When NBA fans think of the San Antonio Spurs and their sustained run of success over the last 20 years, they usually point to the head coach, Gregg Popovich, before anyone else.
But former Spurs point guard Tony Parker is here to tell you that Pop was not the most important man in the Spurs franchise. Instead, the 2007 Finals MVP says that it was transcendent superstar Tim Duncan that separated San Antonio from the pack.
Duncan and Popovich had an amazing run together, winning five NBA titles. It is hard to say who was more important to the formula than the other. Obviously the Spurs needed Duncan to be the superstar that he was, but being able to rely on Pop's steady bench presence and ability to shield his players from distractions and undue media scrutiny is worth a heck of a lot.
Interesting that this statement from Parker comes out now, as he recently signed a two-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets. Many thought that the longtime Spurs point guard would finish his career with the black and silver, but things didn't work that way.
It is now a telling time for the Spurs and their franchise. They dealt with some real adversity over the past year, as superstar Kawhi Leonard demanded trade. The 2014 Finals MVP is now in Toronto, and the Spurs have DeMar DeRozan. It is a new look for the team.
But at the end of the day, with Pop on the bench, things will probably be alright in San Antonio.