By Stephen Anderson
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
The Spurs will begin another bid to become six-time NBA champions Wednesday, Oct. 28, on the road against Oklahoma City Thunder, but shared their perspectives Sept. 18 at a media day.
The pre-season hasn’t been a resounding success following the most successful summer in team history when Becky Hammon, the first female assistant coach, led the summer squad as head coach to a Las Vegas Summer League championship.
The summer also marked the July 9 signing of power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, which created a big buzz. The former Portland Trail Blazer player is expected to earn $80 million for four years. His coming has raised the expectations for the five-time NBA champions.
The Spurs lost Game 7 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Division playoffs on a last-second shot by guard Chris Paul. But it doesn’t appear any added motivation is needed in the Spurs’ quest for another championship.
“It’s the same motivation every year,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. “We don’t need new motivation. We’re here to try to win. Bottom line is you play to win the championship. It starts here at the beginning. We have the talent to do it, but it’s going to take more than talent to win games.”
Despite Aldridge, 30, making the Spurs one of the top favorites in the West to bring home a sixth championship, the newcomer said he feels no pressure to live up to those expectations.
“No, because it’s never been about one guy here,” said Aldridge, who played college ball as an Longhorn up the road in Austin. “It’s always been about the team.”
Guard Manu Ginobili said Duncan’s return and Aldridge’s signing was more than enough to get him back on board, although he admitted struggling with his decision to return for his 13th season.
“I saw that we signed him (Aldridge) so I decided to keep it going,” Ginobili said. “I wanted to take this challenge.”
That was a common theme from media day: a challenge. The team knows in the “Spurs system” they have to gel, mesh together and win games. It’s about what goes on off the court as well as on it, head coach Gregg Popovich indicated.
“How they play together; how they fit together; how they accept each other, role-wise,” Popovich said. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s a lot more about that than O’s and X’s.”