“Spurs’ Recipe for Success”
The Spurs have defied the predictions of decline, riding an 11-game winning streak to a 12-1 start, the best record in the N.B.A. A closer look reveals a recipe for success — build around a core of stars with draft picks and veteran role players — that Coach Gregg Popovich has used throughout the Spurs’ run.
The Spurs have also done an excellent job of finding quality players in the later stages of the N.B.A. draft. San Antonio has picked no higher than 20th since 1997, yet when one considers both draft position and player production, an argument can be made that the Spurs have the best draft record in the N.B.A. over the past 10 to 12 years.
This season DeJuan Blair, George Hill and Tiago Splitter — the 37th, 26th and 28th overall picks in their respective drafts — have all played key roles for the Spurs.
The Spurs’ front office has also been successful at acquiring veterans to address specific needs.
Bonner has always been an above average reserve, a player with the ability to come off the bench and make efficient use of his scoring opportunities while avoiding turnovers, but this season he has taken it to another level. Bonner has made 18 of 26 3-pointers, a 69.2 percent success rate that is by far the best in the N.B.A., and he has yet to turn the ball over.
A similar story can be told for Richard Jefferson. Throughout his career Jefferson has consistently been an above average player, although he has also struggled with his shooting at times. But this season Jefferson has been one of the most efficient scorers in the N.B.A., averaging 1.34 points per scoring attempt, a major leap from his career average of 1.13.
The Spurs’ recipe for success may sound simple, but in reality it is extremely difficult to pull off. The Spurs’ fast start serves as a great reminder of the many reasons for the organization’s sustained excellence.
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