The Spurs Dynasty is rooted in the same fundamental parts as other dynasties in American Sports: Great Coaching, Hall-of-Fame talent, and a whole lot of luck.
In 1997, the Spurs lucked into the number one pick, even while they still had an elite all-time center in David Robinson. They used that pick to select Tim Duncan, who with along with fellow draft steals like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, would lead the Spurs to five titles over the span of two decades.
In 2011, Kawhi Leonard fell to the 15th pick, and the Indiana Pacers, who focused on short term goals rather than the long term, traded away their draft pick Kawhi Leonard for George Hill. It had seemed like the Spurs were once again one step ahead of everyone else, when Leonard was named Finals MVP in 2014 and was an All-Star in 2015. Today he is debatably the best two-way player in the league.
To many, the Spurs were the model NBA franchise. Mid-size market team that got to where they were by good draft selections, consistent play, and good fundamentals. Not only that, but it was a team lead by superstar caliber players with low egos and a team-first mentality, a coach’s dream. Now, in the bright lights of 2018, the Spurs dynasty is crumbling from underneath them. Tony Parker has singed with the Charlotte Hornets, Tim Duncan retired two seasons ago, and Manu Ginobili is a 41-year-old shell of his former self, and though capable of dazzling fans here and there, he’s no-longer a franchise cornerstone.
The San Antonio Spurs future is contingent upon Kawhi Leonard, and he is not even expected to suit up for them this year. After Zaza Pachulia injured Leonard in the 2017 NBA playoffs, Kawhi was forced to sit most of last season. Rumors started swirling about his unwillingness to play, even when cleared by team doctors. A players’ intervention was believed to be held mid-season, where veterans implored Leonard to play, but to no avail. Now it’s come out that he is demanding a trade, preferably to the LA Clippers or Lakers.
The most intriguing thing about this is Kawhi’s silence throughout the whole matter. Known as a very quiet and unassuming off-the-court personality, Kawhi has said very little during this whole ordeal.
If he were to change teams, the ripple effect would be felt throughout the league. Could a potential team-up with Lebron dethrone the Warriors? Could he bring the Clippers to relevancy? Even if he opts to stay in San Antonio, the Spurs are immediately thrown in the Championship discussion.
Where will he go? What stories can we believe? Is his injury even fully healed? Will Kawhi speak up and set the record straight? Let’s see.
Danny Lovell – Basketball Contributor – WTF Sports
Editor – Scott Neville