2009: As a No. 3 seed, the Spurs were beaten 4-1 in the first round by the Dallas Mavericks. That was not a vintage Mav team, but San Antonio won just four more games (54-50) than did Dallas during the season.
2010: As a No. 7 seed, the Spurs returned the favor against Dallas, upsetting the No. 2 seeded Mavericks. But third-seeded Phoenix swept the Spurs in the West semifinals.
2011: As a No. 1 seed, the Spurs were upset by Memphis 4-2 in the first round.
2012: As a No. 1 seed, the Spurs were beaten by the Thunder 4-2 in the West finals.
So in five seasons, the Spurs went 5-5 in series. Think about that. Gregg Popovich and Ginobili and Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, with all kinds of pieces around them, went .500 over five playoff seasons.
It’s a valuable lesson. It’s hard to win in the NBA West.