Corporate Knowledge: In celebration of the Three Amigos

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Ken Berger, CBS Sports: “The Spurs have had more Celtics in them than Showtime Lakers, and it’s not even close. Even all these years after his playing days ended, Magic makes more headlines and has more to say than Duncan. The Big Fundamental will go down as the best player in NBA history about whom we know the least. In an era of perpetual coaching and front office changes, and a relentless dose of what league officials call “player sharing” fueled by ever-more restrictive collective bargaining agreements, the Spurs have lived on an island of consistency. Gregg Popovich has been their coach since the 1996-97 season, a 17-win aberration that brought them Duncan as the No. 1 pick in the ’97 draft. They haven’t missed the playoffs or had a losing season since.”

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: ” Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. For a dozen seasons, coach Gregg Popovich has been able to walk into the locker room and write those names into his lineup. Earth, wind and fire. Like the fundamental elements, we just expect them to be there. The years have practically blended them together into one multi-syllabic name with a single identity. TimTonyManu. Working, playing, synchronizing and simply moving on, the basketball version of a Swiss watch. Tick, tick, tick. In a sport where knees tear, tendons break, tempers snap and egos explode, only two other trios in NBA history have stayed bound at the hip for so long and experienced such success.”

Caleb Saenz, Pounding the Rock: “Patience isn’t an easy thing to come by in the NBA, but it pays to have it. The Spurs know this very well, having just survived (and even thrived) through two months of an injury bug that left many questioning their championship credentials. As always, the Spurs were prepared, never panicked, and maintained at lease one eye on their prize: another shot at the title.”

Jabari Young, MySA.com: “R.C. Buford: You know, we are who we are. I’m happy we’re healthy now, but that doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be healthy tonight or tomorrow or a month from now. So, I think if we’re healthy and playing well, we’ll give ourselves a chance to live up to whatever expectations we should be approaching, but I don’t know that you can judge how you’re going to (play) or where you’re positioned for the playoffs. There’s still (regular season games) left to play and then a long journey for whoever the champion eventually is. We’re all out there trying to win a championship.”

Dan McCarney, MySA.com: “Kawhi Leonard’s signature play comes at the other end of the court, when he swoops into the passing lanes like a bird of prey searching for a meal. Only instead of snatching up some unsuspecting rodent, Leonard clamps onto the ball with those gigantic hands and speeds the other way for a dunk.”

Jesus Gomez, Pounding the Rock: “Ginobili creates, shoots, scores, rebounds and makes defensive plays at the same rate or more frequently than all of those guys. And his impact on the Spurs is arguably greater than the impact those players have on their respective teams. Maybe that’s not enough for some. Do you prefer PER or Win Shares/48? Manu leads them all. Adjusted plus/minus? Manu leads them all. Statistical plus/minus?Manu leads them all. When you look at the big picture, no one that is considered Manu’s competition for the award even comes close to his level. We are looking at another tier of player. Manu is different from those other guys; the numbers tell the story.”