San Antonio Spurs: What Separates This Franchise from the Rest of the League

Garrett JochnauCorrespondent IIFebruary 10, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 27:  Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antionio Spurs looks on against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Tim Duncan is a coach's dream.

Here you have the most fundamentally sound basketball player in the league. He doesn't care about posterizing or isolating opponents in the paint. To Duncan, as long as the shot goes in (preferably off the glass), he has done his job.

Tim Duncan is the Big Fundamental.

But its not only Duncan. Over the years, the Spurs have had plenty of great players. But how many of them were known to put on a show? Sure, they won four titles, but why? Because of the fundamentals.

The Spurs are one of the few teams in the NBA who play basketball the way it was supposed to be played.

This legacy was set in stone by Gregg Popovich, who led his Spurs to four titles. He made it clear that San Antonio basketball was about winning, not putting on a show.

Too many teams in the league have shifted their focus away from the true meaning of the game.

Blake Griffin and the Clippers are known for their ability to wow the crowd with an outstanding dunk. Kobe prefers isolating his opponents and chucking up a fade-away every time down the floor.

San Antonio is different though.

Popovich modeled his team into the winning team that they are today through the basics. I mean, when your stars are all aging, can you really rely on them to win by dunking on all of the younger, more athletic players?

Of course not.

Now, if Tim Duncan had been drafted to a different team, maybe he would not be every coach's dream. Maybe he would be the Blake Griffin of the past: a performer first and a basketball player second.

What would have happened to Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker if they had been taken by different teams?

Would they have tried too hard to please the crowd as well?

Would they be all-stars?

As the game is evolving, it is important to remember that everything that is done these days, is done for the fans.

But is it necessary to please the fans by establishing yourself as a performer only?

I know San Antonio's four rings surely have me pleased. So does the pleasure of knowing that the Spurs have the best power forward to ever pick up a basketball. And so does watching the team play basketball the way it was supposed to be played:

Through the fundamentals.