Last night the San Antonio Spurs beat the Miami Heat to take a 1-0 series lead in the NBA Finals. Similar to the Patriots, the Spurs have been arguably the most consistent team in the NBA since the turn of the century and it's largly in part to Tim Duncan and his coach Gregg Popovich. Boston.com's Gary Dzen drew a comparison between Duncan and Popovich with the Patriots' Brady and Belichick. Since 2002, the Patriots have never finished a season with fewer than 10 wins -- similarly, the Spurs have never finished a season with less than 50 wins since Tim Duncan was drafted.
"Popovich and Belichick are masters of plugging these players into their systems and getting them to buy in. Duncan and Brady are the steadying presences between the lines," writes Dzen. "While it's a little clumsy to compare the playing style of a football team to a basketball team, both teams win largely without flash."
While the Spurs are only three wins away from another Championship ring, the Patriots are busy preparing for what they hope will be another successful season. In order to make another deep playoff run, New England will have to improve its efficiency on offense. Sterling Xie of the Bleacher Report gives us a detailed blueprint for the Patriots optimal offense in 2014. He highlights Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Dobson as two key components to the team's offense.
"Diversity is critical, and the true championship contenders are capable of defeating opponents in multiple ways," says Xie. "Because of injuries, the 2013 Patriots were unable to fit that criteria. But with better health and expected player development, the 2014 rendition should have the versatility to give the team a more realistic opportunity."
Another player that could play an important role in the offense is former Panthers WR Brandon LaFell. The 27-year-old receiver had his best statistical year in 2013 and he's hoping to bring even better production to New England. The Boston Globe's Ben Volin and Shalise Manza Young teamed up to highlight his transition to the Patriots, which is moving slowly as of right now.
"I'm used to running a number system, and now I'm back to code words, so it's a lot," said LaFell, according to the article. "The quicker I can learn this offense the quicker I can go out there and be reliable, to play fast and know what I'm doing — instead of now, I'm kind of playing at half-speed because I'm thinking so much."
One new player who's already making an impact is Darrelle Revis. WEEI's Christopher Price says that Revis is helping the team both on offense and defense. A handful of Patriots receivers have said they enjoy lining up against Revis in practice because it pushes them to play better.
"Going against those guys every day, I think I can speak for me and a couple of other guys -- these guys are making us better," said Brandon LaFell. "I think if we go out and continue to face these guys, we'll be able to do this against anybody in the league."
In just a few months the Patriots secondary appears to be one of the strongest in the NFL. In fact, the Bleacher Report's James Christensen says it's the best in the league. In his article, he breaks down how Bill Belichick built this very deep group.
Yesterday, Comcast Sports Net's Tom E. Curran reported that former Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams was in Foxborough for a visit with the Patriots. This news came less than 24 hours after Williams told USA Today's Tom Pelissero to have the Patriots look him up. Maybe this proves that Belichick does pay attention to what's said the media...though I'm sure it's safe to say he still doesn't use social medias such as MyFace, YourFace, and InstaFace.