Mumbai, October 20: There are hardly a couple of months for NBA champions to relish and rejoice their momentous victory. Before the feeling sinks in, they are back to prepare for the upcoming season. And that’s what 2013-14 NBA champions San Antonio Spurs now face.

Coach Gregg Popovich knows he has a tough task ahead – to repeat as NBA champions – which has never been done by the franchise. Popovich, who will enter his 20th year at the helm of Spurs, knows the challenge is daunting. “I’m worried for one reason,” Popovich told San Antonio Express-News. “They are human beings. They are going to feel satisfied.”

In Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs see their future. After raising his game to a new level last season, the 23-year old looks ready to accept more responsibility and become a bone-fide star. Leonard scored at least 20 points in each of the last three games in the Finals against Miami and was named NBA Finals MVP, the youngest since Magic Johnson in 1982.

Over the last two decades, the Spurs have been defined by the play of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. These three are the crucial components of the Spurs title defense but Popovich knows he must once again get significant contribution out of their substitutes Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills to repeat as champions.

Tony Parker completes the big triumvirate of Spurs along with Duncan and Ginobili. The Spurs re-signed Tony Parker to a three-year, $43 million extension that showed his loyalty to the franchise. Till date, Parker has never officially entered free agency in his career and Spurs certainly do not want the 34-year old Parker to play for another franchise.

If the Spurs were able to repeat, Duncan would move ahead of Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson with a sixth title. And it’s quite possible that Duncan and Ginobili could decide to hang up their shoes if they won another title – a fairy tale end to their illustrious careers.

Gopalakrishnan R
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