It's almost become a cliche' to say that the San Antonio Spurs aren't getting enough attention this time of year, but while Gregg Popovich's team has performed brilliantly this season, they still seem to be lacking the credit they deserve heading into the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
Currently occupying the No. 2 spot out West, the Spurs have quietly won six straight and put five games between themselves and the No. 3 Los Angeles Lakers.
Everybody wants to talk about the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder heading into the playoffs, but while the Spurs may not be the flashiest of teams, they could very well be the most dangerous of them all.
On his way to yet another playoff appearance as the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich is proving yet again why he is one of the best coaches in the league.
Popovich has taken players year after year who would likely disappear on the rosters of other teams and made them integral parts of the San Antonio system that has been so successful.
Searching for his fifth NBA Championship, Popovich has seen winning streaks as large as 11 games this season and has beaten the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in two out of three games this year.
Popovich's ability to adjust is what makes him one of the best.
Whether it be from season to season, game to game or quarter to quarter, Popovich recognizes what needs to change in order to win.
And those type of adjustments are what lead teams deep into the playoffs.
The past few postseason appearances haven't silenced critics and doubters.
A team that nobody is worried about, however, can sometimes be more dangerous than the one being paid all the attention.
Tony Parker is quietly having arguably his best NBA season so far, and while both Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich have recognized that the team flies under the radar, neither seem to mind all that much.
While the Spurs were eliminated last season by a low-seeded Memphis squad, the Grizzlies had a youthfulness and excitement about them that helped rally their team past San Antonio in the first round.
With teams out West expecting the Oklahoma City Thunder to be the toughest team to get past this season, the Spurs could jump in and attack when their opponents have their guard down come playoff time.
Some people think of winning as the only kind of experience that makes a team dangerous come playoff time.
Losing, however, can be just as important.
Having lost in the first round last season to the No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies, the San Antonio Spurs find themselves in a season of redemption.
Yes, the team has had an incredible postseason track record. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker have all been there and done that when it comes to the NBA Finals.
Having lost, though, so early last season gives these same players a new perspective on what needs to be done during the playoffs.
Come playoff time, most teams in the NBA try to narrow their rotation down as tightly as possible to ensure the best players are on the court at all times.
The Spurs, however, have barely skipped a beat when the bench comes out onto the floor this season.
Players such as Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal have all had an impact this season, and while the playoffs are a whole different ball game, they shouldn't be expected to disappear when the pressure hits come May.
The high-level these guys have played at this season is due in part to Manu Ginobili having missed all but 20 games this season to injury. The young guys have been forced to step up, and they've done just that.
The other part is the system that Gregg Popovich has put in place, and as a result, the young guns should be ready to jump into action once the regular season comes to a close.
You wouldn't think that an injury to one of your team's best players could ever turn out to be a good thing.
Ginobili's injury troubles this season, though, could ultimately be what propels the Spurs deep into the playoffs this season.
Having only played in 20 games this season, Ginobili's absence has not only allowed the prospects to see legitimate time before the postseason, it has given Ginobili the rest necessary for a 34-year-old shooting guard to stay fresh during the extra games at the end of the year.
Resting his starters has never been a problem for Popovich, and the remainder of the season will likely showcase the same mentality in order to further prepare for a deep run come playoff time.