Even with the best record in the NBA at 32-6, the San Antonio Spurs are not seen by their peers as having a legitimate shot at the title, according to the 157 players who responded to a Sports Illustrated poll conducted during the month of December.
The SI poll did, however, give the Los Angeles Lakers a big thumbs up, evidently satisfied that the reigning champs can overcome recent turmoil and injuries to add another title by post-season’s end, with 69 percent of those polled giving the west coast team the nod.
Coming in a distant second to the Lakers were the Boston Celtics, with 22 percent of the vote. They were followed by the Miami Heat, currently atop the Eastern Conference with a 30-9 record and a nine-game win streak, and the Orlando Magic, favored by 2 percent of the respondents.
The Spurs, off to their best start in franchise history, have been playing great ball, far better than even they anticipated, but naysayers in the league and in the league’s fan base say the Spurs are too old.
Despite that seemingly age-old adage about the team, they remain that, a team. Led by the epitome of leadership, Tim Duncan, the team knows there is no room for chest-thumping egos, only a patient attitude that has led the team to the title on four occasions since 1999.