Blogtable: Is Spurs’ 50-win run or Curry’s shooting more remarkable?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Time to move back 3-point line? | More remarkable: Spurs’ run or Curry’s shooting? | Who needs win more in Warriors vs. Thunder?



VIDEOSpurs adapting, thriving with LaMarcus Aldridge

> More remarkable: The Spurs’ streak of 17 consecutive seasons with 50 or more wins? Or Stephen Curry on pace to make about 400 3-pointers this season?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Steph Curry is a product of his environment as much as he’s a revolutionary player – if he had come along 30 years ago, the 3-point shot still would have been more of a gimmick and a catch-up tactic. The Spurs, meanwhile, defy both the odds and contemporary NBA thinking. This is the age of tanking, after all (which the Spurs essentially did to snag Tim Duncan in 1997, when it was more of a gentlemen’s wink-wink). The accepted way to get better is to embrace the roller-coaster of good seasons and bad seasons, with no one wanting to get stuck in the middle. To borrow from another sport, most franchises are like NASCAR teams willing to lose the race in the pits but unwilling to finish in the middle of the pack. The Spurs have eschewed pit stops altogether, refueling and changing tires while they’re out there running hot. That’s remarkable.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comLook, I’m as big a fan of Steph Curry’s talent as anybody. But this isn’t even a question worthy of debate. The Spurs winning 50 games for 17 consecutive seasons is off-the-charts mind-boggling. Don’t forget: one of those 50-win seasons was the “lockout season” with a 66-game schedule. The maintain this level of excellence without a single slip-up for nearly two decades is unprecedented not just in the NBA, but all of pro sports. Check back in the Year 2116 and there might never have been another such run. Then again, check back in 2116 and Tim Duncan might still be playing and the streak will be at 117.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.comSpurs. That’s hard to say because Curry has been in another stratosphere and deserves every positive place in history he has claimed, but c’mon. Fifty wins for 17 seasons. Seventeen! That good for that long is an astounding stat even for those of us who have been watching and appreciating as it happens. It must be impossible to imagine for all the people who started to count out San Antonio a decade or so ago.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: This one’s a coin flip, but I’ll go with the Spurs. Their ability to avoid major injury and have a top-10 all-time player on his game for more than a decade might not get repeated for a long time if ever. Steph Curry might break his own record next year.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comOn average, less than nine teams (29 percent of the league) per season win 50 games. Just on randomness, there are 1 in 1.4 billion odds of doing something with a 29 percent probability 17 times in a row. NBA success certainly isn’t random, but 17 straight seasons of 50 wins is five more than any other streak in NBA history. Stephen Curry is doing things we’ve never seen before, but when you take offense, defense, leadership and longevity into account, Tim Duncan has been the best player since Michael Jordan left Chicago, and the Spurs have built a world class organization around him. The Spurs’ sustained success should be lauded as much as what Curry is doing.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: As wicked a season as Steph is having, it’s hard to go against a team, in any sport, putting together the kind of run the Spurs have the past two decades. Think about that for a second — they’ve been elite for the better part of the past two decades … it’s unheard of. As an organization, the Spurs have no peer in the NBA or in professional sports in this hemisphere. Their ability to continuously produce 50-win results is a standard that will be tough for anyone to match anytime soon. If Steph knocks down 400 3-pointers this season and maybe again the next two or three seasons, then we can revisit this conversation.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.comCurry is amazing. But the achievement of the Spurs transcends the achievement of any single season, no matter how brilliant Curry has been.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog The most remarkable thing about Steph Curry’s season, to me, is that it isn’t really all that remarkable. Every night he does the unthinkable, to the point where we expect him to make 10 threes in a game or drill 35-footers with the game on the line. It’s a step up from his MVP performance last season, but it isn’t really surprising. The Spurs continued excellence is, to me, just remarkable. Particularly in this era where almost every team has terrific scouting and uses advanced metrics, the Spurs continue to do things differently and better than the rest of the NBA.

19 Comments

  1. Paul says:

    I always say this, to discourage teams from tanking is to have the first team that did not make it to the playoffs have the same odds to win the top pick the second one with the 2nd to the last, and so on so that even teams are projecting that they will miss the playoffs, they will fight to have a better record

  2. coachwolf49 says:

    The Spurs record has been approached only by the SAN FRANCISCO 49ers who went 16 consecutive seasons with 10 wins or more. Comparing a team’s achievements to the incredible performances by Curry is apples to oranges. Both are monumental achievements but you just can’t compare the two realistically. Both are off the charts.

  3. Leeddie says:

    While I can appreciate what Curry is doing. There is no comparison. The Spurs are truly remarkable. Tim Duncan in my opinion is one of the most under appreciated NBA players of his generation and this one too. Mind you I honestly don’t think he gives it a thought.
    Lets revisit the topic in 14 years and see where Curry is.

  4. Both is…he is the best shooter of all time…he has just overcame drazen petrovic

  5. scottster63 says:

    I think the question is absurd. One cannot compare individual accomplishments in not even a full season to that of an entire franchise over the past 17 seasons. Anything will do for news these days. Surprised the writers even attempted.

  6. Eric Henry says:

    The last time the Spurs didn’t have a 50 win season they had the best record in the NBA and won the world title. If Memphis can make 50 games this year then they and the Clippers will have the next longest streak of 50 wins at 4 seasons. So it will be at least 2031 before the record is broken, and the Spurs don’t show any signs of slowing down yet.

  7. The Spurs are having a great season and I’m a little jealous that my Hawks are not having a similar year….

  8. Rob says:

    One thing some people might not know is that part, probably a big part, of the Spurs success starting with a bad incident happening. In the 1996-97 season they lost David Robinson to injury resulting in him played only 6 games. This resulted in the Spurs having only a 20-62 season and getting the number one pick in the lottery. In that lottery they drafted Tim Duncan.

    Without that injury they would not have got Tim Duncan and would have been less successful. Strange how things pan out sometimes!

  9. Ken Adams says:

    I honestly see Steph’s feet absolutely brilliant, but the Spurs 50 win streak at 17 is absolutely brilliant. I naturally dislike the Spurs because the year i really got into the NBA and began to study the teams and players, the Spurs were top in the west and had beaten my team the Lakers, but boy I respect them. They are the perfect example of a dominant team who consistently play to the best of their ability regardless of he age of the team. Curry is in great form right now, but if Steve Kerr go the chance to start and just shoot threes all the time when he was playing in the 90’s, he would probably do something similar. I don’t want to rob Steph of his amazing skill, believe me, but it’s just blasphemous to compare a teams’ dynasty to a single players achievements. It’s like saying Michael Jordan is greater than the showtime Lakers in the 80’s, it’s just not true.

  10. john doe says:

    spurs have been very good and the organization deserves a great deal of credit. but before getting too excited about historical precedent, check the record of the new york yankees from 1926-1958. now that is a period of sustained excellence that the spurs, with all due respect, don’t even come close to matching. the yankee streak is all the more remarkable because they couldn’t depend over that long period upon a single linchpin as the spurs have had with duncan. the montreal canadians from 1951-1982 also compiled a record that by all measures is equal to the spurs but sustained for a longer period. in football, the dallas cowboys from 1966-1985 were on a par with the present spurs. so a very impressive streak, the longest sustained period of excellence in pro basketball, but hardly unique in the annals of professional sports.

    • Duke says:

      Sorry but the difference is money. The streak of the Spurs had no money advantage like NYY have had for years and San Antonio is considered a small market. So no the Spurs have a much more impressive accomplishment by far.

  11. Luis says:

    Big time Spurs fan here so I am definitely biased but consider these stats during the Tim Duncan era:

    Number of regular season wins (thru first 56 games of this season) – Spurs: 1052 ; Mavs: 905; Lakers: 881; Heat: 845; Suns: 827 (Top 5) Others – Thunder: 814; Celtics: 769; Cavs: 716; Warriors: 658

    Number of 50 win seasons – Spurs: 17 (now 18) ; Mavs 12; Lakers: 10; Heat and Suns: 8 each; Warriors: 2 (now 3).

    Number of 60 win seasons – Spurs: 4 (sure to go to 5); Mavs and Lakers 3 each. Several teams with 2.

    Average number of wins for Duncan led Spurs: 55.37
    Average number of wins for Bryant led Lakers: 46.37
    Average number of wins for Bryant led Lakers without O’Neal: 41.83

    Unapproachable success cemented by 5 rings.

    Let’s see where Curry’s Warriors are in 15 years or so.

  12. mddong says:

    So lets put this into context here: Steph is so good that he has to be compared to not one team, but a whole entire dynasty. That’s what we are talking about here.

  13. ishmah says:

    People also forget that if 1999 hadn’t been a lockout year with only 50 games, the Spurs would currently be at 19 straight 50 win seasons.

    • JonM says:

      That’s a good point. I was going to point that out. Based on their winning percentage that season, they would have been on pace to win 60 or more games. Unreal. At this point, it would be a complete shock if they DIDN’T make the playoffs. That would be a story.

  14. bokzZz says:

    I agree that Spurs continued supremacy is a remarkable achievement in all pro sports. My answer would not differ, had I been a blogtable writer.
    Just wanted to add that this might be another source of inspiration for Curry and the Dubs (just finding other stuff that is more remarkable than them trashing everyone around) as they most probably lift the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.

  15. Johnny Parker says:

    I have been a Spurs fan since 1972. The first 20-25 years were up and with some good coaches. But to give credit where it is due, since the arrival of Pop there is no comparison. Ask anyone in the NBA, coaches, players, or front office they will concur. This run is unprecedented in all major sports. Kudos to coach Pop and his staff. He has surrounded himself with an excellent staff, I.e. Becky Hammon et al. More head coaches have been under his tutelage than any other coach. They praise his work ethic and relationship with staff and players. (See Steve Kerr and others). Unprecedented; oh yeah!

  16. Stan the man says:

    Spur is more than remarkable. Think about the last few season… They have the 50+ win with most of their top aging players playing only around 30 mins or less and the bench chipping in the rest.
    Curry is good but think about him when he reaches the kind of age when he had played 2 decades. Will the team he played in getting 50+ wins every season?

    • Tom says:

      The last time the Spurs did not win 50 games was the lock-out-shortened season of 1999 that was only 50 games long. Oh, by the way, they won the championship that year. It would have surely been a 50 win season and the streak would be at 20. During the 66 game season Popovich rested his starters the last 2 games of the season and the bench won the last 2 to keep the streak alive. Even more amazing to maintain the streak with a coach who couldn’t care less about it.