What the Rest of the NBA Must Learn from the San Antonio Spurs

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IMay 17, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 07: (L to R) Tony Parker #9, Manu Ginobili #20 and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs stand during the national anthem before Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Utah Jazz in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at EnergySolutions Arena on May 7, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs are 43-7 over the last 50 games. This team has not lost a game since April 11. It should not be a surprise that Tim Duncan's club is now considered the favorite to win the 2012 NBA championship.

These guys can teach a thing or two to the rest of the league about how to get it done.

Despite the lockout-shortened schedule, this season marked the 13th straight year where the Spurs have won at least 50 regular season games. Think about that—San Antonio's sustained success is not something typical of a team in this league.

Although the Spurs have been called, "old," "boring" and "unexciting" to watch, that couldn't be further from the case.

The Spurs have 11 guys on the roster who are 30 years old or younger. This San Antonio group has some of the best ball movement we've seen in recent seasons, and the team is constantly looking to make the right basketball play in order to get the best shot possible.

How is that not fun to watch?

First in offensive efficiency during the regular season, the Spurs are a motivated group under Gregg Popovich. He understands how to get the most from his players on a nightly basis, and more importantly, his players respond incredibly well to the things he implements for the team. Everyone is united by the same common goal—winning a title.

With championships in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007, this isn't a team that just suddenly learned what it took to win. A core of players who have a great familiarity with one another, the Spurs take the term "team chemistry" and redefine it every year.

If a franchise is looking to build a championship culture, all eyes should be on the Spurs.

This isn't just about the players on the roster. The Spurs seem to take guys off the slagheap every season that nobody wants and turn them into productive players. This year, Boris Diaw and Danny Green are two good examples of exactly that.

The expectation in San Antonio is to be competing for a title every season. Anyone surprised by the Spurs being atop the standings really shouldn't be. Again, this isn't a new trend.

General manager R.C. Buford has done a brilliant job of being the mastermind behind it all.

Often times people look at Sam Presti's success in Oklahoma City with the Thunder and wonder how he's turned around the franchise. Presti has drafted very well, understands how to put players together who complement each other, and learned under the best. That's right, Presti is straight from the R.C. Buford school.

This should serve as a lesson to teams looking to get to the promise land. Without a good management structure in place, even rosters that exude talent can fail. Year after year Buford's name is in the mix for Executive of the Year, and that's rightfully the case.

With an unselfish brand of basketball between the players, the emphasis isn't on individual statistics or accomplishments—it's about winning.

Maybe that's why the Spurs have been so successful every single season for more than a decade, and it's about time everyone started taking stronger notice of an organization that serves as a model for how to do it the right way.