The remodeling of the Spurs' system since the Phoenix Suns pick-and-rolled them to an early playoff death in 2010 hasn't been an overnight evolution. Perhaps you can classify the offensive style change as close to this, given the relative shock of the sparkly new high-scoring machine we saw in San Antonio. But the practiced perfection of a philosophy is a process few actually achieve, regardless of arena. Not only does it require a refinement of mentality, a stylistic evolution often demands roster rearrangement. Against those Steve Nash Suns, we saw a Spurs team without the requisite depth, size and athleticism to supplement its aging core. The days of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili winning titles with the likes of Jaren Jackson, Mario Elie and Rasho Nesterovic -- relative plug-in players on short contracts and small salaries -- were no longer. Any future title hopes for the Big 3 necessitated an influx of game-changing talent, and at least a shred of athleticism. Duncan would most likely never be an elite pick-and-roll defender again in his career, especially when the situation involved his man popping for the jump shot. But as quickly as the game changed for the old grind-it-out Spurs, the lineup turnover has been a bit more gradual. With the ever-coveted "athletic stretch four" becoming such a valuable -- not to mention expensive -- commodity in today's NBA, the Spurs have revamped in other ways, focusing on the percentages and schematically forcing opponents into taking the mid-range jumper, one of the least efficient shots in basketball. If you're going to have a weakness defensively, it might as well be the area in which opponents have the lowest percentage of success.
Spurs: The process of evolution and the perfection of philosophy
Pounding The Rock | Jan 30