Of all of the perennial contenders in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs are the team everyone likes to sleep on. They have no marketable stars who have the proper ethnicity/background/what-have-you to get lucrative shoe deals, and their names sound funny enough. Their core is a bunch of guys on the wrong side of 30, and one of them is an injury-prone man with a bald spot. Certainly not as sexy a proposition as four guys who can dunk but are barely old enough to drink, or the only legitimate Twin Towers left in the league paired with a backcourt with three MVP awards between them. Then you have the guys from South Beach who have just won a title, and added the greatest three-point shooter of our era. Meanwhile our Spurs seem to have effectively stood pat in the offseason, electing to simply re-sign its free agents - even if its biggest FA took a pay cut.
But all of this ignores a few key facts. You may assemble as much All-Star talent as possible (putting your team into financial inflexibility - but does that matter in a big media market with a lucrative TV deal?) to maximize your chances at the Larry O'Brien. You could elect to gut your roster of veterans, reliable or not, to maximize your chances at a top draft pick for a year (or three) to again maximize your chances at the LO'B. While these are the most effective ways of doing so, there are situations when you can't afford to do either, being in a small market, or not being in a situation to gut the roster so easily, since your core players still have a lot in the tank.
Which is what makes the Spurs offseason criminally underrated. Their biggest moves were signing Tim Duncan to a much smaller contract and paying Danny Green big money for his breakout season. Boris Diaw and Patrick Mills received much smaller deals, considering they were more peripheral players who nevertheless played important parts. This is in effect bringing back the same team that when they started gelling together won 20 in a row, but was stopped by a Thunder team that got all the luck (and more of the calls).
Never underestimate the power of chemistry; the greatest teams are more than a sum of their parts. The 2011 Mavericks are a good example of this, and I think the 2003 Spurs were, too. The superteams don't dominate right away if they don't have good chemistry - the Heat have yet to win 60+ games in the Big 3 era, and the Nash-Kobe Lakers may turn out to be less successful than hoped, even with the implementation of the vaunted Princeton offense. And if there is a coach I'd trust to meld a squad with less talent into an elite force, I'd go with Pop.