The Spurs have been the NBA's best-run franchise for the past 20 years, and no other team has even come close. San Antonio has experienced an unparallelled level of sustained success, and has done so with nothing but class.
Here are five things the Spurs do better than anyone else.
Gregg Popovich is in his 20th full season as head coach of the Spurs, and the team has not only made the playoffs in every one of those seasons, but also has been a title contender in the majority of them.
Popovich runs a famously tight ship and expects nothing less than perfection from his players — as evidenced by him calling a timeout in the middle of an offensive possession a week ago to scream at Kawhi Leonard for making a mistake.
He was also at the forefront of the movement to rest players during the league's brutal 82-game schedule in order to keep them fresh for the postseason, and the league finally is making changes to the schedule as more and more clubs have adopted this practice.
Playing system basketball
In the middle of this picture is Dewayne Dedmon, but it really could be any number of guys that Popovich has seamlessly fit into his system brand of basketball over the years. Dedmon went undrafted out of USC in 2013 and bounced around from the Warriors to the Sixers to the Magic in his first NBA season, before becoming a role player on a bad Orlando team for the previous two seasons.
The Spurs picked him up last summer, and Dedmon has started at center in 26 games for a team that's just two games back of the Warriors for the best record in the league. San Antonio makes the pieces fit better than anyone else.
Kawhi Leonard was selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers, but despite him being just a mid-first-round selection, the Spurs saw something special. They traded George Hill for Leonard on draft night, despite the fact that Hill had become a proven role player in San Antonio and was one of Popovich's favorite players ever, which the coach later revealed.
Since then, Leonard has won a Finals MVP award and has been named Defensive Player of the Year twice.
That's just the best example of the Spurs' success in this area, but there are countless others. Manu Ginobili is a good one, too — he was taken with the 28th pick of the second round in 1999, and after coming over from Europe in advance of the 2002-03 season, he became a critical component of four championship teams.
NBAE/Getty ImagesChris Covatta
Handling the media
This one may surprise some who have seen only the clips of Popovich sniping at reporters for asking terrible questions, or giving one-word answers during nationally-televised in-game interviews between quarters. But he is fully in control of the narrative surrounding his team, and rarely creates headlines by making needlessly controversial remarks.
He's also created a team culture in which his players are comfortable staying out of the national spotlight, which means the distractions that can plague more outspoken clubs never seem to arrive in San Antonio.
Getty ImagesFrederick Breedon
Death, taxes, and the San Antonio Spurs. Only the NFL's New England Patriots have been as much as a sure thing in all of professional sports, and the Spurs have been doing it longer, without even a hint of controversy.
The Spurs have won at least 50 games in the regular season in 19 of the past 20 years. The one year they didn't was the lockout-shortened 1999 campaign, which lasted only 50 games total. But San Antonio had a fair amount of success that season anyway, winning the first of its five NBA titles under Popovich's watch.