There is a common phrase throughout the world that states “in this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes.” In the NBA world, an argument for an exception on this certainty can only be made for one common occurrence: a San Antonio playoff birth.
For the vast majority of my life, including the entirety of my cognitive life, the San Antonio Spurs have secured a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Being only 19 years old, only one year of my life has bared witness to a year without a Spurs playoff run. I was only two years old.
Since that year, the Spurs have rattled off 17 straight playoff appearances and four NBA Championships.
For the Spurs organization, two certainties have also been constant during this stretch: Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. These two cornerstones of the modern San Antonio organization joined the team in 1997 and have never experienced postseason-less basketball.
Everyone knows the story from there. After winning the city’s first championship with the front court domination of David Robinson and Tim Duncan in 1999, San Antonio got their first taste of absolute victory and never looked back. With three more rings claimed in the next eight years, it’s safe to say that the Spurs became a true dynasty.
But what about this year’s team? Could they still put together another championship run before Duncan and Popovich part ways? The answer on the lips of virtually every expert and NBA fan alike is an undeniable “YES.”
The Spurs have proven year after year that age is not an issue within their system. After being merely seconds away from their fifth title last year, it’s safe to say that they may even be hungrier and more fired up than ever for this year’s postseason.
San Antonio added fire power and improved on their current assets in the offseason. Marco Belinelli has emerged as an everyday go-to option from deep, and a leaner, more confident Patty Mills has proven to be a much-needed spark plug off the bench. Kawhi Leonard has continued to prove to be one of the most valuable perimeter defenders in the entire league while also showing an incredible improvement in range offensively.
Oh yeah. The Big 3 are still pretty good too.
While everyone anticipated the aging core of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili to show a noticeable step backward in production after their grueling loss the the Heat, the original Big 3 did no such thing. It is tough to come up with defining figures that show an actual decrease in production frankly because those figures don’t exist. Even with decreased minutes (which have worked wonders in the overall health of these three, as well as the improvement of the role players) each of the Big 3 are providing the same production that they have for years.
So why did the San Antonio Spurs make the playoffs, you ask? Because there is no other option. The playoffs have become stitched into the very fabric of the organization. Nothing within the team aspect is done, whether it be offseason, preseason, or mid-season, without the playoffs in mind.
The Spurs have prided themselves on being a power year after year. They have become the ideal picture that every other organization strives to mirror. They have acquired the best record in the NBA once again, giving them all the more chance to make yet another title run. They Spurs have won 4 championships in these 17 straight years that they have appeared in the postseason, and it’s safe to say that they’re not going to be done winning any time soon.