Three potential playoff spoilers

Pacers, Rockets and Grizzlies all have the components for a postseason upset

Updated: February 27, 2013, 5:32 PM ET
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

Just say it: Fans and NBA experts hardly ever agree on anything.

This season, however, they've come to a rare accord: The 2012-13 NBA champion will be one of three teams -- the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder. Certainly no other team is built to win a ring the way these three are. But some teams could pull off major upsets on their way to the conference finals or even the NBA Finals.

How these "playoff spoilers" finish the season should give us an idea of how far they might go in the postseason. Here are the three teams I'm watching closely, teams that have the goods to shock the NBA world because they have the three ingredients to do so: a superstar, a special style of play and an X factor player.

Indiana Pacers: Lone threat in East

We all remember how dejected Miami looked after Game 3 in last year's Eastern Conference semifinals. The Pacers nearly had Miami down three games to one. After eventually losing that series, the Pacers bounced back this season and recently shellacked the Heat and a few other legitimate contenders. Unlike Houston and Memphis, Indiana has known all along who it is and is supremely comfortable playing that way.