Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers isn’t shy about his goal for the franchise—the San Antonio Spurs have been very good for a very long time, with a level of consistency unparalleled in the history of the NBA.
The Warriors visit San Antonio tonight for the first time since the Spurs dispatched Golden State in six games in the Western Conference Semifinals last spring.
The Spurs have won at least 50 games for an NBA record 14 consecutive seasons, a string interrupted only by the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, when San Antonio was 37-13. The Spurs’ last losing season was 1996-97 and they are off to a 4-1 start this season.
Myers told CSNBayArea.com that the Spurs are a model franchise in many ways.
“What we’re trying to build is some level of continuity.” Myers said. “This organization has lacked continuity, whether it’s ownership or front office or coach and players. Continuity is important to be a successful organization. What we’re trying to build is success, familiarity, where players know they’ll be playing with the same guys and coaches know they’ll be coaching the same guys.
“But in order to do that, you have to win. There is so much pressure to win.”
Golden State hasn’t had back-to-back winning seasons since going 42-40 and 48-34 in 2006-07 and 2007-08. They haven’t made consecutive playoff appearances since 1991-92.
The franchise’s last 50-win season was in 1993-94, when the Warriors went 50-32 under Don Nelson, but were swept in the first round by the Phoenix Suns.
Golden State hasn’t been to the conference finals in nearly 40 years, since 1976, and its last title came the year before that in 1975.
The Warriors are trying to do a better job of following a successful model, such as that embodied by the Spurs—draft well, identify a core group and build parts around it.
Re-signing Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut was part of that process, as was bringing in Andre Iguodala as a free agent over the summer.
“The best organizations don’t go through a lot of upheaval or attrition,” Myers said. “They simply reload with a little tweak here or there, but the core stays the same. Those are the organizations you want ot model yourself after.”
Both teams go into tonight’s game at San Antonio with 4-1 records. Golden State is seeking its first win against the Spurs on the road since a 108-94 victory on Valentine’s Day 1997. For perspective on just how long ago that was, Latrell Sprewell led the Warriors that night with 32 points. Joe Smith had 20 and Chris Mullin added 18. Smith had 13 rebounds and Felton Spencer added 11 and also blocked five shots.
No one who took the floor for the Warriors that night plays in the league—the last to go was Smith, who last was active with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010-11.