After winning the NBA Championship last year and having their star player named MVP, the Golden State Warriors are looking to make history this season by having the best record of all time. Starting the season 24-0, the Warriors were clear favorites in the West as well as clear favorites to win the Larry O’Brien trophy again. However, the San Antonio Spurs are still competing for that top spot.
Stuck in the shadow of Steph Curry’s phenomenal campaign and the Warriors’ electrifying style of play, the Spurs are only a few games back. Known for their fundamental basketball as well as the “boring” way they play the game, the Spurs are 28-0 at home and arguably have the best defense in the league. Over the last few seasons, critics have speculated the Spurs are getting too old to keep up with the young, fast-paced players of the league. The Spurs are proving their doubters wrong this season, a testament to their longevity and consistency as a team. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli are playing their roles well this year while also getting much needed rest. The majority of the responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of Kawhi Leonard who’s already established himself among the elite in the league. He’s already an NBA Champion, Defensive Player of the Year and Finals MVP. His ability to intercept passes makes him a deadly threat on defense and allows him to push the offense the opposite way. Along with the recently acquired Lamarcus Aldridge, who’s already made an extremely positive impact on the Spurs, Leonard is looking to take his team back to the Finals for the second time in three years.
Sadly, in order to make it back to the championship, the Spurs would have to go through not only Westbrook and KD’s Thunder and CP3’s Clippers, but they would also have to face the scariest team in the league: the Warriors. When the Warriors and Spurs met earlier this year, it was the most anticipated matchup of the season. These two record-breaking teams faced off on January 25 at Oracle Arena and everyone expected one of the best games of all time. No one expected such a massive blowout. When the Warriors won 120-90, they solidified themselves as the top team in the league. This didn’t discourage the Spurs, however, as they’ve won seven of their last eight since the meeting and continue to establish dominance throughout the league.
The Spurs have had a stellar year, but have been overshadowed by Steph Curry’s heroics in Oakland. Not only do they have the talent, experience, depth and team chemistry to make it to the Finals, they also have the mentality to bounce back from their loss to the Warriors and put up a fight in a seven game playoff series. Their fundamental basketball makes them a hassle to stop, cementing their spot as a top team. The Spurs are capable of taking home another NBA Championship, which would lead to a rare smile from head coach Gregg Popovich.