Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
At this point, who’s your favorite to win the West — the Spurs or the Thunder?
Steve Aschburner: San Antonio. I had picked OKC when the season began, but Gregg Popovich‘s deft management of the schedule and his guys’ minutes — and the play and indoctrination of their young guys — switched me over.
Fran Blinebury: The Spurs have been strong, steady and improving all season and their back-to-back sweeps in the first two rounds have only reinforced that opinion. They have the deepest roster and the best mental makeup of any of the remaining teams. I’ll go one step further right now and declare San Antonio winning in The Finals, too.
Scott Howard-Cooper: San Antonio is my favorite. It has changed since I picked Oklahoma City at the start of the season. But it has not changed since the start of the playoffs. After watching the Spurs a lot near the end of the regular season, it was impossible not to be very impressed. What has happened in the two rounds since has fortified the belief.
Shaun Powell: The Spurs bring the perfect blend of young and old, experience and youthful exuberance, half-court sets and full-court tempo and most of all, Gregg Popovich, the straw who stirs this margarita. They’ve been on a two-month peak with no signs of slowing down. True, they haven’t exactly beaten Goliaths in the postseason yet (Jazz and Clippers), but they look solid. And while I don’t want to call this Spurs’ team the best of the Pop Era, because they haven’t won anything yet, I will if they do.
John Schuhmann: I like the Spurs in five or six games. I just don’t think the Thunder are good enough defensively to really slow down San Antonio’s pick-and-roll attack. Plus, in the postseason, the Spurs’ own defense has been improved. The Jazz and Clippers were both top-10 offensive teams in the regular season, and San Antonio held them each to under a point per possession in their sweeps. The Thunder are better offensively than either, but the same can obviously be said about the Spurs’ and Thunder’s first two opponents.
Sekou Smith: If I wasn’t sure exactly what the Spurs were working with before the playoffs started, I’m convinced now. They haven’t lost a game since Valentine’s Day or whatever, so they’re bound to hit a few hiccups now that they have to deal with the one team in the league that’s looked almost as invincible since the playoffs started. While I love the Thunder’s explosiveness and toughness, I’m just not sure they have enough to counter the Spurs’ depth and balance. So if we’re just going with a favorite, I’m going to go with the Spurs.