That is the first word that comes to mind when people think of the culture Gregg Popovich has created in San Antonio. Twenty-eight of the other teams have tried to copy it and have failed in one way or another, but, Steve Kerr struck gold when he tried to implement it into the system for the Warriors.
Despite having two of the best shooters on the planet in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors whip the ball around just like the Spurs do. Instead of having one of the Splash Brothers chuck up a shot early in the possession, they sometimes just pass the ball around for 20 seconds and then launch a shot.
They don’t care about what goes on who’s stat sheet and they have more trust in one another than any other convoy in the league. Curry confidently passes up a shot that he knows he would make if Harrison Barnes is all alone in the corner. That’s exactly what happened in the game where they were losing to the 76ers with a few seconds left. Instead of having Curry chuck up a prayer, they passed it a few times and then Barnes shot what would end up being the game winner.
That’s the same thing that the Spurs do. They don’t care about the numbers of individuals. Sometimes, they pass so much that they look like the Harlem Globetrotters. Popovich has taught them that a win is a win whether Tim Duncan drops 40 and hits the game winner or Danny Green does.
The teamwork is also demonstrated on the sideline.
At any point in the game, Golden State’s bench is ready to erupt like a volcano. Whenever Steph Curry makes one of his half court buzzer beating shots, the bench has to lock arms just to keep one another from tackling him. Even that doesn’t work. After Curry hits one of his breath-taking shots, the whole bench is ready for a bunch of chest bumps and signature handshakes.
However, the Spurs take a different route to success.
When Coach Popovich feels that a substitution has to be made, he can make the substitution without worrying about someone getting frustrated. In case you don’t remember, there was an instance in the Finals a few years back when Popovich was going to put Manu Ginobili in the game and ended up calling him back. Instead of getting frustrated with Popovich, Ginobili jogged back to the bench and became even more engaged in the game.
Even though the two teams play the game very differently, they both allow teamwork to lead them to success.