NBA Power Rankings: Spurs seventh behind Clippers, Nuggets, Celtics

By Quixem Ramirez

Jan. 17, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) drives to the basket as Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers (15) defends during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk churned out another edition of Summer NBA power rankings and ranked the San Antonio Spurs behind the Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers.

The top three teams aren’t surprising as the Heat, Thunder and Lakers are considerably more talented than the entire league.

Here’s Helin’s thought process, who also believes he may have undersold the Spurs:

“This is probably too low for them. We always     tend to overlook the Spurs. Their stars will get a year older the question is can their young role players step     up and help them out again? Probably.”

Let’s just break down the reasons why the Spurs should be higher (Side note: Power rankings are meaningless in any context.)

Clippers: The Clippers are similar to Denver; both teams are porous defensively and strong offensively. But while Denver excels in transition, the Clippers excel in the controlled environment that Chris Paul creates. Their main problem defensively, though, is their inability to play defense without fouling. Their field goal percentage defense isn’t nearly as bad as Denver, but they foul at an exorbitant rate, only Toronto was more susceptible to fouls last year. They likely got a little better this offseason as well but they still maintain the same problems that plagued them against the Spurs.

Denver: They are an elite offensive team because their speed allows them to create an obscene pace, allowing them to get to the foul line a lot in the process and, most important, they make their shots. And even they didn’t score as efficiently as the Spurs, though 109.2 points per 100 possessions isn’t anything to be disappointed about. Andre Iguodala’s addition won’t hurt them offensively and improves their perimeter defense so they did get better. Whether they improved enough to beat San Antonio is iffy.

Boston: Ranking Boston above the Spurs is justifiable. They struggled offensively during the regular season but that was offset by their defensive foritude. As long as they are allowing less than 100 points per 100 possessions, it gives them enough leeway to win the majority of their games. Plus, full seasons of Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and Jason Terry give them more depth this season.