Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 2/6/13
If you hear a person start a conversation by buttering you up, then you better be aware because the conversation is going to take a 180 degree turn in a heartbeat after that phrase is finished. After hearing this tirade, I got to thinking that ESPN's Stephen A Smith does have some valid points about the San Antonio Spurs' 2012 playoff run.  The Spurs did look like juggernauts during the first two rounds.  However (not going to add the exclamation points), he overlooked one critical thing.  The reason the Spurs looked so good was that the bench was knocking down big, making momentum turning three point shots and raising the level of defense to get key stops.  Yes, I know they came up short versus the Thunder and in the end,  that's all that matters. On the matter of a young player stepping up and helping the "Big 3," we have been looking for that piece for a few years.  George Hill had the looks of filling that role before he was traded to Indiana. But let’s be honest is everyone looking for the next young diamond-in-the-rough to help support their aging key players? As far as NBA Power Rankings, anyone making them up before the All-Star break is just looking for something to generate some chatter around the water cooler.  Is anyone going to look back and say back in February can you believe they had the Spurs ranked number one? Now, I do agree that Heat, Thunder are at the head of the class, but Stephen A., lets take a step back and interject some reality in to your rankings.  The Bulls, Clippers and Pacers would be in that second tier with regards to playoff contention.  The Clippers have the freakish athletic ability when harnessed by Christ Paul can give the Spurs fits. I see Indiana and Chicago as on par if not a step behind the Spurs in talent, but based on track record the nod would go to the Spurs. The Knicks, while having a good season, still have too much up in air, with the starting line up in a stat of constant flux with all the injuries and coming together as a offense with all the new parts that were added this year. The Nuggets are an up and coming team but are too up-and-down to make playoff noise. Tough the time of the "Big 3" era is starting to draw to a close, I think they remain together until they get a deal that will allow the Spurs to rebuild in a quick manner (i.e. a solid young player to pair with Parker). Much like Superbowl guarantees, power rankings are good as the paper they are written on.
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