Fish swim, bees pollinate plants, the Earth rotates about its axis and the San Antonio Spurs win basketball games.
The 2013-14 NBA season has been yet another ho-hum campaign for San Antonio, as it has reached the 50-win plateau for a 15th straight year—extending the Spurs’ own record in the process.
Despite experiencing a plethora of injuries and leaning on a variety of new role players—Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli and even the short-lived Shannon Brown—head coach Gregg Popovich continues to show why he should be part of co-Coach of the Year honors on a yearly basis in the Association.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili continue to lead the way for the Spurs—as the trio has since 2002-03 when it won the first of three championships together.
While the veteran Big Three deserve praise for the team’s remarkable run of consistency, San Antonio’s league-best bench has been just as impressive.
|2013-14 NBA Bench Scoring Leaders|
|San Antonio Spurs||45.7||49.1%||17.0||11.1|
|Los Angeles Lakers||41.2||45.1%||16.1||7.1|
The Spurs’ second unit leads all NBA teams in points (45.7), field-goal percentage (49.1 percent) and assists (11.1), according to Hoops Stats. To put the latter statistic into perspective, the Sacramento Kings rank last by dishing out just 19 assists per contest as a whole, per ESPN.com. The Spurs’ bench is dishing out 11.1 in only 21.3 minutes per game, which is nothing short of astounding.
At 50-16 overall, the Spurs became the first team to reach 50 wins on the season. They hold the league's best record as a result.
While many pundits may choose the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers or Houston Rockets to come out of the West in 2014, the Spurs should never be counted out of the equation. In fact, they should logically be considered favorites after reaching the NBA Finals a year ago.
Despite winning the West in 2013, however, this year may write a different narrative for San Antonio. It has compiled a disappointing 2-7 record against the Thunder, Clippers and Rockets this season—with both wins coming against LA. They'll likely have to go through two of those three squads in the postseason, which casts some doubt on a potential NBA Finals run.
The storied franchise has been the model of consistency for well over a decade, and while numerous other teams have tried to emulate them, we may never see a team quite like the Spurs again.