The San Antonio Spurs are emerging as a sleeper team in the West

San Antonio Spurs Dejounte Murray (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs Dejounte Murray (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Could the San Antonio Spurs be a sleeper team in the Western Conference 

The San Antonio Spurs are quietly becoming a sleeper pick contender in the Western Conference as the season rolls along. The Spurs improved to 15-11 Friday night with a road victory over the Atlanta Hawks, 125-114.

The Spurs improved to 8-3 on the road with this win over the Hawks and currently occupy sixth place in the Western Conference standings. Outside of San Antonio, the Spurs have not received much attention thus far this season. The Spurs are in the mix this season and still considered among the most well-coached teams in the NBA.

After missing the playoffs in 2020 for the first time in 22 seasons, the Spurs are back in the hunt.

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When you have a culture in place as the Spurs do and an all-time great head coach like Gregg Popovich, then you don’t expect to be on the outside of the playoff race too often. Coach Pops’ teams are known for playing team defense and team ball on offense. This team is expected to produce by Spurs fans no matter who the players are on the court.

Coach Pop seems to have found another star in the making in Dejounte Murray. Through 26 games this season, Murray is averaging 14.7 points, seven rebounds, and five assists per game. Murray is developing into an exciting young guard for the Spurs. Murray has not yet had to shoulder the scoring load since DeMar DeRozan is still averaging over 20 points a night. DeRozan led the team with 23 points against the Hawks Friday night.

The Spurs manage to stay relevant because they have a culture and process in place that is proven to be effective. This organization also drafts very well since Popovich has been there and does a great job of drafting talent outside of the lottery.

Except for Tim Duncan, of course. David Robinson was drafted before Popovich joined the organization. Kawhi Leonard was a mid-first-round pick (15th) by the Indiana Pacers in 2011. Though he [Leonard] never touched the floor for Indiana, Leonard became part of what turned out to be one of the biggest draft-day trade robberies in NBA history. Leonard went to the Spurs, and the Pacers received George Hill in return.

Most NBA fans know the stories of the Spurs finding both Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Ginobili being a second-round pick (57th) and Parker being taken late (28th) in the first round. In recent years, the Spurs have found Murray with the 29th pick (2016) in the first round, then Keldon Johnson with pick 29 in 2019. Lonnie Walker IV was also picked outside of the lottery at No. 18 in 2018.

As well as the Spurs have done in the draft over the past 20 plus years, it is no wonder that they are usually in the mix to make a playoff run come April, May, and June. This year should be no different in San Antonio. While they are not favorites to win it all, do not be surprised to see this Spurs team as one of the top four teams in the west at some point this season.

Coach Pop and the brand of ball the Spurs play will never get old, although it might be called boring at times. This franchise plays basketball the right way, in a very traditional fashion. It is not just one guy with the ball on offense. All five players get involved in the game on both ends of the floor.

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As long as Pop is around and the Spurs continue to be the Spurs, do not be surprised to see them making their presence felt in the playoffs and potentially pulling off an upset or two along the way.