawhi Leonard, David Robinson, Bruce Bowen, etc.) or that international players have always been solid finds. Heck, it even depends whether you consider Tim Duncan to really be international (he was born and raised in the US Virgin Islands). But there is something to say for a group that shuns signing flashy, usually domestic, players looking to build the next superstar duo, trio or any other super group.
In that same piece, Popovich talks about the lack of entitlement most international players have when compared to their American counterparts. He describes them as coming to the NBA as humble and coachable as opposed to unappreciative and lacking some basic fundamentals. This mentality even trickles down to those permanently seated on the bench. Mike Budenholzer and Quin Snyder, who currently compose the Hawks coaching staff, have both even had experience coaching in the Euroleague.
Having a set of General Manager and coaching staff on the same page is another hallmark of the recent Spurs regime. Gregg Popovich was the General Manager before naming himself coach in 1996. For a period of 6 years, we was both General Manager and Head Coach. Talk about continuity between the two positions. He gave way to R.C. Buford in 2002. Both were former assistants on the same coaching staff back in 1988.
Admittedly, Mike Budenholzer is not as brash as Popovich is with the media. The already tight-lipped Hawks organization need not change that aspect to emulate those in black, silver and white. But the common fan doesn’t care about media protocol, just simply about fielding a championship level team. The Hawks may step on some toes along the way, as Popovich did in resting his main players in front of a national televised game. It drew the ire of Commissioner David Stern and carried a $250,000 fine. And yet, as of June 16, 2013, the Spurs are two wins away from hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy for the fifth time in under two decades.
Danny Ferry has a long connection with both Mike Budenholzer and Quin Snyder. Budenholzer was a long time Spurs assistant, during with Ferry both played for him and overlooked in as he sat in the front office. Ferry and Snyder were roommates for four years in the last 1980′s as members of Duke’s basketball team. There should not be any noticeable impasse in proper commu