The San Antonio Spurs have long been lauded for their consistency. They've managed to stay in contention without missing the playoffs for the last 19 seasons. That's a monumental accomplishment that's very difficult to match. Even the best teams of the decades have gone through rebuilding stages by varying degrees, but none ever stayed this consistent.
Recently General Manager RC Buford won his second Executive of the year award for his expertise in keeping the organization atop of the NBA. How does he manage to do it and what types of steps did he take? Let's take a look at 5 ways RC made the Spurs a dynasty.
5. Scouting and Drafting
The Spurs have been smart during the draft. Although they were never totally cap strapped, they have a great scouting department, and seem to be one of the best teams in the NBA at having international, and/or players who fit their team system well, tucked away with lower draft picks. Manu Ginobili, Boban Marjanovich and Cory Joseph are names that come to mind. There is no doubt that the Spurs have a keen eye for talent.
The Spurs are great at not only finding players in the draft but signing players without overpaying them, that fit into their schemes as well. Once the Spurs needed a 3 and D player, they signed Danny Green who seemed to be on his way out of the NBA. Danny became a crucial piece in their championship run in 2014, hitting 7 of 9 3-pointers and setting a finals record on the way to helping the Spurs win their 5th title since 1999. Danny was awarded with a nice contract, and that's the prudence of the Spurs. If you are given a large sum of money by them, it is because you earned it.
3. Team Players
One reputation the Spurs have earned over the years is for their team play. No matter what kind of player you were before the Spurs, you are assimilated like a borg into their team play. That requires players will drop their ego and in confidence buy into what the coach is teaching. Boris Diaw is a great example of a talented player who joined the team and used his talents to do the dirty work on the team. Whether it's in the post, grabbing rebounds, initiating pinpoint passes, or taking less minutes, every team needs a player who does whatever it takes to win and not care about the credit. Boris is a perfect example of this, and it takes that very mind state to work with this team. This is the kind of culture that has been created from the top down.
2. Attract Talent
Last summer when it was apparent their core players were aging, the Spurs heavily recruited and eventually signed LaMarcus Aldridge. The catalyst for their pitch was what their reputation already is. Coaching, team play, family atmosphere, togetherness, stability and their consistency. Those are things that are attractive to free agents and at the right time they can present those things with no regrets. LaMarcus Aldridge, an All-Star power forward in Portland, thought it was enough to leave all he had built there and join the team. He fit in nicely helping the Spurs win 67 games, the most a Spurs roster has ever won in the teams history.
1. Invest in the future
This is where the Spurs made a big splash. They traded their well liked and valuable commodity in George Hill for a young player with potential which was a gamble that paid off quickly in Kawhi Leonard. Leonard has turned into a young stud poised to lead the Spurs into the next generation. He has improved every year, won multiple defensive player of the year awards, Finals MVP, and came 2nd in MVP voting to the leagues most exciting player Stephen Curry. Leonard gave Aldridge a reason to want to join in being a co star, a team player and unselfish teammate. RC is credited for taking the chance and it has paid off in multiple ways.
When you look at how consistent the front office has been in taking these steps, it makes sense that they've been so successful for so long.