20 Second Timeout: Bill Schoening Blog - October 2013

Bill Schoening's :20 Timeout

Follow the team all season long with the 20-Second Timeout blog by Bill Schoening, The Radio Voice of the Spurs for the past 13 years. Bill has over 30 years of play-by-play experience including broadcasting Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA. *Timeout Archive: October 10 | November 10 | December 10 | January 11 | February 11 | March 11 | April 11 | December 11 | January 12 | February 12 | March 12 | April 12 | May 12 | October 12 | November 12 | December 12 | January 13 | February 13 | March 13 | April 13 | May 13 | June 13

Spurs A Contender Once Again
by Bill Schoening | Oct. 28, 2013
Bill Schoening
(Kevin C. Cox/NBAE/Getty Images)

It's the most impressive run of long term consistency in the history of the NBA.

For a remarkable 14 straight seasons, the Spurs have won at least 50 games.The Magic Johnson era Lakers ('79-'91) did it 12 times.

With pretty much the same cast of characters from last season's conference champion, most observers expect the Spurs to be at or near the top of the Western Conference once again.

Allow me to share my observations on why the Spurs will be a solid contender in '13-14. A bench that was pivotal in the Spurs success last season may actually improve, thanks to the signings of Marco Belinelli and Jeff Ayres, and the improvement shown from the Aussies, Patty Mills and Aron Baynes.

If the preseason was any indication, it's fair to say Kawhi Leonard is about to see an increased role offensively with the starting unit. Leonard is adding a post up game, and is shooting pull-up midrange jumpers from the baselines when opponents run him out of the corner.

With his long arms and strides, he doesn't mind grabbing a deep defensive rebound and getting a break started by himself. It's sometimes hard for me to believe that Kawhi is just 22 years of age. He's only getting better, and that's very encouraging news for Spurs fans.

Then throw in the trio they call the Big Three; they have a pretty good track record. The longest tenured coach in the league, Gregg Popovich, is set for his 18th season. Add all that up and you can see why Spurs fans have reason to be optimistic once again.

Anxious to Get Started
by Bill Schoening | Oct. 22, 2013
Bill Schoening
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images)

Veteran players know it very well; afterall it's the rite of October. Report to training camp, bond with teammates, play preseason games, and get set for opening night.

For younger players and unsigned free agents, this time of year may be an opportunity to make a name for themselves, perhaps showing the team they are with or an opposing team that they have the skills required to make a roster and maybe make a positive impact down the line.

For the Spurs, however, a squad with a plethora of returning players and veterans who have been through it before, it's hard not to want to hit the fast forward button and get to Oct. 30th.

That's why head coach Gregg Popovich emphasizes the importance of basics and "not skipping any steps". For players like Boris Diaw, it's a challenge.

Eager to start his 11th season in the NBA, Diaw says, "I am just anxious to get the season started. We have most of the team back from last year so we know each other. I feel like we are ready to go".

Spurs Keep it Global
by Bill Schoening | Oct. 15, 2013
Bill Schoening
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images)

There was an ironic moment in the preseason opener against CSKA Moscow.

During a stretch of the 3rd quarter, the team from the Euroleague had three Americans on the floor while the Spurs had none. Cory Joseph, Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter were playing together, and it's not a stretch to fathom that unit seeing lots of minutes.

The Spurs have long embraced the notion that basketball is a global game, and that international players can have a positive impact.

Ginobili and Splitter work very well together, especially in the pick and roll game. Belinelli should provide some flexibility for the second unit backcourt, as Diaw does for the front court. Joseph is still young and developing but is a hard nosed defender who is growing more confident offensively.

The Spurs have been able to find and develop players from Austrailia, Brazil, Argentina, Italy and France. That's more international than even CSKA Moscow.

13th Season in Silver and Black
by Bill Schoening | Oct. 7, 2013
Bill Schoening
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images)

It occurred to me as I sat down to write the first :20 Second Timeout of the season that this is the start of my 13th season with the Spurs and with WOAI. It will my longest tenured gig ever. How blessed and lucky I am!

I was with the Texas Longhorn Radio Network for 12 seasons, first as color analyst for Brad Sham and Jerry Trupiano, and then football and basketball play by play for nine seasons, working alongside Craig Way.

I was fortunate enough to broadcast 12 seasons of Longhorn baseball, and that was a real treat as well, including my stint with Longhorn legend and former major leaguer Keith Moreland as my analyst.

When I was told by the Spurs that my broadcasts would be solo, I was up for the challenge but wondered how it might work without a broadcast partner. This is where the talent level of the NBA comes in. With the quality of athletes, the :24 second shot clock and the fast paced nature of the game, calling NBA games is the epitome when it comes to describing action.

Not only do I get to watch and talk about this on a nightly basis, I also have been along for the incredible ride through the most consistent period by ANY team in NBA history.

At least 50 wins during my entire 12 year stint, with three titles, and the best winning percentage of any of the major sports during that 12 year period.

I appreciate the compliments I get on my work, but covering this team with these guys makes it much easier. I am looking forward to more highlights and another fun season.