Pistons, Spurs, Wolves should rise to the top

Originally Published: November 1, 2004
By Chad Ford | NBA Insider
There's an old Japanese proverb that says that there are "many paths up Mount Fuji." In other words, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Is there a formula to winning an NBA championship? You'd be hard-pressed to find it if you examined this year's top four contenders for the NBA prize.

The world champion Pistons bring stifling defense, superior teamwork and a gritty, blue-collar work ethic to the table.

The former champion Spurs will hop on the back of an MVP big man, Tim Duncan, and ask him to carry them to the promised land.

The Timberwolves do it with shock and awe on the offensive end of the ball. Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell and Wally Szczerbiak are all capable of dropping 30 on you on any given night.

The Pacers are a combination of the first three. They've got an MVP-caliber big man, great depth and defensive toughness, and enough offensive firepower to knock just about anyone out.

Put all four in a steel cage, and who walks out at the end?

The Pacers are this year's dark horse to bring home a title, writes NBA Insider Chad Ford. Here's Insider's season preview of the three other teams that have the best shot at winning it all this year.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer