Originally written May 01, 2013 on Project Spurs:
When the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, it shouldn't have been a surprise if you saw Aron Baynes start in place of injured center Tiago Splitter. The team has always depended on their superstars, mainly Tim Duncan throughout every championship, to lead the way, but it's the system that Gregg Popovich established that made it possible. When Baynes made his playoff debut, it was made possible only by the faith Pop has in his coaching philosophy. "It was a high," Baynes said. "But at the same time there was business in front of me. I had to go out there and focus on what I needed to do, play that game plan. That's what's gotten us to this point right now. That's what I wanted to go out there and focus on, and, yeah, keep it rolling." (Justin Verrier/ESPN.com) Baynes is a testament to the system's success. It's not only role players either. This year the Spurs have been riddled with injuries and they've had more than enough pieces on the bench to fill whatever contribution was going to go missing. In Baynes' case, Baynes more than made up for Splitter's absence especially on the defensive end. His performance was important, but it all didn't hinge on him anyway. Baynes was being protected by 4 other players who were familiar with the system, something that was seen years before with names such as Nazr Mohammad. Aron may have been nervous, but he wasn't expected to contribute more than he had to, something that would set him up to fail and something the Lakers were doing to their new players. "It filters all the way down from the top to young guys. I'm one of those young guys, and I definitely see how it is and I just want to emulate what these older guys and veteran guys are doing." As Baynes points out, even the younger guys want to learn from this "team heavy" system. This is something completely opposite of what we saw with the Lakers, a "superstar heavy" team. Popovich's system depends on his superstars, but his stars are humble as if they were role players on and off the court. Their egos don't get in the way and that's already rubbing off on Baynes ever since he first stepped in to interact with the organization. Baynes was signed in January and already looks like he can contribute, a sight that likely wouldn't have existed outside of Pop's system so early in his NBA career. Pop's system is a testament to his vision and philosophy, "Team is Everything," and Baynes is looking to keep that mentality alive.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

High school football player dies after suffering head injury

Giants shut out Pirates, advance to NLDS

Cowboys' Spillman accused of rape at team hotel

Report: Patriots benched WR for mouthing off to coach

Jose Bautista busts up reporter over Twitter

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

Steve Smith: Ron Rivera hid in his office after cutting me

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

Jon Gruden on Raiders job: 'I'm not thinking about coaching'

Tom Brady defends not congratulating Garoppolo on TD

ESPN reporter announces she has breast cancer

Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn't make a good coach

Hibbert texts Duncan for advice on being like Spurs

Belichick repeats moving 'on to Cincinnati' during presser

Donald Sterling’s wife called the cops on V. Stiviano

WATCH: Mayweather shocked someone doesn’t know who he is

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

J.J. Watt buys his mom a new car for her birthday

Ranking the NFL coaches already sitting on the hot seat

WATCH: Smith tells Panthers to go home and mow his lawn

The best games on the NFL slate in Week 5

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

H.S. player dies after suffering head injury

Cowboys player accused of rape

Scott: Kobe would not be a good coach

Pats WR benched for mouthing off?

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.