The San Antonio Spurs are 20 games into their season, and we're starting to see enough to know what to expect from them.
Gregg Popovich's young squad is going through some tough growing pains while also showing flashes of what they're capable of when they can demonstrate consistency. Unfortunately, consistency isn't something you can expect to happen with the 2021-22 Spurs, although the current streak shows maybe there's a chance that turns around.
I wouldn't expect anything less than inconsistency, though, considering the massive overhaul the team employed over the summer to fully invest in the future over the present. With a bunch of 20-somethings leading the way, I'd expect several more downs than ups through April, but that doesn't mean this season will be a total loss.
There are still meaningful goals for the Spurs to reach this season both for the present and the future of the franchise, and the first one has to do with cementing a legacy.
1. Complete The Race for Veintiséis
Gregg Popovich would be the last man in the world to suggest the Spurs should go out there and win games for anyone but themselves. This won't come as a shock, but I'm not as humble as Pop. I want this group to get him over the top. I think every guy on the roster would agree too -- they want to be the guys to say they got it done.
There has been speculation abound that this will be Popovich's last ride as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs. At age 72 and fresh off an extremely satisfying Olympic gold medal, it only makes sense. While there haven't been any indications of that actually happening, his retirement wouldn't surprise anyone.
Thursday's win over Portland put the Spurs' expected win projection at 28.7 for the season -- enough for Coach Popovich to surpass Don Nelson (1,335) for most all-time. They now have 62 games to win 19 more, meaning they only need to win about 30% of their games going forward to meet their goal.
Personally, I thought this was around a 35-38 win team going into the season. While that's looking in jeopardy given their tough remaining strength of schedule and brutal upcoming road trips, there's no reason this roster shouldn't be able to muster 19 more wins to make Coach Pop the winningest coach in NBA history.