What a difference one Tim Duncan can make to a franchise. Thanks to the Big Fundamental's dominant career, the San Antonio Spurs enjoyed 18 consecutive seasons of winning 50 or more games. That streak almost assuredly would've reached 20 if there wasn't an NBA lockout in 1999.
Because of that incredible streak, the Silver and Black took a firm seat at the top of the all-time franchise leaderboards in terms of win percentage. Since the NBA-ABA merger, the Spurs have won 61.1% of their games heading into the 2022-23 season. The rest of the top five are as follows:
Los Angeles Lakers: 60.2%
Boston Celtics: 56.6%
Portland Trail Blazers: 55.8%
Oklahoma City Thunder: 55.4%
The Spurs' three consecutive losing seasons have put the Lakers within striking distance of that record, and their all-time percentage will probably take its biggest hit in decades in 2022-23.
Can the Lakers overtake the Spurs in all-time win percentage?
In looking at the numbers, the only threat to the Spurs as far as overall win percentage since the merger is the Los Angeles Lakers. The two iconic franchises are the only ones above 60%, which will probably remain the case after the upcoming season. Here's how their records stand:
Spurs: 2,261-1,442 (61.1%)
Lakers: 2,281-1,504 (60.2%)
On Twitter, I broke down what the Spurs' new percentage would be if they won 16, 20, 25, or 30 games this season.
If San Antonio only manages to win 16 games, that would put them all the way down to 60.16%. That record would mean the Lakers could surpass the Spurs with a 46-36 record next season, which would put their percentage at 60.18.
Of course, it'll be a sliding scale all season long. The more San Antonio wins, the less likely it is the Lakers catch them. Then again, more wins would hurt the Spurs' chances at nabbing a high lottery pick in next year's draft.
If the Spurs managed to win 30 games next season, their new percentage would be 60.53. The Lakers would need to win 60 games to pass up the Spurs in that case.
Unless the Lakers get significantly better as the season goes on or the Spurs completely collapse, the record is likely safe through 2023, but it will probably get even closer very soon.