Blogtable: Will San Antonio Spurs' run of winning seasons ever end?
Each week, we ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
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The Spurs have clinched their 20th consecutive winning season, and at 42-13 are very likely to win 50 games for the 18th season in a row. Do you see this San Antonio run coming to an end anytime soon?
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David Aldridge: Is Kawhi planning to retire and open an orphanage in Rio? (Wait: that was Archie and Wanda in “A Fish Called Wanda.” Sorry.) The answer is no. The Western Conference isn’t as formidable as it used to be. With Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol, and with the usual cast of role players who play with perfect pitch for coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs have at least another 2-4 seasons of 50-win caliber excellence in them–assuming no catastrophic injuries to their core guys.
Steve Aschburner: So much winning! Actually, I threw that in for Pop, but this run of theirs is remarkable — and I’d give them an asterisked 20 seasons in a row after this one, given the success rate of the 1998-99 lockout season (37-13 pro-rates out to 60-22). San Antonio has changed pieces on the fly well enough to handle player departures, so Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker getting the shirt-in-the-rafters treatment soon shouldn’t break the streak. Presumably the only thing that might is coach Gregg Popovich’s eventual exit, whether for a second career in politics or as a snarly proprietor of a vineyard.
Fran Blinebury: Not as long as Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard are breathing.
Shaun Powell: When I see Tony Parker struggle and Manu Ginobili being one step away from retirement, I wonder. But then I’m reminded how the Spurs develop players (Kawhi Leonard) and see Dejounte Murray and Jonathon Simmons playing growing roles in the rotation and realize that Gregg Popovich is still pulling strings and see them going at least another few years. Look, when Pop is done, then we can talk.
John Schuhmann: Kawhi Leonard is only 25 years old (with room for more improvement), the Spurs’ culture is firmly in place, they have the best coach in the world, and they’ve continually refreshed the roster with quality role players. So no, I don’t see their run of regular-season success ending anytime soon. I do think they need to get another player at or near Leonard’s level to truly be a threat to the Golden State Warriors in the postseason. Their depth is what makes them a great regular season team, but its effect is reduced in the playoffs.
Sekou Smith: I don’t see the Spurs’ run coming to an end anytime soon, not with a foundational superstar like Kawhi Leonard in the fold and Gregg Popovich still energized to do what he’s done all these years. Building a powerhouse team in the Western Conference from the ground up without those two ingredients is a challenge that could swallow up the best intentioned of franchises. But winning big is in the DNA in San Antonio. The formula is locked in and they’ll continue the “Spurs Way” for as long as Pop and his crew remain in place. And yes, this run they are on is absolutely stunning.
Ian Thomsen: I’m afraid so. I’ve got them dropping down into the mid-40s in by 2030-31. By then Kawhi Leonard will be 39 and Popovich will be pushing 82 – it has to end sometime.
Lang Whitaker: I mean, this has to happen at some point, right? The law of averages and all. Then again, they weathered the loss of Tim Duncan without missing a beat. Soon enough we’ll see Manu Ginobili go, and eventually they’ll have to replace Tony Parker as well. But they’ve sneakily become really good at working the free agency market, bringing in guys like Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, while unearthing D-(or G-) League talents and plugging them into the system. At some point the Spurs just can’t consistently be this good anymore. Or can they?
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