Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Quantum Entanglement: Kawhi, the Spurs, and Beautiful Basketball

Quantum entanglement suggests that Kawhi Leonard should stay put and stick with the Spurs. Wait, what? I thought this was a basketball story. What is this, a physics lesson? 

The phenomenon that is Kawhi Leonard cannot be understood or defined separately from his team, the organization and the culture in which he evolved.

In physics, quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon which occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the other(s), even when the particles are separated by a large distance—instead, a quantum state must be described for the system as a whole (taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

The concept of quantum entanglement describes the relationship between two bodies that interact or entangle with each other. Once they do, it becomes impossible to describe one object without considering the other object; both are connected or bonded together.

Accordingly, if you now separate these objects by various distances – two feet or across the globe, it doesn’t matter – when one object is interacted upon, a correlating action occurs simultaneously with the other object. That's right, I googled "quantum entanglement."

Perhaps no team in professional sports provides more evidence for the existence of quantum entanglement that the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA. Their sustained success is remarkable.

Subsequently, Kawhi Leonard's success can only be evaluated through his entanglement with everyone from the Spurs' ownership, the Holts; General Manager R. C. Buford; Head Coach Gregg Popovich and his assistant coaches; Tim Duncan; Manu Ginobili; Tony Parker and all the rest of his teammates.

Kawhi Leonard was selected as the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in his first season. Leonard was a member of the NBA champion Spurs in 2014, and was also named 2014 NBA Finals MVP. He has won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice, in 2015 and 2016, and is a two-time first team All-NBA team member.

However, Leonard entered the Spurs orbit of success that started years before. They have made the playoffs in 28 of the last 29 seasons (since 1989–90) and have only missed the playoffs four times since entering the NBA; they have not missed the playoffs in the 21 seasons since Tim Duncan arrival in 1997. Despite being a small market team with origins in the American Basketball Association (prior to the merger of the ABA and NBA), the Spurs success had achieved remarkable heights.

Leonard obviously has been an integral part of the Spurs' recent success and continuation of their championship contention to this point.  However, some critics suggest that the Spurs' system has stifled Kawhi's talent and potential.  Others feel that he would have much more successful with another franchise.   Still other have felt that Kawhi is just a product of the Spurs' system and would not have been successful elsewhere.   Kawhi is more than just a product of the Spurs' organization but is still just a thread within a quantum entanglement.

Some people think that the end of the Spurs dynasty is near. Many rumors have circulated not only about the current state of the Spurs organization but specifically about Leonard's eventual exit from the Spurs through a trade or free agency. Social media mavens are convinced that Leonard is done in San Antonio.

Despite rumors of a rift between Leonard and the Spurs' concerning the diagnosis, treatment, and medical management of his prolonged leg injury and recovery, it does not appear that there has been any real improvement in his readiness to play. Why would any other NBA have a greater interest in Kawhi than the Spurs have?

It is difficult to envision Leonard in any other NBA uniform. History suggests that Spurs that leave through free agency or trade do not continue or improve their level of success that they had while with the Spurs. Can you think of an ex-Spur whose fortunes rose after their departure? I can't either. So, why would Kawhi have similar or greater success anywhere else?

Other teams seeking Leonard's services should keep quantum entanglement theory in mind when pursuing him.

The only thing that makes sense is that Leonard remain in the Spurs orbit and continue to thrive in the quantum entanglement that is the San Antonio Spurs.

Stay tuned for more about the Spurs and quantum entanglement in future blogposts.

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