San Antonio Spurs: The Forgotten Champions

Matt HomdisCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2008

With the trade deadline now almost a week old, many teams are posturing for playoff positioning, while critics make their picks for who they think will win it all.

There are cases are being made for the Celtics, who with the NBA's first great big three since the Bulls run in the late 90s, have the leagues best record. T

he Cavs cannot be counted out as the Eastern Conference defending champion, and the perennial favorites in the East, the Pistons, are still playing at a high level of basketball.

In the West, where the biggest impact trades took place, we have the Lakers as the current "in" pick with a resurgent Kobe Bryant leading his team to a great season, the Suns pick up of Shaq looks shaky as of now, but in the playoffs with the half court offence being prominent, they are considered a threat.

Jason Kidd is back to where his career began in Dallas, and many are hoping the first round upset of 2007 will be a distant memory for the Mavs.

While all this talk is great for the fans, as we are starting to see parity within the top teams, leaving the race for number one wide open, there is one team whose name is rarely mentioned in championship discussions these days.

Weird thing is, this team has won three titles in the past five years—the San Antonio Spurs.

With a record of 38-17, they have the best record in the West, the 5th ranked defensive team in the league, all this while Tony Parker missed a dozen games.

With a team with the likes of Duncan, Ginobli and the aforementioned Parker leading the way, how can experts discount what the Spurs are capable of doing. While they have not been ignored completely, as defending champions they should be the unanimous pick to be the favorites going into the playoffs.

However,others who made big splashes in trades the past few weeks such as the Lakers, Suns and Mavericks are garnering all the attention.

Perhaps they do not have the flash and prestige of a Kobe Bryant-led team, or it could be that they don't use a run-and-gun offense like the exciting Suns, or they don't have Mark Cuban selling the greatness of his team in front of every camera that comes his way.

Whatever the reason, the Spurs continue to chug along and win games as a team, with substance replacing style. The acquisition of Kurt Thomas might prove to be the biggest steal of the deadline as he will help take off some of the pressure Duncan feels on defense, so he can concentrate more on the offensive part of his game.

San Antonio is a team built for the playoffs and come June the media will offer their mea culpa to Duncan and company.