San Antonio Spurs
While there are several organizations that deserve strong consideration for the proverbial “Team of the Decade” discussion, the San Antonio Spurs are the one franchise that stands firmly above the rest over the last ten-year stretch. The notion of discrediting them for not winning consecutive titles may hold weight in a barbershop (or Twitter) discussion about dynasties, but their consistency throughout the past ten years simply cannot be ignored. The 2008-09 Lakers and 2012-13 HEAT may have been two of the better individual teams over the decade, but each of those franchises has experienced their own ups and downs throughout the period.
The Lakers were excellent over the four-year stretch from 2007-10, but the run was book-ended by trips to the lottery in 2005 and this season. Contrary to what has become a peculiar current trend of almost dismissing Kobe Bryant’s career arc, it still holds up relatively favorably in comparison to that of Tim Duncan or LeBron James on an individual level. That said, it is fair to mention the fact that his teams – much like most Phil Jackson-led squads – tend to make 3-4 year runs before needing to reboot or reload.
Not only did the HEAT lose in the first round in three consecutive trips to the postseason (’07, ’09 and ’10), but they also endured that horrendous 15-67 season in ’08. Taking nothing away from their most recent success, but the stretch that preceded the “Big 3” negates any claim they might have in terms of this discussion.
Of the three realistic candidates (Spurs, Lakers and HEAT), San Antonio is the only of the trio to qualify for the postseason in each of the past ten seasons. They’ve won three of the four Finals’ they competed in, and also qualified for two additional Western Conference Finals’ in 2008 and 2012. Beyond the ultimate prize, the Spurs have also been a model for regular season success over that stretch, boasting a .711 winning percentage; compared to .585 and .604 for the Lakers and HEAT, respectively.
This level of consistency is by no means a thing of luck or chance fortune, as it is no coincidence the Spurs are also the one team that has enjoyed the same coach and core group for the duration as well. The familiar faces and lack of overall drama may ‘bore’ some, but you’d figure any opposing fan base would be elated with these results if their preferred team(s) could match them.
2013-14 62-20 W/L, Result: Won NBA Title
2012-13 58-24 W/L, Result: WC Champions
2011-12 50-16 W/L, Result: WCF
2010-11 61-21 W/L, Result: First Round
2009-10 50-32 W/L, Result: Semifinals
2008-09 54-28 W/L, Result: First Round
2007-08 56-26 W/L, Result: WCF
2006-07 58-24 W/L, Result: Won NBA Title
2005-06 63-19 W/L, Result: Semifinals
2004-05 59-23 W/L, Result: Won NBA Title
– Jabari Davis