18 Years in the Making: How the Spurs Have Sustained Their Success for So Long

Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich will be intertwined forever -- and history shows that they've been a dominant duo.

Let's step back in NBA history to the 1996-97 season.

Seattle still had the SuperSonics, Vancouver still had the Grizzlies, and New Orleans was six years away from being awarded a team. The Wizards were still called the Bullets, and the Chicago Bulls were in the middle of their second three-peat with Michael Jordan.

It was also the season that Gregg Popovich took over the team as head coach. Popovich was an assistant under Larry Brown in the early 1990's and returned to the team in 1994 as the general manager before moving to the head coach role. The Spurs did not do well when Popovich first took over as head coach, as David Robinson had been lost for the season. But that year turned out to be his only losing season in his coaching career.

Flash forward to the 1997 NBA Draft.

The ping-pong balls fell the Spurs' way, landing them the top pick that was used on Tim Duncan. The Spurs haven't been the same ever since, making the playoffs each season of Duncan's career, including five championship titles. But have the Spurs truly put together a dynasty?

To answer that question, we'll dive into a lot of metrics. I'll be breaking down how the Spurs rank as a franchise from the 1997-98 season to the present in both offense and defense

Later, I'll break down how Popovich has sustained a winning culture and then focus on which Spurs team has been the best of the last 18 years.