Spurs and Warriors Will Be Must-Watch Basketball

As the dawn of a new NBA season is about to commence, it is around this time each year that one starts to look into the teams, players, and storylines that will dominate the season moving forward.

Spurs and Warriors: Must-watch Basketball

The same old story repeats itself in the Western Conference, where the NBA’s best teams will converge in what will surely be another great regular season. The defending champion Golden State Warriors look like the team to beat having kept their roster almost virtually intact. Their positions as the favorites is not going to go uncontested as the San Antonio Spurs look prime and ready to challenge them moving forward, in what promises to be must-watch basketball.

After an early first round exit from the playoffs, the Spurs needed to make acquisitions that would help them compete moving forward, as their productivity will soon deteriorate as Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker are surely not far from retirement. They began their free agency by securing their long-term future by signing Kawhi Leonard to a five-year deal for $90 million. Their next move, however, will most likely prove to be the deciding factor for not only the team, but the entire Western Conference, as they signed the best free agent available in LaMarcus Aldridge to a four-year, $80 million deal. They finished their moves by signing another high quality player in David West for an efficient $2 million, compared to his previous $11 million salary. It was easily the most productive off-season by any team.

The Warriors had a much different off-season approach making no significant new signings, instead choosing to secure existing players’ salaries. As with anything, there are always pros and cons. While they failed to add new talent, they also retain the team chemistry they built last year, which will be enough to mount another challenge this season using the same offensive and defensive parameters that made them such an unstoppable force last season.

The players who departed are replaceable, and they still have the necessary bench to allow both sides to flow throughout the game.

When comparing the two, they are certainly very different while having several important similarities. Both rely on the concept of passing the ball. Each looks for the wide open three-pointer, sets picks in motion, and play contested defense. The Spurs will differentiate themselves by having big men on the court most of the time in Duncan and Aldridge, opposite of the Warriors, who found success by putting 6’8’’ Draymond Green at center in the NBA Finals. Neither team attacks the rim with any ferocity, relying more on their prolific perimeter shooting, leaving teams unable to game plan effectively, and potentially leaving them in foul trouble.

The most important similarity, however, is the mentality around their locker room, and the constant pursuit of excellence. Obviously, the Spurs have enjoyed much more success historically, but Steve Kerr—a Gregg Popovich disciple—has the Warriors in a great position to create long term success.

It seems an annual conversation among fans and analysts alike regarding whether the Spurs long run of success is coming to an end, and that doubt has always been answered the same way. This year, however, is different; the Spurs have a team that will be a contender from day one.  The Warriors, meanwhile, have suffered a barrage of criticism from all angles which questioned the legitimacy of their championship run, from “they didn’t face the Clippers or the Spurs” to “the Cavaliers were injured,” making their way into discussions. Like all champions, they’ll find motivation through this, and demonstrate how good they are once again.

It is no coincidence that each of the two previous NBA champions thrive on the once unorthodox method playing “small ball” basketball. Expect both teams to play at a very high level throughout the season, and their highly anticipated matchups to be full of great performances from their key players, constant lead changes, and heart-pounding finishes. Sit back and enjoy the show.