Not to take anything away from the Detroit Pistons, but the more time I spend around the San Antonio Spurs, the more confidence I have in my preseason prediction that the Spurs will repeat as champions. Gregg Popovich’s teams always defend tenaciously.
But their offense is more fluid than in the past - their ball movement in Game 1 was absolutely stunning - and their depth is terrific. Michael Finley and Nick Van Exel just add more dimensions to an already-talented roster. If Tim Duncan can avoid aggravating his right foot ailment and Tony Parker continues to perform like he did the other night, no one is going to touch the Spurs. They are an absolute pleasure to watch, skilled and unselfish, and much more entertaining now that they play at a faster pace.
As I wrote several months back, I also believe Popovich should have been named the 2008 U.S. Olympic coach. Besides being more knowledgeable about the international game than any other NBA head coach with the exception of Mike D’Antoni, he possesses all the skills of the great head coaches. He is a stickler for details, as demanding as it gets, and can be a bit of a control freak. But he is also a great communicator and has become much more comfortable in his role as a public figure.
Besides, he loves good food and fine wine. During off-days on road trips to Golden State or Sacramento, Pop usually makes a side trip to Napa or Sonoma.