The San Antonio Spurs are considered one of the most drama free basketball teams in the NBA. With decades under his belt as head coach, Gregg Popovich rarely stepped into the spotlight to reprimand or deal with a problematic player. Throughout the years, no scandalous issue besmirched the Tim Duncan team - a feat almost impossible to achieve in the world of sports. Despite the temptations, the Tony Parker squad has remained practically spotless regarding criminal records and shameful tabloid stories.
However, maintaining a well-disciplined and high-quality NBA team is not an easy task in the league. Hence, Popovich revealed that the San Antonio Spurs have no patience for players who fail to see their role in the team. That is, the head coach only allows NBA stars who understand that it takes an entire basketball squad to win in the league.
"For us, it's easy," shared Popovich of the team's criteria in determining who to sign in the roster, according to ESPN. The San Antonio Spurs head coach added, "We're looking for character, but what the hell does that mean? We're looking for people -- and I've said it many times -- that have gotten over themselves. And you can tell that pretty quick. You can talk to somebody for four or five minutes, and you can tell if it's about them or if they understand that they're just a piece of the puzzle. So we look for that."
Popovich went on to state that to fit in the San Antonio Spurs roster, an NBA star must have a sense of humor. He shared that he values a team member capable of laughing and finding humor even in the bleakest moments of the group. Popovich added that a member of the San Antonio Spurs team must be able "to take a dig" and "give a dig." That is, a basketball player must be confident and comfortable enough with his abilities to be able to accept criticism and tips.
"We need people who can handle information and not take it personally because in most of these organizations, there's a big divide," he said. Popovich continued, "All of the sudden, the wall goes up between management and coaching, and everybody is ready to blame back and forth. And that's the rule, rather than the exception. It just happens, but that's about people. It's about finding people who have all those kinds of qualities, so we do our best to look for that, and when somebody comes, they figure it out pretty quick."
Hence, it comes as no surprise that the San Antonio Spurs are not as aggressive as other NBA teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets when it comes to signing players. So far, the biggest stars acquired by the Manu Ginobili squad are LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard.
Aldridge, who played for nine years with the Portland Trailblazers, signed with the San Antonio Spurs with the hope of finally bagging an NBA Finals trophy. As for Leonard, the promising All-Star came in following a trade with the Indiana Pacers in 2011. Since then, the two have exhibited the qualities Popovich wants in a player. Above all, both Aldridge and Leonard showed the hunger to learn more about the game day after day.
"I think we've come a long way as far as understanding my game and understanding how to mesh it," shared Aldridge via ESPN, referring to his gradual growth in his role alongside Leonard. He added, "I think we've got a good balance of how to use me, and I think I've understood how to play in the system better. I know it's tough to beat us when we both play well. I think lately, we've both kind of found that balance and kind of learned how to play off each other, which is a process in itself. But I think we both have gotten better at taking turns out there and kind of getting going."
What do you think? Who else in the NBA fits the bill to become a San Antonio Spurs star?