Image: Source

Image: Source

NBA teams work in a certain way, while the San Antonio Spurs keep marching to a different beat. It might not land them a title each season, but sticking to certain principles has turned this franchise into the most successful in North American sports for almost 20 years.

He’s going to come to the game, he’s going to score ‘x’ number of points and ‘x’ number of rebounds. He’s going to lead, he’s going to tell me what to do during the game and then we’re going to go home. It’s going to be the same routine as usual. (Via Project Spurs).

So does this actually mean anything? Maybe something of a warning to the league. That Duncan, entering his 19th NBA season and three months past his 39th birthday, isn’t going anywhere. He might have less to do with LaMarcus Aldridge and David West around, but we’re not going to see some drastic divergence from what’s been working so well, in a varying degrees of success, for so many years.

But it’s wrong to change the Spurs haven’t changed at all. Signing Aldridge is something of a divergence from the “path”. The team has changed. The big three is more like the old three. Manu Ginobili is still very useful, but he’s injured a lot. Tony Parker is the younger angle in this triangle, but not everyone remains good in his mid or late 30’s. Parker might see a quicker, earlier decline.

The Spurs now lean on other pillars. Kawhi Leonard is one of the two max players on the team. The 2014 Finals MVP. Their best player, when healthy, last season. And he’s just getting better. Danny Green is the inferior version of him, but still one of the best 3 & D guys a team can have, especially at what some might consider a discount price.

Some things are changing for the Spurs. They had to after last season’s first round exit, and the time that goes by and leaves no prisoners behind. The Spurs are no longer in the hold of the fear of what happens when Duncan retires, and Ginobili and/or Parker follow him. There’s a solid basis for success beyond those names, which was what this offseason was all about.