John Shuhmann posted a great article about why the Spurs are better contenders this year than last year which I completely agree with.
The highlights if you don't want to read it:
-Focus on contesting more shots and giving up some defensive rebounding and sending more guys to the line (mimicking the Celtics)
-Tiago Splitter and Tim Duncan are now the top defensive duo in the NBA
-Defending against the Thunder better
*He doesn't mention Tony Parker's improved play though