Despite being the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference last season, the aging San Antonio Spurs were left for dead after their first-round loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Tim Duncan was too old, Manu Ginobili was too injured and the supporting cast was too weak. After a five-game win streak bookended by victories at the Grizzlies, however, it's looking like it's time to rethink things.
Here's how the TeamRankings.com future projections see the season turning out for Gregg Popovich's crew:
Chances of making the playoffs: 98.1 percent
Chances of winning the Southwest: 76.3
Chances of making the NBA Finals: 17.0
Chances of winning the NBA title: 6.0
As things stand, even with Ginobili's injury, the Spurs don't have terrible odds. Last season the Dallas Mavericks went into the playoffs with roughly a 6 percent chance of winning the title; just because a team isn't a big favorite doesn't mean it can't win it all. If Ginobili can return and then stay healthy, he might be enough to make San Antonio a strong contender.
Counting on all three Spurs stars to be 100 percent for the playoffs is risky business, however, and even if they are healthy, there are some holes in San Antonio's lineup. Here is a look at those weaknesses and some trades that would improve the Spurs' title odds.