The two most successful basketball franchises in the National Basketball Association today are the San Antonio Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. San Antonio has a super team with all- star guard Steph Curry, small forward Kevin Durant, and wings Klay Thompson and Draymond Green each being players that would be superstars on any other team. This group is come together and each year they are proving to be at the very least contenders for the NBA title.
LeBron James has consistently shown that he is the greatest player in the NBA and maybe the greatest player of all time. This year marks the 8th year that he has appeared in the finals and he’s done it with three different franchises and with more than a hundred different teammates. There’s little doubt that whatever team he plays for will be contenders year in and year out.
With all the noise about Golden State and Cleveland, if you were a betting man and understand the way odds are presented, you might bet that over the last two decades these franchises would be the most winning. This would be absolutely wrong. The most consistently successful franchise in the NBA over the past two decades is the San Antonio Spurs.
For anyone who has been following the NBA over the past decade knows, the San Antonio Spurs are the league’s model franchise, and no other team is even close.
San Antonio has made the playoffs every year for the past 19 years straight, and have won five championships during that period. The team has won at least 50 games in 19 of the last 20 seasons. In comparison, the San Antonio Spurs may very well be the model franchise in all of professional sports. Led by their reserved, yet
They Hired a Great Coach
Greg Popovich might be the best NBA coach ever, but he is certainly a winning coach who has been able to best keep the focus on the team rather himself. He gets every player to respect himself, his teammates and the organization and makes sure that when there is a win it is about the team and not an individual. He focuses on making sure players are always prepared to compete and has a knack for getting the best out of every player.
They Have a System
The Spurs have a system that they teach to every player on the team. It focuses on hard work and being mentally and physically prepared going into games and while on the court playing tough defense and having lots of ball movement. The on the court strategies continually throw off the other team’s defense and offense and does not allow them to get set for either. Every other great team has tried to mimic the Spurs tactics with limited success.
They Focus on Player Development
Most of the teams in the NBA take a win-now approach which requires that they go into the free agent market and fight for the top available free agents. Teams like New York and Los Angeles have used this strategy through the years to temporarily become successful. But this type of strategy causes constant turnover of the roster and makes it difficult to build a team culture. The Spurs find the right type of players who have the skills and accept the system and then they develop these players. It takes longer but you end up with players that understand how to be success and to perform well over long periods. They also know that they will not be traded so they make a home with the team and build a strong rapport with teammates and coaches.
They Have a Culture of Winning
When players come to San Antonio, they expect to win. There are teams that have developed this mentality. Whether it is baseball’s New York Yankees, or football’s New England Patriots everyone who comes to the franchise from players to assistant coaches feel like they are in a winning franchise and they respond that way giving their best efforts and expecting to compete every game and into the playoffs.