Despite their old age, the San Antonio Spurs are still NBA Championship contenders. For years, people have tried to write the Spurs off, citing the age of their Big 3 (Tim Duncan, 38; Manu Ginobili, 37; and Tony Parker, 32), and an increasingly competitive Western Conference.
After blitzing the Miami Heat in five games in the NBA Finals, the Spurs will return almost their entire championship team for the 2014-15 season.
In fact, coming into this season, the Spurs have the highest continuity ranking by a long stretch in the NBA. Via NBA.com’s John Schumann:
This is what the chart shows:
- The total minutes of players on teams’ rosters last season
- The number of returning players from the previous season
- The total minutes of the returning players
- The percentage of those total minutes (from the first column) returning for the new season.
The Spurs have retained 97.4% of their championship roster for the season. With guys like Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Tiago Splitter already locked in, the Spurs dutifully handled new contracts for Boris Diaw, Patty Mills, and Matt Bonner. Part of the reason why players stay is because they want to play for coach Greg Popovich.
The two closest teams in continuity, the Portland Trailblazers and Oklahoma City Thunder, were both eliminated by the Spurs in last year’s playoffs.
The Spurs’ dedication to keeping their franchise together and stable is truly admirable in a league that sees quick, frequent roster-turnover. The Spurs are once again the team to beat this season.
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