No. 3: San Antonio Spurs

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 6, 2012, 5:31 PM ET
By Eddie Matz | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 5
Title track: 7 (tie)
Ownership: 1
Coaching: 1
Players: 1
Fan relations: 1
Affordability: 4
Stadium experience: 28
Bang for the buck: 13

Riddle us this: How does a franchise lead in four separate categories, nab top-10s in two others, post no grade lower than 28 and still not end up as the overall winner in our rankings? Blame it on the bang. While most teams would kill for a 13 in our bang for the buck category, San Antonio's number (which, in our formula, accounts for 21.6 percent of the overall score) ruined its chances of being The Mag's first three-time rankings champ (the Spurs ruled in '04 and '06). The question, then, becomes: How does a club that's won three titles in the past decade and boasts the best record in basketball over the past three seasons get saddled with a B4B that's lower than 12 other organizations (including three in the NBA)? The only logical answer is that the good folks of San Antonio have gotten spoiled. After all, they've watched the San Antonio Spurs win 50-plus in 13 consecutive seasons (longest streak in league history) and make the playoffs in 15 straight (longest current streak) under the guidance of an exalted X's-and-O's man who's been named coach of the month 14 times (most ever). The net effect is that in a humble city where the cost-of-living index is below average, the league's seventh-priciest ticket ($58.45) comes off feeling just barely unbangish enough to keep the Spurs off the mountaintop.