In 2002-03, Tim Duncan was indispensable to the team's success as the only true star (Photo Credit: Nathaniel Butler/Getty Images).
Regular season record (point differential): 60-22 (+5.4 points per game)
Playoff record (point differential) and result: 16-8 (+5.5 points per game), Won NBA Finals (4-2) versus New Jersey Nets
I realize this pick isn't going to be popular, but stay with me on this.
Tim Duncan was at the height of his powers in 2002-03 in his second consecutive MVP season. I think we can all agree on that.
However, his supporting cast wasn't as impressive as it was in the three other title years. In fact, Duncan's lack of surrounding star power is likely what helped Gregg Popovich win Coach of the Year award in 2002-03.
Tony Parker turned 21 during the 2003 playoffs, and only gave the Spurs just 14.7 points per game and 3.5 assists per game during the NBA playoffs, with a subpar 11.9 player efficiency rating. The Spurs were even tempted to bring in Jason Kidd to replace Parker at point guard during the summer of 2003, according to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski.
David Robinson, reduced to a role player by this point, averaged 8.5 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game. Rookie Manu Ginobili was at 7.6 points per game. Stephen Jackson and Malik Rose, while valuable contributors, hovered around 10 points per game. Bruce Bowen had not yet hit his defensive pinnacle.
Basically, this championship was won by Tim Duncan and a bunch of solid role players. The good-not-great regular season point differential illustrates this point.
Before all you Spurs fans come after me with axes, just know that these top 5 teams are all very close.