May 18, 2013
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The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the NBA's most physical teams and best defensive units. The Golden State Warriors were one of the most dynamic offensive teams in the league. The Los Angeles Lakers were, uh, probably the NBA's most dysfunctional.
But in every conceivable way, the San Antonio Spurs are balanced. And that is why the team is primed to reach the NBA Finals this season.
You want good offense? The Spurs were fourth in the NBA in scoring in the regular season (106.1 PPG) and second in the postseason (102.8 PPG). Seven players on the roster averaged 9.5 points or more, led by Tony Parker (20.3 PPG).
And the team has multiple players capable of coming up huge in the clutch or able to facilitate the offense.
Parker does it all. Manu Ginobili is just as capable of beating a team with a timely shot as he is setting up his teammates. Tim Duncan is still an efficient offensive player. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green have been making huge shots all postseason long.
You want good defense? The Spurs allowed just 96.6 points per game during the regular season, 11th-best in the NBA. They've actually been better in the playoffs, allowing just 93.0 points per game. In Duncan, Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw, the team can crash the boards, and, as a whole, the squad plays great team defense.
But perhaps most importantly, everyone knows his role and executes it perfectly.
In Game 6 against the Warriors, future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan—arguably the best power forward in NBA history—was benched for much of the fourth quarter. Did he complain? No. Did he sulk on the bench? Nope. Did he do weird impressions of Kobe Bryant? Didn't happen.
The point is, a player who could easily have a huge ego put it aside and trusted his coach, Gregg Popovich. If you don't think the rest of his Spurs have teammates noticed that, or if that sort of attitude doesn't become infectious, you are sorely mistaken.
San Antonio has experience, humility and players that fulfill specific, important roles. The Spurs are clinical offensively, and they work hard on defense. Somebody always seems to come up with a big shot. In a word, they are balanced.
And that balance will lead them to the NBA Finals.
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