Who Is The Bigger Surprise: The Chicago Bulls Or The San Antonio Spurs?
When the NBA season began, it was all about the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers. Nobody was really thinking about the Spurs and the Bulls. Maybe if you were from Chicago or San Antonio. But who could have predicted that these two teams would be sitting on top of their respective conferences come playoff time?
When the Bulls lost in the LeBron sweepstakes, most pegged them to hover around the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference behind the Magic, Celtics and Heat. Nobody picked them to have the best record in the East. Nobody. But Derrick Rose has turned in the ultimate MVP performance and carried an often injured Bulls team through the regular season and into the #1 seed (barring a last minute collapse). The supposed battle between the Heat, Magic and Celtics ended up being for the #2 seed while Chicago pulled off the unexpected.
But is that the biggest surprise?
What about those Spurs? This was the year the old dogs were to be taken out back and shot Old Yeller style. They were expected to make the playoffs because they are the Spurs, but to put a stranglehold on the best record in the league is something nobody anticipated. Obviously, the Lakers were expected to sit on top of the West (in some cases Dallas), but the Spurs? Nope. No way anyone thought they would sniff the top seed. But these old dogs came out swinging Bernard Hopkins–style and gut punched the rest of the league. Pretty much everyone wrote them off. They didn’t add a big free agent. All they did was get older. But somehow the chemistry remained intact (and perhaps better than ever) as Timmy and company rolled through the season, despite Tim Duncan posting career low numbers in points, rebounds and minutes played. It’s really remarkable that the Spurs were so damn good with no big star posting huge numbers. Their leading scorer was Tony Parker at 17.7 ppg (a career high). However, they averaged 103 points per game as a team, good for sixth in the league (and shockingly more than both the Heat, Lakers and Mavericks). They proved that it is about team play and shocked the world.
So who is the biggest surprise? That’s a tough one to call.
Now here’s the interesting question. Who is picking either of these teams to make it to the NBA Finals? Even though these two teams sit on top of their respective conferences, it’s hard to say that this will be the NBA’s championship series. Still, everyone is probably anticipating a Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics/Miami Heat Finals.
Truthfully, we won’t believe these are the two best teams unless they meet in the finals. And even then we’ll probably be upset because it’s not what everyone wants to see.