San Antonio Spurs: Best NBA Franchise in ESPN's "Ultimate Standings List 2011"

Brian RubinContributor IIJune 17, 2011

AUBURN HILLS, MI - JUNE 19:  (L-R) Tony Parker #9, Tim Duncan #21 and Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs wait for the start of overtime against the Detroit Pistons in Game five of the 2005 NBA Finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills on June 19, 2005 in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The San Antonio earned the No. 1 seed yet again a few days ago.

But don't worry Spurs fans.  This No. 1 seed is safe and upset free.  It is for a different reason than winning the most games during the regular season. 

On June 15, ESPN released their annual "Ultimate Standings List," and among all of the NBA franchises, the Spurs were named the best. 

The list not only encompasses NBA teams, but includes NFL, NHL and MLB teams as well.  Out of the total 122 teams, the Spurs ended up 5th on the list.

The top five franchises included the following:

1.  Green Bay Packers (NFL)
2.  Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)
3.  New Orleans Saints (NFL)
4.  Los Angeles Angels (MLB)
5.  San Antonio Spurs (NBA)

29. Dallas Mavericks (NBA)

56. Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)

What did the Spurs do to earn this award?

Well first off, the "Ultimate Standings List" is a measure of how much sport franchises give back to their fans, and include eight categories such as bang for the buck, fan relations, ownership, affordability, stadium experience, players, coaching, and title track. 

The Spurs are No. 1 in two of the categories: fan relations (openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches, and management), and also No. 1 in players (effort on the field and likability off it). 

The Spurs are No. 2 in two categories as well: coaching, and ownership. 

Since the beginning of the creation of the annual list nine years ago, the Spurs have not finished worse that No. 9, and have finished No. 1 overall two times. 

What does this mean for the Spurs?

Quite frankly, while this list is a great testament to the franchise, ultimately what matters most is finishing the season with a trophy. 

For the San Antonio Spurs, this season has been one of many ups and downs.

From the highs of finishing the season with the best record in the West, from Tim Duncan becoming the Spurs franchise leader in games and scoring (in NBA only, George Gervin still leads career scoring if you include ABA), and Coach Pop passing Coach Auerbach and moving to 2nd place for NBA career victories with one franchise.

From the lows of being upset by the No. 8 seed in the first round, Manu injuring his elbow in final game before playoffs, and adding yet one more year to the already aging Big Three in Parker, Ginobili and Duncan. 

All of that being said, it is safe to say that overall, the Spurs have had the solid foundation to be one of the most successful franchise of all of sports.  While they continue to be in the top 10 teams in the Ultimate Standing List, more importantly they continue to be a championship threat each year as well.

Every Spurs fan is asking themselves and each other the same question: 

"Are the Spurs finally done?"

I think not.  Like the Ultimate Standing List, I too agree that there are many aspects in the creation of a successful franchise.  

While I do believe the actual players are one of the most crucial parts in the success of a team and am well aware of the aging core of the Spurs best players, the Spurs organization have many things going for them as evident by the rankings of the Ultimate Standings List.