Originally written January 17, 2013 on Project Spurs:
We've seen an emergence of a youthful Tim Duncan this year as the San Antonio Spurs are impressing the critics that once called them "too old." Manu Ginobili has thrown impressive passes and we're seeing the rise of Tiago Splitter that's been expected of him since he first was signed by the Spurs. That's all well and good for some fans, but the majority of the base won't remember them next year. If you ask a Spurs fan about memorable highlights the past few seasons, they may come up with one or two (especially from Ginobili), but they'll agree on one thing and that's that the year was wasted because the team didn't win an NBA title. To the Silver and Black faithful, the only way the year is a success is if the Spurs are the last team standing in June and there's a party down the River Walk. The fans aren't the only ones focusing on the playoffs already, coach Gregg Popovich is too. After the Spurs defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 103-82 last night, Pop revealed if he has his sights set on the regular season. "That's not a goal of ours. We only have one goal. We don't start any season saying we want to win this many games by this time of year and that kind of thing."   With Duncan's career coming to an end, the Spurs know their championship hopes are in the same boat. Once Duncan leaves, the veteran leadership he brings goes along with him and probably a few more players including the head coach.   The team doesn't have the luxury they once did of being patient until the next year, they have to win a title for this year. When players fade into the sunset, no one remembers the regular season games they had.   When Karl Malone's name pops up, he may be regarded as the second greatest power forward of all time, but the talk about championships always follows. When Shaquille O'Neal is mentioned, his dominance and championships belong together.   The same is with Duncan.   He's got his Hall of Fame resume completed, but the team and its fans want to say goodbye the same way they did to legend David Robinson.   While Duncan's youthful performances are impressive, unless a title comes along with it they'll fade like the season will. That's not Pop's strategy for the season, especially when you remember how he's sat his players because of a difficult schedule early on and have won games with their depth. Pop's strategies always come with a long term goal even if it means there's some type of loss in the short term.   Popovich's view on the bigger picture is what makes him what he is and one of the greatest coaches of all time knows there's still room for another title ring on his thumb.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brain study finds 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Five things to watch in the AL Wild Card game

Tony Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

Eli on Geno Smith: If fans yell at you, you probably deserve it

49ers players come out in support of Jim Harbaugh

Raiders reportedly expected to make a run at Jon Gruden

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

FCC unanimously ends sports blackout rule

Michael Phelps arrested for DUI

Is hiring Mack Brown a real possibility for SMU Mustangs?

NFL: Abdullah should not have been penalized for praying

Belichick: Pats 'didn't play well enough at all' against Chiefs

Astros new manager A.J. Hinch: ‘Goal is to win championships’

Marlins president: We're not trading Giancarlo Stanton

Heckling Knicks fan suing team over ejection

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe: Iggy Azalea has had better career than Swaggy P

College football's post-Week 5 playoff projection

Oregon to don pink-themed unis for breast cancer awareness

Is DeMarco Murray the best RB in the NFL?

WATCH: TBS sends up 'Boom Goes the Dynamite' with promo

Ilya Bryzgalov takes photos with fans while on the bench

NFL Awards: Week 4 edition

The best and worst MLB players in September

Tracking demanding career paths of all Top 25 head coaches

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Marlins: We're not trading Stanton

Study: 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

AL Wild Card preview

Heckling fan sues Knicks over ejection

Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe chooses Iggy over Swaggy P

Raiders to make a run at Jon Gruden?

Is DeMarco Murray the NFL's best RB?

Ilya Bryzgalov takes photos with fans while on the bench

NFL Awards: Week 4 edition

Michael Phelps arrested for DUI

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.