San Antonio Spurs: ESPN BPI ranks SAS in NBA’s top 3

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 27: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs is congratulated by LaMarcus Aldridge #12 after Leonard scored a basket against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Golden 1 Center on October 27, 2016 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 27: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs is congratulated by LaMarcus Aldridge #12 after Leonard scored a basket against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Golden 1 Center on October 27, 2016 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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ESPN released a preseason BPI for all 30 NBA teams. The San Antonio Spurs are near the top of the list.

The 2017-18 NBA season will start in less than one month, which means previews and predictions are on the way. ESPN did this for the San Antonio Spurs in August and September, with a prediction for where they will finish in the Western Conference and the league, in general. This had them fall behind the Houston Rockets.

On Wednesday, ESPN released another part of their NBA preview, the Preseason BPI. It’s ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the “best predictor of a team’s performance for the rest of the season.”

The Spurs ranked third overall at +4.9. Only the Golden State Warriors and Rockets finished ahead of them at No. 1 and 2, respectively. The other teams are seen below:

Preseason NBA BPI is out. https://t.co/qn9huFcWh5

No surprise that the @Warriors are the favorites (63.1 projected wins). pic.twitter.com/n5ZnZRA94c

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 20, 2017

Not surprisingly, the Spurs have a higher BPI on defense (2.9) than offense (2.1). The Rockets are lopsided, with the offense (4.0) almost four times higher than the defense (1.1). That goes back to head coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense-first (and always) system. The Boston Celtics (4.9) finished behind San Antonio at No. 4.

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The Warriors are heavy favorites in the BPI. They won the 2017 NBA championship and two in the past three years, so the odds are in their favor to win three in four years. Look for them to remain ahead on the BPI in 2017-18 and for years to come.

It will be difficult for the Spurs, or any other team, to remove the Warriors from their pedestal in any prediction or preview for the season. ESPN still thinks the Gregg Popovich-coached team will be one of the best in the league, but will it mean much against the Stephen Curry-Kevin Durant-Klay-Thompson-Draymond Green superteam?

Must Read: 25 forgotten players that were on the Spurs

Did ESPN give the Spurs their proper spot in the BPI? Should the Rockets be below them?

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