San Antonio Spurs second biggest rival: Houston Rockets
While one could argue that this spot should go to Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, I maintain that the Houston Rockets are still the Spurs' biggest rival in the state of Texas. Although they had the worst record in the NBA this past season, I think games between them and the Spurs will be a bit better than expected this year.
The rivalry between the Spurs and Rockets has always been heated and nasty, even if it appears pretty lopsided in the Spurs' favor these days when accounting for postseason success. With that in mind, much like the young Spurs players, I think the Rockets will be playing with a chip on their shoulders this coming season and won't back down so easily.
They, also like the Spurs, are now a relatively young team outside of John Wall and Eric Gordon, and seeing rookie mistakes will probably be a given for them. Even so, they were particularly successful in the 2021 NBA Draft. If you were following the draft this past season, like me, you may have been incredibly dejected to see the Rockets walking away with Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Usman Garuba all within the span of a couple of hours.
Even if they don't make an immediate positive impact together this season, I fully expect to see that group doing good things together very soon. Jalen Green in particular has the potential to become an incredibly talented two-way player and already appears to be a perfect fit in Houston after seeing his statements about Detroit.
This is all not to mention the fact that the Rockets already have one of the most-improved big men in the game in Christian Wood and an emerging star in Kevin Porter Jr., who's a good friend of Dejounte Murray. The Spurs and Rockets will face off on January 12, January 25, February 4, and March 28.