The San Antonio Spurs are one of the most successful franchises in NBA history. With five NBA championships and a reputation for excellent team play and strategy, they have consistently been a force to be reckoned with.
Of all their great teams, the 2014 Spurs were a team that stood out. Many pundits believe that this season was their greatest team of all, as well as one of the greatest teams of all time.
They were known to have played a beautiful brand of team basketball, displaying passing as a team that perhaps no team in history has replicated. This team became a model for many other teams to try to emulate. Their legacy remains prominent to this day.
Here’s a look at how the 2014 Spurs came together, as well as their regular season and their historic playoff run.
Building the 2014 Spurs Roster
The formation of the 2014 Spurs roster was a result of years of careful drafting and shrewd transactions by the Spurs front office. One of the most significant moves came in 1997, which was one of the most coveted drafts in history. When the Spurs won the NBA draft lottery, allowing them to selec Tim Duncan with the first overall pick in the NBA draft, the entire world expected their fortunes to change. Not surprisingly, Duncan would go on to become one of the best players in the league and a cornerstone of the Spurs organization for many years.
In 2001, the Spurs selected Tony Parker with the 28th overall pick in the NBA draft. Parker was a relatively unknown player from France at the time, but the Spurs recognized his potential and took a chance on him. After early growing pains with coach Popovich, Parker would go on to become one of the best point guards in the league and a key member of the Spurs’ championship teams.
In 2002, the Spurs selected Manu Ginobili with the 57th overall pick in the NBA draft. Like Parker, Ginobili was another relatively unknown player at the time, but the Spurs saw something in him and took a chance. Ginobili would go on to become one of the most beloved players in Spurs history and a cornerstone of Spurs teams for the next several years..
The Spurs also made several important moves leading up to the 2014 season. In 2011, they traded for Kawhi Leonard, who would go on to become a dominant two-way player and a key member of the team’s championship team. They also signed Danny Green, who would become a reliable three-point shooter and a crucial component of the team’s ball movement and spacing.
Overall, the 2014 Spurs were built on a foundation of players who had been developed and nurtured by the Spurs organization over many years. The team’s focus on team play and unselfishness was a direct result of the Spurs’ commitment to building a winning culture and developing players who could thrive within that culture.
Regular Season Success
The 2014 regular season was a remarkable year for the San Antonio Spurs, one that will go down in history as one of the most dominant regular seasons in NBA history. Their record of 62-20 was the best in the league and secured them the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Spurs played with an unselfish style of basketball that was unmatched by any other team in the league. Their focus on ball movement and team play was a key factor in their success. They led the league in assists per game, with an average of 25.2, and this style of play helped them create high-percentage shots that made them difficult to defend.
The Spurs were also known for their strong defense, which was ranked 6th in the league in points allowed per game. Their ability to shut down opposing teams and limit their scoring was a testament to the coaching of Gregg Popovich and the defensive efforts of the entire team.
Throughout the regular season, the Spurs had many impressive wins and key moments that helped them establish themselves as the team to beat. One of their most memorable games was a 111-90 victory over the Miami Heat, who they had lost to in the NBA Finals the previous year. This win was seen as a statement game, as the Spurs dominated the Heat in all facets of the game.
Another key moment came on April 2nd, when the Spurs defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 113-88. This win was notable because the Thunder were one of the best teams in the league and were seen as a legitimate threat to the Spurs in the playoffs. The Spurs’ dominance in this game sent a message to the rest of the league that they were a force to be reckoned with.
The Emergence of Kawhi Leonard
One of the key players on the 2014 Spurs championship team was Kawhi Leonard, who played an instrumental role in their success. Leonard had been a promising young player since being drafted by the Spurs in 2011, but it was during the 2014 season that he truly emerged as a dominant two-way player.
During the regular season, Leonard’s stats showed significant improvement from the previous year. He averaged 12.8 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 52.2% from the field and 37.9% from beyond the arc. While these were already impressive numbers, it was his defense that really stood out.
Leonard had always been known for his defensive skills, but during the 2014 season, he took his game to a whole new level. He was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end of the court, using his size, strength, and quickness to lock down some of the league’s best players. He was particularly effective at defending LeBron James during the NBA Finals, helping to limit the superstar’s scoring and forcing him into uncharacteristic turnovers.
Offensively, Leonard was a reliable scorer for the Spurs. He had a solid mid-range game and was able to knock down three-pointers with consistency. However, it was his ability to attack the basket and finish at the rim that really elevated his game. He was a tenacious rebounder, particularly on the offensive end, where he often grabbed rebounds and put them back for easy points.
Leonard’s development as a two-way player was due in large part to his work ethic and commitment to improving his game. He spent countless hours in the gym, working on his shooting, ball-handling, and footwork. He also studied film of his opponents, looking for ways to improve his defensive positioning and anticipation.
The Spurs coaching staff also played a key role in Leonard’s development. Head coach Gregg Popovich and his assistants recognized Leonard’s potential early on and made a concerted effort to give him more opportunities on both ends of the court. They also worked with him on his offensive game, helping him to refine his shooting and driving skills.
Leonard’s emergence as a dominant two-way player was a major factor in the Spurs’ success during the 2014 season. He was a key contributor on both ends of the court, and his performance in the NBA Finals was nothing short of spectacular. He earned NBA Finals MVP honors for his efforts, and his legacy as one of the league’s best two-way players was cemented.
Playoff Run and Championship
The Spurs’ playoff run in 2014 was one for the history books. After an impressive regular season, they entered the playoffs with the best record in the league and a well-balanced roster. Their first-round matchup was against the Dallas Mavericks, who put up a fight, but the Spurs ultimately prevailed in a hard-fought seven-game series. It was a close series, with the Mavericks pushing the Spurs to the limit. However, the Spurs’ depth and experience proved to be too much for the Mavericks, as they were able to come out on top in the decisive Game 7.
In the second round, the Spurs faced the Portland Trail Blazers, who had just upset the Houston Rockets in the first round. The Spurs swept the Blazers in four games, with each win being by at least 15 points. The Spurs’ defense was particularly impressive in this series, as they held the Blazers to just 97.3 points per game, well below their season average of 106.7.
The Western Conference Finals saw the Spurs face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder were without their star player, Kevin Durant, for the entire series, but still managed to put up a strong fight. The Spurs were able to win the series in six games, thanks in large part to the play of Kawhi Leonard, who averaged 17.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
In the NBA Finals, the Spurs faced off against the Miami Heat in a rematch of the 2013 Finals. The Spurs were determined to avenge their loss from the previous year, and they did so in dominant fashion. The series was tied 1-1 heading into Game 3, which would go down as one of the greatest games in NBA history. The Spurs and Heat traded blows throughout the game, with neither team able to pull away. However, the Spurs were able to come out on top, thanks to a heroic performance by Kawhi Leonard, who scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. The Spurs went on to win the next two games, clinching their fifth NBA championship.
Throughout their playoff run, the Spurs’ success was due to their strong defense, excellent team play, and a deep bench that allowed them to rest their key players. They were also able to execute their game plan to perfection, with each player understanding their role on the team. This allowed them to make quick, decisive plays and take advantage of their opponents’ weaknesses.
In the end, they’re going the Spurs’ 2014 playoff run will be remembered as one of the greatest in NBA history.
Comparing the 2014 Spurs to Other Great NBA Teams
The 2014 Spurs are often compared to other great NBA teams, such as the 1996 Chicago Bulls and the 1986 Boston Celtics. Like those teams, the 2014 Spurs had a strong core of players who had been together for many years, as well as a focus on team play and strategy.
However, what set the 2014 Spurs apart was their ability to adapt to the changing NBA landscape. They were a team that focused on ball movement and three-point shooting, a style of play that has become increasingly popular in recent years. The team’s success in 2014 helped to set the standard for modern NBA basketball and has inspired many teams to adopt a similar style of play.
Ultimately, the 2014 San Antonio Spurs were a historic team that will be remembered as one of the greatest NBA teams of all time. Their focus on team play, strategy, and ball movement helped them to dominate the regular season and the playoffs, and their legacy has inspired many teams to adopt a similar style of play. Whether you’re a Spurs fan or a basketball fan in general, the 2014 Spurs are a team that will always be remembered for their excellence on the court.