27 Teams in 27 Days: Meet The Austin Spurs

By Jake Winderman | August 23, 2018

Team: Austin Spurs

First Season: 2001-2002 (Columbus Riverdragons)

Affiliate: San Antonio Spurs

Location: Austin, Texas

Arena: H-E-B Center At Cedar Park

Head Coach: Blake Ahearn

Former Franchise Names: Columbus Riverdragons (2001-2005), Austin Toros (2005-2014)

Mascot: Da Bull

2017-2018 Finish: 32-18 (1st in West), Won 2018 NBA G League Finals

2017-2018 Accolades: Jaron Blossomgame (All NBA G League Third Team), Amida Brimah (NBA G League All-Defensive Team)

2018 NBA G League 1st Round Pick(s): 26th

Notable Alumni: Danny Green, Kyle Anderson, Aron Baynes, Cheick Diallo, Alonzo Gee, Tim Hardaway Jr., Cory Joseph, Boban Marjanovic, Dejounte Murray, Jonathon Simmons, Derrick White

The Austin Spurs organization is one of three original franchises from the NBA G League’s first season in 2001-2002 to remain in the league along with the Canton Charge (Huntsville Flight) and Oklahoma City Blue (Asheville Altitude). The Spurs were first known as the Columbus Riverdragons, a moniker they played under for their first four seasons. The Riverdragons reached the playoffs twice between 2001 and 2005, losing in the 2004-2005 NBA G League Finals during their last season in Columbus.

The Spurs moved to Texas in 2005, changing their name to the Austin Toros, a reference to the area’s rich history of cattle farming. The team played as the Toros between 2007 and 2014, winning their first-ever NBA G League championship in 2012 against the Los Angeles D-Fenders. The Toros were bought by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007, making Austin the second-ever G League team to be owned by an NBA franchise.

At the start of the 2014-2015 season, the Toros were renamed the Austin Spurs. Since their rebranding, the Spurs have made the playoffs three times, winning their second NBA G League championship in 2018.

Austin has had a rich history of success, much like their affiliate franchise San Antonio. They’ve produced the most NBA call-ups in G League history (44) and have the third-best winning percentage of all-time (.544), trailing only the Santa Cruz Warriors (.558) and Rio Grande Valley Vipers (.573). The Spurs have made the playoffs in eight of their 13 seasons and have produced seven All-NBA G League First Team players, along with two NBA G League MVPs in Marcus Fizer (2005-06) and Justin Dentmon (2011-12).

Along with the talent they’ve developed on the court, Austin has had success sending coaches and front office staff to the NBA. Quinn Snyder, the head coach of the Utah Jazz, coached Austin from 2007-2010. Dell Demps, the general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans, previously served as the Spurs’ general manager. Finally, Sean Marks, the current general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, was Austin’s GM in 2012.

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