The marquee names of the epic 2014 NBA Finals are LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker, Chris Bosh, and Manu Ginobili. The Miami Heat’s Big Three don’t shy away from that moniker, and openly talk of the heavy burden they carry as their team’s top players. And while the San Antonio Spurs’ trio of future Hall-of-Famers is certainly deserving of such a title, that’s not Gregg Popovich’s style.
Asked by Jeff Zilgitt of USA TODAY whether or not he views Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili as a ‘Big Three’ and what he’s appreciated most about coaching them, Popovich glowed despite disagreeing with the public’s perception of his team.
I guess the most enjoyable thing is that they’re team-oriented players. They’ve gotten over themselves is what we always talk about. It’s absolutely not about any one of them, and they know that.
Last night Timmy and Manu didn’t do anything amazing, but they were thrilled for Danny [Green], for Kawhi [Leonard], for the few minutes Matt Bonner gave us. That sort of thing. If you have three people on your team that lead the way in that manner, it’s to be enjoyed on a daily basis.
I don’t think of them as a Big Three like you all do. We play a lot of guys and depend on our bench a lot. There aren’t that many games when all three of them play great on the same night; that doesn’t happen very often.
Popovich is right in some ways, of course. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili don’t produce on a nightly basis the way they did in the mid-2000s, and the Spurs rely on their ancillary pieces more than any elite team in recent memory. Indeed, Leonard, Green, and Boris Diaw have played as big a part in San Antonio’s 2-1 lead over Miami as any other player on the roster.
But we’ll remember these Spurs with a Big Three anyway, because the past, present, and historical influence of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili has, does, and will always loom so large. Plus, they’re still pretty good players to boot.
Big Three or not, Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili have obviously given Popovich much to smile about over the years. If San Antonio plays the way they did in Game 3 tomorrow night, maybe he’ll even let out a laugh.
(GIF via PlasticBlackandwhiteFinch)
Do you think the Spurs have a Big Three?
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