Of the six squads eligible for these rankings, only two finished without the No. 1 spot in SRS that season—the 2012-13 unit and this one.
However, while last year's team only earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, these Spurs managed to hold down the best record in their conference, narrowly beating out the Sacramento Kings and winning a tiebreaker with the Dallas Mavericks. Both teams finished ahead in SRS, though.
While San Antonio played the toughest schedule of the bunch, it also had the worst margin of victory. Winning by an average of 5.41 points per game isn't quite as impressive as what was done by Sacramento (6.50) and Dallas (7.78).
Category Rank: No. 5 (10 points)
Though this team ultimately emerged with the Larry O'Brien Trophy, nothing came easy.
The Phoenix Suns pushed things to Game 6 in the opening round of the playoffs, and six contests were required in the dispatching of the Los Angeles Lakers and Mavericks as well.
That Western Conference Finals against Dallas was particularly tough, as Dirk Nowitzki put on quite a show with his 25.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. But Duncan, who averaged 28.0 points, 16.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 3.0 blocks per game, was even better during those six outings.
In the Finals, San Antonio got the job done in six games once more.
As a whole, the Spurs won two-thirds of their games during the postseason, which is the bottom mark among the six eligible seasons. However, they rank higher than No. 6 in this category because they won the title and did so without needing to go the distance, which can't be said about the 2004-05 club.
Category Rank: No. 4 (12 points)
If you're not a Spurs fan, this season probably doesn't resonate with you all that much.
The Finals against the New Jersey Nets drew relatively little attention for such a major sporting event, as the NBA faithful generally seemed to lack interest after the Lakers failed to make it all the way to the final round.
Here's the Associated Press, via Sports Illustrated with info on the television ratings:
The final ratings for the NBA Finals between San Antonio and New Jersey were the lowest since the Nielsen ratings service began using the current method 27 years ago.
The six games, all aired in prime time on ABC, drew a 6.5 with a 12 share.
The previous low came in 1981, when Boston and Houston drew a 6.7 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. This year's highest mark came in Game 6, when the Spurs won the series.
By contrast, last year's finals, between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Nets, had a 10.2 rating on NBC even though it went four games and was less competitive. That series, however, featured two of the game's biggest stars -- the Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
TV ratings obviously aren't the be-all, end-all for memorability, but they accurately summed up what happened during the 2003 NBA Finals.
Even though Duncan was completely dominant, averaging a mind-boggling 24.2 points, 17.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 5.3 blocks per game en route to earning MVP, there wasn't enough star power on the opposition to gain much traction. Jason Kidd didn't really get the job done.
Category Rank: No. 5 (25 points)