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Pop may not pass Don Nelson’s regular season record this season

On court struggles continue to show in the loss column

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs Photos by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

When the season kicked off, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich needed just twenty-six wins to surpass both Lenny Wilkins (1,332 wins) and Don Nelson (1,335 wins) as the NBA coach with the most regular seasons wins of all time.

A week ago, when the Spurs were 4-8, it looked like a photo finish to the season would leave the Spurs with Pop barely eking a 27 win season.

In the last week, the Spurs have dropped another 3 leaving a 4-11, or 26.7% record. At this pace, Pop and the Spurs would win 21 or 22 total, leaving Pop just shy of both Nelson and Wilkins.

As we all know, accolades don’t impress San Antonio’s longest-tenured coach. But it does say more about where the Spurs are right now.

Sure, the team went a couple of weeks without Jakob Poeltl and saw a run of annihilation by Kristaps Porzingis, Anthony Davis, and Karl-Anthony Towns, but every team is going to handle nights without key players.

Days without Poeltl led to defeat directly in the paint. Inconsistency from Doug McDermott, Lonnie Walker IV, and Derrick White have not been enough to support great flashes by Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell.

Conventional wisdom yields reminders that the season is young, the team has yet to gel, they’ve had one of the harder schedules so far, and nothing is set in stone.

Old curmudgeon water cooler venting (of which I am guilty) forces fans to reckon with the reality that all teams have bad seasons, and the Spurs have been due for a long time.

Whether they recover in time to earn a playoff berth seems unlikely at this time, but not achieving a “meaningless” stat now hangs in the balance, and that may be more disparaging as a season-long reality than I would have wanted to admit just before Thanksgiving.


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