The San Antonio Spurs, contrary to expectations, started out the 2022-23 season strong. Coached by Hall of Famer Gregg Popovich, the Spurs remained competitive through the first two weeks as they started the season with a 5-2 record. Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell spurred the Spurs into that incredible start that made many think twice whether they would even be involved in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.

Fans no longer need to think twice after the Spurs’ brutal three-week stretch.

After the Spurs’ 117-99 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, San Antonio has now lost 10 straight games for the first time in Gregg Popovich’s 27 seasons as the team’s head coach. The Spurs are now 6-17, “good” for the fourth-worst record in the entire association.

To make matters worse, the Spurs have lost by an average margin of 17.6 points over that stretch. And if they aren’t getting blown out, they’re the ones blowing leads. In particular, San Antonio led the Oklahoma City Thunder by 17 points this past Wednesday and they ended up squandering that considerable advantage.

Simply put, the Spurs have been downright terrible, as they’re ranked 29th in offensive rating and dead last in defensive rating, a solid combination if one were competing for lottery balls. Even Gregg Popovich, as smart a coach as he is, couldn’t provide a remedy for a team filled with so many flaws.

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During the losing streak, Keldon Johnson has struggled immensely after such a torrid start to begin the year. While Johnson is averaging 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists over that span, he is shooting a wretched 29.6 percent from the field on 18.8 shot attempts per game over that span.

Nevertheless, this level of putridity may end up being for the best in the long run. Gregg Popovich and the Spurs clearly need a star to build their franchise around, and Victor Wembanyama will certainly fit that bill should the Spurs nab the first overall pick in next year’s draft. And they may be well on their way.