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Spurs have notched 50th win for 15th straight season

Mar 17, 2014, 6:10 PM EST

Greg Popovich Getty Images

Sunday night the San Antonio Spurs beat the Utah Jazz, 122-104. With that they are 50-16 on the season, the best record in the NBA.

The last time the San Antonio Spurs didn’t win 50 games in a season everyone was worried about the Y2K bug and people for some reason freaked out at “The Blair Witch Project.”

That was 1989… and really it’s not accurate in spirit to say the Spurs didn’t win 50 games that season. They went 37-13 that lockout season — play at that winning percentage out over 82 games and the Spurs would have 60 games (and they won the NBA title that season).

More accurately the last time the Spurs didn’t win 50 was the 1996-97 season, the year the Spurs won just 20 games so Brian Hill was pushed aside for Gregg Popovich.

That is 17 straight seasons with at least 50 wins.

That is ridiculous.

It’s been said on every sports Web site and a few others, but this is THE model organization in professional sports.

Yes, it’s a tribute to players like Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and countless role players. It’s a tribute to smart drafting.

More than that it’s a tribute to the organization and the culture that GM R.C. Buford and Popovich have built — there is a reason other teams have been poaching Spurs front office for years. The on the court systems have been tweaked over the years — they used to be all defense, now even Popovich uses some stuff from the Mike D’Antoni playbook — but the ability to find players that fit what they do, then develop those guys and fit them in, has not.

They go out and get guys like Marco Belinelli, knowing that he has been an okay fit in other systems but would blend in better with what they do. Patty Mills, Danny Green and a host of other guys the same way, then they develop them.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Props to the best.

  2. fballlvr22 - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:23 PM

    I have a LeBron lover but I didn’t know Kurt wrote about anything else besides the Heat and/or LeBron.

  3. capspats - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Wow, impressive

  4. whoisrdymlz - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    First, I want to say, wow. That really is impressive.

    Second, if you hate tanking, here’s your poster child for how tanking can really pay off. San Antonio fans had to endure 1 miserable season before 15 really great ones.

    • zerole00 - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      Tanking is half the battle, the other half is drafting correctly. They got Parker at 28th and Ginobili at 57th overall. That’s CRAZY. They draft so well they don’t need to “rebuild”, they just need to tweak.

  5. sumkat - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    Flat out, class organization

    Hopefully some of that rubs off on my Sixers bringing Brown over who spent so much time under Popp.

  6. lowercasejay - Mar 17, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    My guess is you meant 19*9*9, not 1989 for the last year they won less than 50. Agreed, quietly brilliant year after year, like the Patriots the last 10-12 years as well.

    • 00maltliquor - Mar 17, 2014 at 10:33 PM

      ‘Cept the Pats aren’t as quite as those sneaky good Spurs.

    • thundercocck - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:31 AM

      The Spurs didn’t film the other team.

  7. vikesdynasty - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    That is friggin insane.

  8. edwardemanuelson - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Brian Hill was a coach for Orlando. Bob Hill was the last coach in SA before Pop took the reigns.

  9. Jeff - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    That’s an impressive streak.
    I’d say that’s nearly as impressive as the Red Wings’ 22-year playoff streak.

    • philtration - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:12 PM

      The Chicago Blackhawks went to the playoffs for 29 straight years.
      1967-68 to 1996-97

      • philtration - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:15 PM

        So did the Boston Bruins.
        The Blues (25 years) and the Canadians (24 years) both have longer streaks than Detroit.

  10. pfic15 - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    2 rings apart but you couldn’t go wrong taking Pops over Phil.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      Are you saying Pop and Philemo are 2 rings apart? Cause that number is 6.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:15 PM

        So the iPhone auto corrected to “Philemo”… Sure why not.

      • pfic15 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:48 PM

        Jackson.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:04 AM

        Yeah Phil has 11 rings as a coach to Pop’s 4. I actually thought Pop had won 1 more from some reason so they’re actually 7 rings apart.

      • pfic15 - Mar 18, 2014 at 8:28 PM

        Yeah. Not sure why I put 2… Obviously more.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:26 PM

        That’s cool I have no idea why I wrote Philemo…we’ll chalk this one up to technology.

  11. pfic15 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    The Blair Witch Project was kinda freaky, Kurt.

  12. 00maltliquor - Mar 17, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    …and they still won’t win the championship.

    Not that I don’t want them to. That is an impressive feat and a tribute to one of the greatest coaches of all time in Gregg Popovich, but I’ve seen this all before.

    • savvybynature - Mar 17, 2014 at 10:34 PM

      Oh yeah? did you happen to catch the act in ’99, ’03, ’05 or ’07?
      Cuz if you did you would know you are an idiot.

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 17, 2014 at 10:36 PM

        Recently fool.

      • savvybynature - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:54 PM

        Oh recently, like the MOST recent NBA Finals where they came about as close as possible to winning it all against the defending champs?
        Anyone who watched that series knows both teams were championship-caliber and it could have gone either way. Do you even watch the NBA?

      • nickjackalson - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:55 AM

        Leonard will have to develop fast if they are to win again during their Tim Duncan era..
        either it´s because it´s so quiet around SA or Jimmy Butler and Paul George really came along faster..?
        Leonard and Green, the young legs, will be key to the Spurs offseason success

      • unxpexted1 - Mar 18, 2014 at 8:45 AM

        Do you watch when they had the best record in the leauge and lost in the first round to an 8th seed who didn’t have their best player at the time?

        They are ultra impressive in the regular season, but until this past season they have not had much playoff success.

      • savvybynature - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        I remember the Grizzlies tanking their way to the 8th seed in 2011 so they could play the Spurs because Manu was hurt (missed a game in the series, then played with his arm in a sling) and Duncan had aggravated his knee.
        I also remember the next season, when they added Kawhi Leonard, again earned the #1 seed, swept the first two rounds of the playoffs including sweeping the Chris Paul and Blake Griffin Clippers, before falling to the Thunder in 6 games (when the Thunder still had Harden).
        So I guess sweeping your way into the WCF is “not much playoff success”? I guess consecutive Conference Finals appearances including one Finals appearance makes you a crappy postseason team?
        You guys are either nuts, Spurs haters, or you really don’t watch much basketball.

  13. ragingmouse - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:30 AM

    Finally, some love for the SA Spurs!

    Like a well oiled machine, love watching them play !

  14. antistratfordian - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:22 AM

    You don’t get anything for winning 50 games. Stop choking in the playoffs, Spurs!

    • bucrightoff - Mar 18, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      If anyone needs to stop choking, it’s you on LeBron’s nuts.

  15. ProBasketballPundit - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    *17 straight seasons, not 15. They went 37-13 in 1999 which projects to 61 wins. Should that really be counted against their streak? I say it’s 17 straight, but I’ll allow you to say 16. There’s no universe in which it’s 15 straight.

  16. dablakdrphil - Mar 18, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    This article is not about the Spurs failing in the Playoffs. I’m a Laker fan so I’m always happy whenever the Spurs get ousted in the playoffs because they are a rival team

    BUT

    this article is about how many 50 win seasons they had in a row. It’s extremely impressive to be able to win that many games time in and time out and build a consistent winner

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