San Antonio Spurs begin season fourth in Marc Stein’s power rankings

By Quixem Ramirez

June 4, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) is fouled by San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) during the second half in game five of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at the AT

Five months removed from a first place finish in Marc Stein’s power rankings, the San Antonio Spurs have dropped to fourth behind the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Spurs were in the midst of an eight-game winning streak and appeared prime to clinch a NBA Finals berth after taking a 2-0 series lead against Oklahoma City. Since then San Antonio lost four consecutive games in the Western Conference Finals and bore witness to the Lakers adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

In spite of the player movement, San Antonio retained continuity. The core of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker may be old, averaging 12 seasons of experience between them, but it has not gotten any easier to ascertain when, exactly, their production will drop.

Per Stein:

“Timmy, Manu and Tony don’t get any easier to read with age. Who could have predicted the 20 games in a row they won or the four straight Ls to OKC after that brush with invincibility? Want to write the Spurs off after a summer of precious little change? Go for it. We’ll pass.”

If there is one thing for certain as we enter a new NBA season — and there is always uncertainties plaguing every team — it’s that I will not be one to expect the Spurs to finally taper off. Expectations shouldn’t exceed an acceptable level and defeating the elite teams will be a difficult task. But the Spurs still have a lot of surplus energy left in the tank.

Their time will come but it is a bit premature to prepare an obituary just yet.