Season previews are rolling in from every corner of the NBA media, and the San Antonio Spurs predictions regularly place the team in the conversation to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
After all, LaMarcus Aldridge and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Kawhi Leonard highlight a talented roster that also includes Tim Duncan, Danny Green, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and David West.
Despite that depth of talent, though, an NBA title is far from a certainty. The reigning-champion Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers are at the top of the Western Conference, while LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers likely wait on the Eastern side.
Which outlets have predicted the Spurs to win the franchise’s sixth championship, and where do national writers think San Antonio will fall short?
We checked out Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, ESPN, SB Nation, Sporting News, Sports Illustrated and Yahoo, gathered predictions and broke them down as efficiently as possible. The results were quite balanced overall.
Note: Bleacher Report, CBS and Yahoo did not list when a team would be eliminated during a particular playoff round. While San Antonio appeared on some B/R and Yahoo predictions, none of the five CBS analysts predicted the Spurs to win the West.
Spurs Don’t Reach Conference Finals
- SB Nation: Five writers, including Tom Ziller and Paul Flannery
- Sporting News: Sean Deveney and Adi Joseph
- Sports Illustrated: Lee Jenkins, Chris Mannix, Rob Mahoney
Spurs Lose Western Conference Finals
- ESPN: Cumulative point total
- SB Nation: Mike Prada
- Sports Illustrated: Deantae Prince
Spurs Win Western Conference, Lose in NBA Finals
- Bleacher Report: Jonathan Feigen (also from the Houston Chronicle)
- SB Nation: Elena Bergeron
- Sports Illustrated: Chris Ballard, Matt Dollinger
Spurs Win NBA Championship
Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) celebrates after game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. The Spurs beat the Heat 104-87 to win the NBA Finals. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
- Bleacher Report: Howard Beck, Michael Pina
- SB Nation: Seth Rosenthal
- Sports Illustrated: Ben Golliver
- Yahoo: Ben Rohrbach
In summation, of the 21 writers who offered predictions that were either complete or listed the Spurs as a finalist in the championship round, five picked San Antonio to win title No. 6.
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Four more selected the Spurs to reach the NBA Finals, while two writers and a total vote (ESPN) had San Antonio bowing out in the Western Conference Finals. That means 33 of the 45 NBA writers project a lesser finish—which doesn’t rule out appearing in the WCF but doesn’t necessarily include it.
Predictions are not a scientific analysis by any means, but they do provide a general outlook for the expectations in the basketball world. Exactly 20 percent of the writers from national outlets project the Spurs to at least put themselves in position to win a championship.
Considering the Warriors, Rockets, Thunder and Clippers are fighting San Antonio for the Western crown, a 1-in-5 chance across national NBA media is a remarkably consistent projection.