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ESPN predicts San Antonio Spurs as NBA champions

Get ready for the glare of the spotlights, Spurs fans, because flying under the radar is going to be hard to do after this.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

If there's any part of your enjoyment of being a Spurs fan that relies on rooting for the under-appreciated team whose true quality is known to a relative few, then you may need to find another team because the San Antonio Spurs have just been tapped by an ESPN panel of over 200 experts to be next year's NBA Champions.

Not that ESPN's forecasts are the be-all, end-all of sports prognostication that their description of their panel and process would have you believe. After all, over the last two seasons the Spurs were ranked third in the West and 5th overall in the championship race in this same summer forecast. So, you'd be well within your rights to be reasonably dubious about predictions in general, and this one in specific.

That said, running from the front of the pack is something the Spurs haven't done since ... well, 2008, maybe? And even that year would be arguable. But there was no doubt about the vote as the Spurs got 65 more votes (186) than the second-place Cavaliers (121). The top five were rounded out by the Thunder (115), Clippers (36) and Bulls (28).