Unveiling the San Antonio Spurs All-Decade Teams
As the 2010s have drawn to a close, the San Antonio Spurs end the decade with an impressive 554-252 record in the regular season. Winning 68.7% of their games and a championship over the past ten seasons, the Spurs have seen a number of players come and go — with the one constant being head coach Gregg Popovich.
More than 75 players suited up for the Silver and Black in the previous decade, however only fifteen stood out enough to make one of the three Spurs All-Decade teams.
Tony Parker – Point Guard
Tony Parker entered the decade in his prime and helped propel the Spurs during the first half of the 2010s. Parker led the team in scoring four straight seasons and made three consecutive All-Star teams. With Parker leading the team, the Spurs won 60 games twice, made the conference finals three times, made the finals twice and won the championship in 2014.
His play began to decline over his final four seasons in San Antonio but Parker still found ways to be effective. He finished second in scoring in 2015, transitioning into a supporting role like Duncan had done for him.
During the 2015-2016 season, Parker focused more on distributing and had the best assist-to-turnover ratio of his career. In the 2017 playoffs, Parker managed to turn back the clock by averaging 15.9 points — before suffering a ruptured tendon in the conference finals.
He managed to return months ahead of schedule, helping the Spurs make the playoffs the following season. For the decade, Parker averaged 14.3 points and 5.6 assists in 616 games, while proving he was not only the Spurs best point guard of the past decade, but also in franchise history.
Manu Ginobili – Shooting Guard
Manu Ginobili had one of the best seasons of his career early in the decade. During the 2010-11 campaign, Ginobili averaging 17.4 points, 4.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds and was selected to his final All-Star team. Still, at 33, he appeared close to the end of his legendary career.
But Ginobili’s career was just getting started, as he would go on to play 424 more games until his retirement in 2018. His longevity was due in part to him being willing to move to a reserve role. The bench was key to San Antonio’s success over the decade and, as the sixth man, Ginobili excelled.
Ginobili averaged 12.0 points, 3.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds during the decade. Arguably, his most impactful stretch of basketball came during the 2014 playoffs, when he averaged 14.3 points, 4.1 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 25.5 minutes per game to help the Spurs win their fifth championship.
Kawhi Leonard – Small Forward
Kawhi Leonard may be unwelcome in the AT&T Center now, but he was instrumental in helping the Spurs win a championship 2014. In seven seasons, Leonard earned a slew of honors including a Finals MVP, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, two top-three MVP finishes and two All-Star selections.
Originally envisioned as a Bruce Bowen-type 3-and-D specialist, Leonard quickly exceeded expectations. In 407 games during the decade, Leonard averaged 16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals with an impressive 59.7% true shooting percentage.
Leonard’s long arms and claw-like hands made him a terror on the defensive end. The Spurs ranked as a top three defensive team in six of Leonard’s seven seasons. He forced more than 700 turnovers, a number of which he turned into breakaway dunks going the other way.
Leonard’s best season with the team also happened to be his last healthy season with the Spurs. During the 2016-17 season, Leonard averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists. In the playoffs, Leonard upped his game by averaging 27.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Leonard would force his way off the team in 2018 but undoubtedly ranks among the best Spurs of the last decade.
LaMarcus Aldridge – Power Forward
San Antonio’s prized free agent signing of 2015, LaMarcus Aldridge has been one of the most productive players of the decade for the Spurs. In 332 games with the Spurs, Aldridge has averaged 19.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 blocks.
Aldridge has been impactful on both sides of the ball, helping anchor the Spurs as they finished in the top three in defense in his first three seasons. On offense, Aldridge has the second highest scoring average of any Spurs player last decade, as well as the highest scoring game of the 2010s (56 points).
Aldridge has had plenty of ups and downs while in San Antonio but, overall, is well-deserving of this placement on the Spurs All-Decade first team.
Tim Duncan – Center
Tim Duncan’s inclusion on the All-Decade team is impressive considering that he was drafted 13 seasons before the decade even began. Duncan started the decade at age 34 and managed to play six full seasons.
He wasn’t the same dominant player that had made 12 straight All-Star games, however he managed to be effective nonetheless. The Spurs offense evolved, moving away from relying on Duncan as a post player, as it changed with the game’s changing rules.
Duncan evolved too by posting up much less, setting more screens and either rolling to the basket or spotting up for jumpers. He was effective at both, while his skill as a passer, ability to protect the rim and control the boards allowed him to continue to be an integral part of the team’s success.
Duncan’s best season came during the 2012-13 campaign, as he averaged 17.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 blocks in just 30.1 minutes per game. At 36, he was arguably the best player on a team that made the NBA Finals. A four-time All-Star in the 2010s, Duncan and Parker are the only two Spurs selected more than twice last decade.
Patty Mills – Point Guard
As an unheralded mid-season pickup in the 2011-12 season, Mills has gone on to appear in 563 games over nine seasons with the team. Mills found a role as a sharpshooting guard and has been a mainstay off the bench, helping buoy the second unit season after season. Mills ranked second in the decade in made three-pointers with 929, while shooting an impressive 39.5% from behind the arc.
A member of the 2014 “Beautiful Game” Spurs, Mills provided a bench spark that ultimately helped topple the Miami Heat in the Finals. The 31-year-old is still producing, averaging 11.7 points in only 23.3 minutes per game on 41.7% shooting from three.
Danny Green – Shooting Guard
Danny Green’s path to NBA success was a rocky one, having been cut multiple times in his few seasons, before finally gaining traction in San Antonio. Green finally broke out in the 2011-12 season, appearing in all 66 games and shooting an impressive 43.6% on threes and averaging 9.1 points per game.
A starter in 464 of the 520 games he appeared in over 8 seasons with the Spurs, Green became one of the best 3-and-D wings in the NBA. Green ranks as arguably the best Spurs shooter of the 2010s, shooting 39.6% and hitting franchise-leading 959 threes. Alongside Leonard, he harassed opposing perimeter players utilizing his long arms and quick feet to wreak havoc.
Green’s physical tools allowed him to guard multiple positions, often matching up against some of the best guards and forwards in the NBA. His defense was key during consecutive NBA finals runs, guarding the likes of Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade. His defense and sharpshooting helped the Spurs win it all in 2014.
DeMar DeRozan – Small Forward
DeMar DeRozan’s flaws have made him a questionable fit with San Antonio, however he has also been very productive. In 109 games with San Antonio, DeRozan has averaged 21.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
He joined Parker, Aldridge and Leonard as the only Spurs players to average 20 points per game in a season last decade. In fact, DeRozan had the highest scoring average of the decade of any player who wore the Silver and Black.
DeRozan is the only player in team history to average 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a season and has a chance to do it again this season. He isn’t likely to make people forget about Leonard anytime soon, however DeRozan certainly warrants inclusion on the Spurs All-Decade team.
Boris Diaw – Power Forward
Boris Diaw’s unique game made him a perfect fit for the Beautiful Game version of the Spurs. In five seasons with the team, Diaw played a key role on a number of successful Spurs teams. His versatility allowed him to defend multiple positions, play out in the perimeter and attack mismatches in the post. Factor in his passing ability and Diaw was as useful of a role player as the Spurs could have hoped for when the signed him in March of 2012.
Tiago Splitter – Center
Selected with the 27th pick in the 2007 draft, Tiago Splitter played for the Spurs from the 2010-11 season until the 2014-15 season. During his five seasons in San Antonio, Splitter provided solid all-around play. The Brazilian set bruising screens to free up others, finished well around the rim, was a solid passer and excelled on defense.
With his rim protection, post defense and mobility for his size, Splitter helped the Spurs regain their defensive identity. With Green and Leonard guarding on the perimeter, Duncan and Splitter worked to lock down the paint. The result: three straight top-three finishes in defensive rating for the Spurs.
During the 2014 postseason, Splitter spent time guarding Dirk Nowitzki and LaMarcus Aldridge, helping to contain them en route to series victories — and ultimately a championship. His Spurs career ended when he was traded in a cap space-clearing trade in order for San Antonio to sign Aldridge.
Dejounte Murray – Point Guard
During Dejounte Murray’s rookie season, he stepped in following an injury to Parker and posting 11 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a series-clinching win against the Houston Rockets. In his second season, Murray replaced Parker as the Spurs starting point guard. His development was sidetracked by an ACL injury but he still displays plenty of potential.
As a long, athletic and explosive point guard, Murray has already been impactful as a defender. He became the youngest player ever to be named to an All-Defensive team, helping the Spurs finish third in defense. His speed and athleticism make him a threat in the fast break, while his rebounding is well above average at his position. The youngest inclusion on this All-Decade team, Murray has still only scratched the surface of his talent.
George Hill – Shooting Guard
George Hill spent his first three seasons with the Spurs and quickly developed into a good player. Hill shot the ball well, as evidenced by his 56.3% true shooting percentage — above average for the time.
On defense, Hill’s length allowed him to capably guard both guard positions, making him an ideal fit alongside Parker and Ginobili. To begin the decade, he started 39 games as Parker struggled with injuries. The next season, Hill filled the role of sixth man, helping the team finish 61-21.
That season ended in disappointing, however, with an upset loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. George was traded on draft night to the Pacers, an amazing deal in which the Spurs received Leonard and Davis Bertans. In 231 games as a Spur, Hill averaged 9.9 points in 24.6 minutes
Prior to Hill, the Spurs relied heavily on veterans to play alongside the Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. After Hill, San Antonio began incorporating more youth into the rotation, no doubt a direct result of Hill’s impact on the team.
Rudy Gay – Small Forward
Now in his third season with the Spurs, Rudy Gay has found a home and a role suited to his game. After being miscast as a number one option in previous stops, he has settled into a role as a third option.
In 158 games, Gay’s been productive, averaging 12.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in just 24.0 minutes per game. His size, length, positional versatility and scoring ability has made him a valuable player in the modern NBA and for the Spurs.
Davis Bertans – Power Forward
Davis Bertans time with the Spurs came to an abrupt, and a likely hasty, end. Averaging only 16.0 minutes per game in 220 games with the team, Bertans was certainly underutilized despite the flashes of potential that he showed. An athletic 6-foot-10 sharpshooter, he shot an impressive 40.4% on three-pointers in his three seasons in San Antonio.
Bertans led the team in net rating last season by a wide margin and provided much-needed spacing, forcing teams to account for his presence. He’s gone on to have a career-year with the Washington Wizards but still did enough to make the Spurs All-Decade team.
Pau Gasol – Center
In two and a half seasons in San Antonio, Pau Gasol was a highly productive player. Over 168 games, Pau averaged 10.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 block in 22.4 minutes per game. Gasol fit well offensively, adding another post-up and pick-and-pop option, as well as his skill as a passer. He even became an outside threat, shooting 44.4% on three pointers. Defensively Gasol played center, allowing him to hang close to the basket and effectively use his length to alter shots.
Age and injuries led to him being replaced by Jakob Poeltl and an eventual buyout of his contract. Still, based on his overall production, Gasol ranks among the best Spurs players of the decade.
Dozens of players suited up for the Silver and Black last decade. However, without these fifteen players, the Spurs wouldn’t have been able to extend their historical success. They not only shaped the decade for the Spurs, but these players have helped shape the franchise — making San Antonio the most successful team in NBA history.