Old Guys Can’t Hang
The San Antonio Spurs are have proven time and time again that age is just a number. With two of San Antonio’s key components pushing 40 in Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker in his 14th NBA season, the Spurs are anything but a youthful team. Luckily for these elderly veterans, they have a coach that realizes he has to allocate his minutes correctly if he plans on lengthening out his older players careers.
The only way to remain successful with a plan like this is to have a solid bench and the Spurs have just that. With the exception of their top three players, the Spurs don’t have a single man averaging over 30 minutes a game. This lends to the idea that the guys coming off the bench are just as useful as the guys on the court. In fact, Manu Ginobli, Marco Belinelli, Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph, and Patty Mills, all back-ups, are averaging a combined 41.6 points coming off the bench. That’s right, the Spurs’ second unit has accounted for the 40% of the scoring this year.
Having a second unit that can produce like the Spurs’ bench can is instrumental to any success a veteran team will have. The emergence of young players to fill in the role of the starters without having any drop off in production is huge for Coach Pop. This allows him to get creative with lineups and put guys in a position where they can be successful. Most importantly, it gives the old guys much needed breaks throughout the game.
This is why the Spurs have been successful in the past and most likely why they will have any success in this year’s playoffs. Having a solid bench is an integral part of the overall scheme of Coach Popovich’s plan. So far, it seems to be working.
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