Ignoring the San Antonio Spurs' regular-season success has become an annual ritual.
The defense to ignoring their success is not only obvious, but it's fair. The Spurs have won 50 games or more every year since 2007-08, but have failed to qualify for the NBA Finals each season.
Twice (2007-08 and 2011-12) the Spurs have advanced to the Western Conference Finals, but they've also bowed out in the first round twice in that same span (2008-09, 2010-11).
This season may not end up being any different than the last five, but the Spurs have quietly been in possession of the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference for the majority of the season.
Maybe it's because their shtick is boring and routine, but the Spurs simply don't garner significant attention from the public.
There's no team in the West that can match the Spurs' balance on both ends of the floor. For example, San Antonio is shooting 48.8 percent from the field (second overall), while they're holding opponents to 44.1 percent shooting (ninth overall).
The Spurs stay consistent from beyond the arc too. Led by Danny Green, Matt Bonner and Tony Parker, the Spurs rank fourth in three-point field-goal percentage, while their stingy defense holds opponents to 34.2 percent shooting from deep (seventh overall).
The Spurs would've topped this list, but calling them a "dark horse" just seemed like too much of a stretch, thus the honorable mention.