The San Antonio Spurs crossed the 50-win plateau after beating the Nuggets on Friday, and by doing so kept alive an almost incomprehensible streak of winning at least 50 games in 16 consecutive seasons.
That even includes the lockout-shortened, 66-game campaign in 2012.
The consistent level of greatness the Spurs have achieved is remarkable, to say the least. While other NBA franchises have had their stars burn bright, winning championships in clusters before ultimately flaming out, San Antonio has legitimately been in the mix season after season.
That type of consistency is beyond rare in professional sports, and it’s why Jeff Van Gundy believes that the Spurs’ current level of success will go unmatched by anyone else.
“I used to say the 33-game winning streak of the Lakers was the most unbreakable record in the game,” Van Gundy said. “But hey, the Heat got to 27. Now I’m convinced this one by the Spurs will never be touched.”
Analysts are paid to make wide-ranging, grandstanding statements that can cause outrage with a single sound bite.
But in this instance, Van Gundy is absolutely right.
The ever-changing NBA landscape makes it almost impossible for a team to continue on this type of run for this many seasons. The fortunes of a franchise can change instantly on the whims of a free agent superstar, and it takes a special kind of head coach to groom a special group of players to buy into a team-oriented system that values winning above all else.
Normally, declarative statements like these made in the present come across as short-sighted. But it would take an overly-optimistic visionary to see things in the future turning out even close to as positively as they’ve happened for these Spurs over the past 16 (and counting) NBA seasons.