Spurs have brightest future, according to ESPN

ESPN released their updated “Future Power Rankings” on Tuesday and, surprisingly, the Spurs have the brightest future in the league.

Of course, you say, the Spurs are on top. They are the defending champions and with everyone returning they have a really good chance to win again.

I would tell you that you are right. The Spurs do have a really good chance to win the NBA title again. I had them second in my pre-World Cup Power Rankings. They would probably be first if I did it again (thanks, Jeff).

But, I would tell you further, these are FUTURE power rankings. And Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are not getting any younger. In fact, Ginobili and Parker sat out the current FIBA World Cup with injury concerns and to rest for another championship run. Duncan probably only has a year or two left. Ginobili is 37 years old. And Parker, while in his prime now, is entering the end of his best years at 32 years old.

So why are the Spurs No. 1? Let Kevin Pelton explain as ESPN’s panel moved the Spurs from four to one in these power rankings:

[Kawhi] Leonard is likely to sign a long-term extension this fall, the Spurs having already locked up point guard Tony Parker through 2017-18 this summer. San Antonio also will have to re-sign starting guard Danny Green, which will cut into the team’s cap flexibility the next two summers.

Still, if there’s any management we trust to manage the future, it’s the Spurs, who earned a perfect score. [Gregg] Popovich is clearly the league’s best coach — he might be as difficult to replace as Duncan when he decides to retire — and GM R.C. Buford earned overdue honors as the league’s Executive of the Year in 2013-14.

Hard to argue with Leonard’s promise or the wisdom and good fortune of the Spurs’ management as a reason for putting them at number one. The future power rankings only project three years into the future.

Are the Spurs going to be championship favorites for the next three years?

Next year and the year after, it is hard to argue that they will not be right there. The system and program Popovich has built has earned them that respect. And for the next three years, it will be hard to argue with this ranking or have any mistrust they will not keep it.

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily