2013 NBA Census: An Unofficial Look at the NBA Landscape


As the 2013 NBA kicks off there is a sense of urgency among the San Antonio Spurs and their fan base to get the bad taste from last season’s NBA Finals out of their collective mouths. The time can not pass by quick enough for Spurs’ fans until the home opener begins against the Memphis Grizzlies tonight.

Today, we shall take a moment to journey away from the court, and a take a different look at where the Spurs stand on the NBA landscape.

Thanks to Andrew Powell-Morse of ticket website BestTickets, a local ticket retailer based in San Antonio, who provided Project Spurs with the unofficial 2013 NBA Census via the bestticketsblog.

Flexibility and agility are keys on both ends of the floor in the Spurs system.  The guards have to be able to hold their own against the opposition’s big men while the Spurs’ big men have to be able slow down opposing guards on the pick roll or pick and pop situations to allow the Spurs’ guard to catch up.  The days of having slow plodding big men or small guards who get easily pushed around is going the way of the dinosaur.  Currently in the NBA there are more players that can play both the Forward and Center position alone.

The emphasis on agility and flexibility means the Spurs are not looking for the players that tower over opponents nor have the brute to push opponents around. The Spurs simply focus on acquiring players who may be undersized but go after it on the defensive end while doing things on the offensive end that complement the core players well.

In their search for players to help build this dynasty, the Spurs are not afraid of going down the path less traveled.  They didn’t hesitate to go over seas in acquiring Parker and Ginobili as well as other foreign players.  The team’s success allowed the front office draft players and let them work on their game overseas in order to be fully prepared to play when they reach the NBA.

Other teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Atlanta Hawks (both GMs who cut their teeth with the Spurs) have followed the Spurs model to looking overseas to help build the team.

The Spurs’ consistent excellence is directly correlated to the fact that “the Big 3” have been together since the 2002-2003 NBA season.  In an era where teams enjoy a run of five to ten years and then look tear it apart and sell off the pieces for assets that will help them to rebuild quickly, the Spurs have kept the core together and enjoyed an unprecedented 15 year streak of making the playoffs.

“The Big Three” have individually shattered the life expectancy for players at their position.  Duncan’s sixteen years have almost tripled the average of 5.64 years. Ginobili’s 11 years has almost doubled the average of 5.64 years for players that can play both the guard and forward position. While Tony Parker’s eleven years service is almost tripling the 4.60 year average for guards.

Combine all of these facts and practices together folks and you get your San Antonio Spurs.

So Spurs’ fans, do you see more teams following the Spurs’ model on how to build a franchise for continued success?