Tim Dunanc and the Spurs won another title in 2014, long after they were written off. SAN ANTONIO, TX – JUNE 15: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrates after defeating the Miami Heat in Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The San Antonio Spurs have made the NBA playoffs for a 20th consecutive time, the longest current streak in major North American leagues (thanks to the Detroit Red Wings’ streak ending after 25 years this season). They’re the second seed in the Western Conference after posting a 61-21 record, their third season with over 60 wins in the last five years and their 20th straight non-lockout season with at least 50 wins. They also have been to two NBA Finals in the last five years, winning in 2013-14. Despite that, though, many thought the Spurs’ dynasty was over following the 2010-11 season, where they went 61-21 and clinched the West’s top seed but lost 4-2 to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round (with an injured Manu Ginobili). Here are some of those then-scorching-hot, now-freezing-cold takes. Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun delivered one of the earliest ones, writing the Spurs off after Game Five:

When the Spurs actually lost in Game Six two days later, the floodgates really opened:



The takes continued a day later with a lot of obituaries for the Spurs’ dynasty:

Many focused in on Tim Duncan, who had just turned 35. They figured he was done. (In reality, Duncan would go on to play through 2015-16 and play a crucial role in the Spurs’ 2013-14 title.)



Yeah, that criticism of NBA small-ball didn’t hold up so well. And neither did Chris Mannix’s take that it would be “real hard” for the Spurs to improve that summer:

They did just that in the summer of 2011, trading George Hill to the Pacers for the 15th overall pick and using that on Kawhi Leonard, then selecting Cory Joseph 29th overall. Leonard in particular has been the most vital part of the Spurs’ resurgence; he won the NBA Finals MVP in 2014, has been named to two all-star teams and one first-team all-NBA team, and has become one of the NBA’s best players.

It’s easy to understand why some thought the Spurs’ dynasty might be done back in 2011, as they didn’t have a ton of incredibly promising young players that season and were picking 29th overall. Still, the move to send Hill to the Pacers and then acquire Leonard was a huge one, and they saw something in Leonard that so many teams ahead of them in the draft missed. They also started featuring their younger players more the following season and saving the legs of Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and that paid off.

The Spurs also got more production out of those top three in their last seasons than you might expect from a typical NBA aging curve. Parker and Ginobili are still playing, but in lesser roles, while Duncan retired after last season, but all of them managed to be effective long after the 2010-11 season. There were good reasons to think that the Spurs’ dynasty might finally be over following that loss to the Grizzlies, but a lot of the takes burying the team were too declarative, and they sure turned out to be cold in the end. As Yogi Berra once said, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.