When the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Dallas Mavericks on March 14, Tim Duncan and Co. officially punched their postseason tickets for the 16th straight season. Before long, a "Spurs playoff berth" will be joining death and taxes in the hierarchy of life's most predictable certainties.
But the Spurs aren't the only NBA club that has enjoyed consistent success in recent years.
As a matter of fact, in looking at the steadiest teams of the past two decades, it turns out that four different franchises have put together consecutive playoff-appearance streaks of at least seven seasons.
With free agency, injuries and luck all conspiring to trip up the league's most consistent organizations, a few have stayed the course better than most, leading to plenty of postseason appearances and even some NBA championship trophies.
As we go through the most consistent franchises in recent memory, keep in mind the following: "Recent memory," for our purposes, means the past 20 years. Also note that NBA titles don't necessarily determine consistency. Instead, we're out to reward sustained performance over the relevant time period.
Like a Steve Nash free throw or a Rasheed Wallace blowup after a bad call, predictable outcomes are key here. Now, let's get consistent!