One of the most admired qualities of the San Antonio Spurs over the past two decades has been the character of their players. Gregg Popovich instilled a high value on character early on, which has resulted in the good fortune of having multiple point guards with an unparalleled passion for the game.
While it ultimately took Tim Duncan’s on-the-court talents to finally get the team over the top, Avery Johnson’s vocal leadership undoubtedly played a huge role in the Spurs’ success in the 90s. His ability to bond with teammates off-the-court was just the beginning of what would become a trend for Spurs point guards.
Once Tony Parker joined San Antonio in 2001, it didn’t take long for Coach Popovich to see a similar quality in the 19-year-old. Parker’s unending passion for the game was clear from the start.
Despite the Spurs making deep playoff runs throughout most of his career, Tony’s need to keep playing basketball often continued in the offseasons, resulting in success with the French National Team.
Since retiring last season, Parker has been hard at work as the owner of France’s most successful basketball team, Asvel. Success has followed him there as well, as they recently won the 2019 French Cup.
Tony’s not the only Spurs guard whose love of the game has extended beyond the country’s borders. Patty Mills has become the heart of the post-big three Spurs. Whether he’s on the court for San Antonio or the Australian National Team, Mills wears his heart on his sleeve for every minute.
What stands out about Mills is how invested he is in watching teammates succeed as much as he’s invested in himself. When the season returns, keep your eye on the first teammate to pump his fist for a fellow Spur or help him off the ground — the odds are that will be Patty Mills.
The good news for San Antonio is Dejounte Murray appears to be cut from the same cloth as the point guards that came before him. Seeing Murray square up with James Harden earlier this season after he felt disrespected tells you all you need to know about the fire inside him when he’s on the court.
He knows he belongs on the same court as some of the best in the game, and it’s clear from his social media activity that he’s anxious to keep growing as the Spurs’ new floor leader.
While the Spurs will be shorthanded in their bid to snag the eighth seed in Orlando, don’t expect that to stop guys like Murray and Mills from bringing unmatched intensity and hustle to the court.