Staying the course drove the San Antonio Spurs successful in their 22-year playoff streak, but it’s over and there are some serious questions to answer. This group, as currently constructed, doesn’t seem to have what it takes to compete with the overheated Western Conference. As disappointing as it may be, this organization still believes in itself.
Former Spurs reporter beat Jabari Young posted an article for CNBC on the business side of Spurs and what’s next for the organization. The piece was framed in a way that put the organization on the ropes, wondering what was to come for the silver and black. Spurs Sports & Entertainment CEO RC Buford has taken charge of remedying the situation
[Buford] then spoke about the Spurs value-based system, mentioned the team’s 47 years in the NBA, making the playoffs 39 times in that span and a winning percentage of 0.599, the best in history of the league.
“This is the history and the legacy that we are here to build,” said Buford. “And from a vision standpoint, that won’t change much – values-based, culture-driven, community-engaged and championship-focused.”
Young later spoke to first-year general manager Brian Wright, who replaced Buford in that role last offseason. Instead of allowing the GM to respond, Buford stepped in as he is one of the two visionaries behind this team (Gregg Popovich is the other). He noted that people told Spurs to blow him up at the end of that of David Robinson career and again in the 2009-10 race.
Lasting success is hard to manage, but Spurs have a great opportunity to keep building. This culture has made San Antonio home to five NBA Championships and the best regular-season winning percentage of the 30 NBA franchises. This is a team that emphasizes player development, takes the time to prepare players and allows them to unlock new facets of their talent. This is not possible without consistency – even if it means accepting this group in its current state.
The exchanges are on the table and the options are open, but at the end of the day Spurs are just going to stay Spurs. There is no longer any franchise player in Tim Duncan to guide them through every issue or alternate scenario, but the values that gave Timmy the platform to thrive remain the same. In due course, San Antonio will have a dashing lineup of athletic wings and guards that will emphasize defensive intensity while putting their athleticism to good use.
With that foundation in place, it’s hard to fault San Antonio for believing culture will guide it.