The San Antonio Spurs have been so good for so long that it might be easy to take them for granted. Sure, they win 50 plus games every year. Just like the sun, they rise every day.
SB Nation's own Tom Ziller recently wrote a great piece about how it is completely impossible to mimic the Spurs' success. I highly recommend you read the whole thing, obviously, but here are a few of our favorite passages.
On the Spurs' mind-numbingly consistent excellence:
The Spurs have 50 wins in each of the last 17 seasons, and that includes a 66-game season. The Spurs' streak of winning at least 60 percent of their games (equivalent to 50 wins) is 19 seasons; over that span, San Antonio has 1,069 regular season wins and a .711 winning percentage. (Dallas is in second place with 155 fewer wins). The Spurs have five championships in that span, matched only by the Lakers, who got theirs in two spurts interspersed by spells of mediocrity. No one has been as consistently great for as long as these Spurs since there were only eight teams in the NBA.
On how the Spurs differ from the other dominant team in the league:
Teams can say they want to be more like the Warriors and list actual action items (play small, shoot tons of threes). It's futile, of course, because it's not simply tactics that make the Warriors the Warriors (or that made the Suns the Suns in a previous generation). Elite talent matters. But there is a distinct, knowable basketball ethos to mimic.
That isn't the case in San Antonio. The Spurs just do everything extraordinarily well.
Trends? The Spurs don't need your trends.
The Spurs don't set trends and they don't chase them. They exist in almost a parallel NBA where they do whatever is best for the franchise, every single time, regardless of what everyone else is doing.