The San Antonio Spurs in the modern NBA era are funnily enough known as the ‘boring’ team of the NBA, sorry Spurs fans. Their 2017-18 season has looked the same as any other in the Greg Popovich time. Just pottering along, winning games here and there, and comfortably sitting 3rd (14-7) in the Western Conference.
But this year has been a little different. They have had to figure out a winning formula without 2 of their best players, Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. Who’s filling their spots, and maintaining the standard of excellence for the team? That would be LaMarcus Aldridge and Kyle Anderson, two players that Pop readily points out has been the heart of this winning Spurs team.
On the verge of being traded over the summer, superstar Aldridge requested a one-on-one sit-down with Popovich, and the two clearly came away with a clearer path for this seasons future. In short, the Spurs would continuously feed Aldridge in the post, even once Leonard returned to the court. And it’s been working solidly for them.
Then there’s Kyle Anderson, who’s filled the huge shoes of Leonard’s starting role at the small-forward spot. The Spurs gave Anderson some tough love, by declining to extend the rookies contract which ends this year, and the fourth-year pro has responded by averaging career highs in points (9.2) rebounds (6.2) and assists (3.1). Both these 2 players have stepped up, with a Go Big Or Go Home mentality, and it seems like it may have paid off for them.
With Tony Parker, who made his season debut Monday in the team’s win over the Dallas Mavericks, and with Leonard inching close to full recovery, the Spurs know at the very least, when these 2 key players come back to full speed, they will soon have to learn how to play together again. “When Kawhi [Leonard] does come back,” Popovich said, “I’ve got some figuring out to do.”
Catch you Monday.