Do the Spurs really have only the NBA’s 16th most talented roster?

The Spurs streaked to a 61-21 record during the regular season, ranking only a game behind Chicago for the league’s best record before they were upset by Memphis in the first round of the playoffs.

But if we are to believe CBS blogger Ben Golliver, Gregg Popovich might have done it with mirrors last season.

Golliver has ranked every NBA team in terms of its roster composition.  Included with each team are its key assets (stars, emerging rookies, players with reasonable contracts), its key anchors (bad contracts, mismatched roster pieces, aging stars owed more money than they are worth) and roster questions (free agency decisions, roster construction questions). 

Golliver makes the supposition that  if a new NBA owner in an undisclosed location was granted the ability to poach an entire roster from a current team — taking with it all of the players and their contracts, but not coaches and management types — which one would be the most attractive? And what would the list look like?

Here’s what he has to say after ranking the Spurs as 16th among the 30 NBA franchises.

“16. San Antonio Spurs

“Assets: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter, DeJuan Blair, Kawhi Leonard

“Anchors: Richard Jefferson

“Questions: Age

“Analysis: Like the Celtics, the Spurs are about to enter a new franchise era. They’ve hedged against losing Duncan to some degree and have a solid crop of younger talent, although there’s not a star in the bunch. Parker was recently locked in to a fairly reasonable extension and will become the face — and motor — of the franchise, with Ginobili doing what he does best for the next few years. The 2011 playoffs felt like a slamming of the championship window, though. The best days are in the rearview mirror.”   

NBA champion Dallas is ranked  as only the league’s eighth best  roster.  And among playoff teams, only Boston (17th), Denver (22nd), New Orleans (24th) and Orlando (29th) ranked lower among playoff teams in Golliver’s roster rankings.

Golliver ranks the Los Angeles Clippers’ roster above the Lakers. And he has Miami ranks as his No. 1 pick.

This obviously underscores the high regard that the basketball acumen of Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford is regarded around the league.

But doesn’t it still devalue what the Spurs were able to accomplish for most of the last season, and also what the team has with young players like Leonard, Gary Neal, Blair and Splitter for the post-Duncan era?        

What about it Spurs Nation?

Is Golliver dissing your team?

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