The San Antonio Spurs have won five of their last nine games — while shorthanded, including Wednesday's blowout loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder without superstar Victor Wembanyama.

It took the Spurs 30 games to win their first five games of the season. Hard to blame the Silver and Black for thinking they're a different team than what their record says.

“If the season would start [now], I think we’d be in a much different situation than we are right now, ” Spurs reserve Cedi Osman recently said.

Despite losing Osman, Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan and Keldon Johnson for this last stretch — Vassell and Sochan officially for the season — and Wemby in their most recent game, San Antonio has minimized its losses in the standings.

“I feel like it started even before, but it's something continuous,” Wembanyama added.

“We put an emphasis on this also, recognizing each other's strengths. But yeah, it's true that it's been going even faster since All- Star [Weekend]. There's multiple, but I would say one of the biggest things for us is playing off the ball. When the defense is focused on one area, cut the other side. This is one thing,”  the generational talent concluded with a specific example citing the team's improvement.

Spurs are a long way from the start

San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) shoots during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum.
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

With the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets looming on Friday and the hapless Detroit Pistons on Sunday, the Spurs have two games remaining in 2023-2024. It's been a long stretch since their season opener on October 25 — in more ways than one, according to Gregg Popovich.

“They’ve come a long way from the beginning of the year to now to be able to play a team like that. We’ve been doing it. For the last month or so, it really started to click with the group. Nobody loves to lose, but their effort and playing for 48 minutes, they’ve figured that out and they just keep on pushing,” the Hall of Fame head coach said recently.

“I think that we have changed a lot since the beginning of the season,” Osman agreed. “We are a totally different team. I think that you can see that, obviously, when we’re playing on the court, we’re much different.” “We obviously know now what everybody is capable of. Using [Victor Wembanyama], Devin [Vassell], Jeremy [Sochan], [Keldon Johnson],” the first-year Spur said of the way the team utilized their top four scorers before the injuries.

“Everybody has their own role and now everybody understands as individuals what we have to do,” Osman continued.  “I think we’re better. I think if the season were to have started today, we would be in a different spot. I really do believe that. But I’m proud of how we fought.”

Over the last three weeks, the Silver and Black have beaten the Phoenix Suns without Wembanyama, the Knicks, and two of their other three wins have come when they've been extremely shorthanded.

“You can get excited because we realize what we're capable of doing. So, that's why I really feel comfortable with this team,” Osman concluded.

It appears the comfort level has risen across the team. As have the wins compared to other stretches of the season.