Are the San Antonio Spurs Contenders or Pretenders?

Will LeivenbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2012

The Spurs epitomize contenders this NBA season.  San Antonio has three key advantages that will fuel them to the playoffs and potentially beyond.

First, veteran leadership is invaluable and this trio is better than almost any team in the NBA with Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan. Second, they have some extremely talented young players ranging from a big man like Tiago Splitter to a slasher like Kawhi Lenoard to the spot-up shooting Danny Greene. They keep up the pace for this team and especially make them a threat from beyond the arc. Third and finally, the intangible — this team has been beat down and is now hungry for a championship.

Despite 13 consecutive seasons of 50 wins or more and a multitude of playoff berths, they've gone without a championship for the last six seasons. 

Greg Popovich remains one of the sharpest and most reliable head coaches in the league, but like a few of his veteran players the sun is setting on his luminous career. The Spurs have begun this season looking like their same fundamentally-sound selves, beating up on teams with their rhythmic, selfless schemes. 

Do you believe the San Antonio Spurs are contenders or pretenders? Please leave a comment below!

If you like what you see, click here for more from Bleacher Report Productions.