Posted December 05, 2012

Popovich angers Stern but makes right decision in resting Spurs stars

Ben Golliver, David Stern, Gregg Popovich, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs

By Ben Golliver

Gregg Popovich may not be the friendliest coach, but he’s broken no NBA rules by sending his players home early. (Joshua C. Cruey/ABACAUSA.com)

The only criticism of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich that sticks whenever he decides to strategically rest his stars is that he’s a grumpy Grinch. The rest of the arguments that inevitably arise when he gives Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker a night off in the middle of the season, even if they aren’t injured or even hurting, just don’t hold water.

We’re here again because Popovich elected not to play his Big Three and starting shooting guard Danny Green during Thursday night’s nationally televised game against the Heat in Miami. Arguably the game of the week, Spurs-Heat was set to pit the team with the West’s second-best record against the East’s top team. The 2012 NBA champions against the 2012 Western Conference finalists. Stars upon stars upon stars. Instead, Popovich opted to punt.

“We’ve done this before in hopes of making a wiser decision, rather than a popular decision,” Popovich told reporters before the game, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “It’s pretty logical.”

Sitting four key players, when two others, Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson, are already out because of injury, rubs some the wrong way. It really shouldn’t. Let’s dissect some of the most popular lines of anti-Popovich reasoning one-by-one.

Gregg Popovich is cheating and/or breaking the rules!

Popovich is violating no NBA rules — at least none that are clearly stated — by purposefully not playing uninjured players. Who plays and who doesn’t has traditionally been a coach’s decision and he is making it.

“Strategic resting of particular players on particular nights is within the discretion of the teams,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in April, according to USA Today Sports, when the issue became a hot-button topic during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.

Unfortunately, NBA commissioner David Stern muddied the water on Thursday, issuing a statement condemning Popovich that aired on the TNT broadcast.

“I apologize to all NBA fans,” Stern said. “This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”

It’s unclear where Stern is coming from on this one. The only precedents for punishing organizations for not playing healthy players date to 1985 and 1990 and concern end-of-season resting. In a New York Times article announcing the fine in 1990, no specific rule was cited to explain the fines and Stern was not quoted.

If Stern suddenly wants to invoke a “for the good of the game” approach, he’s doing it without recent precedent and opening up all sorts of slippery slopes. Teams around the league regularly rest players in advance of the postseason, especially after seeding has been locked up, and lottery-bound teams have been known to shut down players and/or give outsized minutes to younger players to develop them. The league office has not touched either issue. Those are coaching decisions left to the coaches.

Not only is Popovich apparently acting within the rules, but the league’s competition committee has met on numerous occasions since he began implementing this strategy and has yet to outlaw or restrict it. Popovich has not been punished previously, either. What’s “unacceptable” about this particular situation? If anything, Popovich handled his substitutions acting with the league’s tacit approval based on its response to recent history.

Gregg Popovich is a coward!

OK, say that one to his face. Proving someone else’s courage isn’t the easiest task but even the briefest reading of his biography would suggest Popovich is the kind of guy who intelligently picks his battles, rather than the type to run from a fight. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy. He served on active duty in the Air Force. He coached at the Air Force Academy. He is an Air Force Academy Distinguished Graduate. He’s gotten the most out of virtually everyone he’s coached, from David Robinson to Stephen Jackson. He’s won four NBA titles, defeating hard-scrabble teams like the Pistons and talent-laden teams like the Lakers along the way. He’s compiled a career record of 860-402 (.681) and has won more than 60 percent of his regular-season games in 15 straight seasons. He’s beaten everyone there is to beat.

Popovich simply has nothing to prove by beating the Heat in Miami in November. Big-picture, the game is meaningless to him. While he said Thursday that playing the Heat didn’t factor into his decision, the fact that Miami entered the game 64-16 (.800) at home during the LeBron James can’t be ignored. If you’re going to rest your key guys, you want to rest them in games you’re already likely to lose or games you’re likely to be competitive even without them. This game clearly fits the former category, especially when you consider the recent schedules for both teams: Miami hasn’t played since Saturday while San Antonio is playing its sixth straight road game, fourth game in five nights, and the second game of a back-to-back. The Spurs got their business done early on the trip, too, winning the first five games against the Celtics, Pacers, Raptors, Wizards and Magic. If ever there was a toss-away game, this is it.

Gregg Popovich is screwing the fans!

This is, by far, the most popular criticism of Popovich. “Think of the fan attending his first game,” the story goes, “or the family who saved up hundreds of dollars to attend its only game of the year.”

Even people who don’t find joy in appearing heartless, like Popovich, can reasonably conclude that it’s impossible for an NBA coach to act in what he deems is his team’s best interests to make everyone happy all the time. Let’s start with Spurs fans, to whom he likely feels the biggest obligation. Has any reasonable Spurs fan ever complained about Popovich? What more exactly could they want from a coach who has presided over a decade and a half of consistent excellence? If trading one, or even five, games of rest a year is a part of the price for ensuring playoff run after playoff run, and the continuation of the careers of Duncan and Ginobili, Spurs fans will surely agree to that price.

As for the rest of the basketball fan community, Popovich can strongly argue that he’s doing it more long-term good than harm through his strategy. He owes fans the best possible team in the most possible games that he can muster. A little preventative management can help reduce problems down the road and he’s making those calculations while consulting with the players, his training staff and management. He’s making his calls from a position of knowledge and experience not available to outsiders and he’s doing so knowing that some will be disappointed.

“Hopefully, he can see things from my perspective, too,” Popovich said of any fan missing out on seeing his players, according to the Express-News.

James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all played for the Heat, by the way, so fans in Miami still enjoyed a championship-caliber consolation prize. The Spurs’ reserves aren’t exactly slouches either. They’ve managed to be competitive in games without their stars and they actually led Thursday night until the final minute, when the Heat rallied for a 105-100 victory. Fans that paid for a game got one.

Gregg Popovich owes it to the league and/or the league’s sponsors!

This is related to the last one and is another case of looking at the world through a microscope rather than a telescope. Small-picture, ratings go down on Thursday and advertisers are a bit sour. Big-picture, the Spurs position their veteran club for another eight-month season, one that comes after a summer in which six players — Parker, Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter, Patty Mills and Nando de Colo — all played for their home countries during the London Olympics. San Antonio prepares, as best it can, for prime time of the NBA calendar: the playoffs, when ratings and advertising dollars are significantly bigger.

Take the far opposite approach as a counterexample. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau left Derrick Rose on the court during Game 1 of a first-round playoff series against the Sixers last season. Rose blows out his knee in garbage time. Thibodeau was thinking small-picture: Ensure the victory. The league and its partners could have no complaints on that particular day. But what about the next eight months? You think, with the benefit of hindsight, that the NBA, Adidas and the league’s television partners would have preferred that Thibodeau pull Rose earlier? You think they would trade Rose’s missing the entire 2012 playoffs, after dealing with a number of injuries earlier last season, if it meant that he was available for the entire 2012-13 season, rather than sitting out a huge portion of it? Is maximizing one night, no matter what night it is, really smarter than a panoramic view that aims to please as many people as often as possible?

Rose, of course, is the extreme example. Think about how many teams, in addition to the Bulls, have already had their seasons affected by injuries: Minnesota (Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love), Indiana (Danny Granger), the Los Angeles Lakers (Steve Nash), Dallas (Dirk Nowitzki), New Orleans (Anthony Davis), Washington (John Wall), Cleveland (Kyrie Irving) and Philadelphia (Andrew Bynum), to name a few. That’s nearly a third of the league whose appeal to its partners has been limited by injuries. Why, again, would we criticize someone for trying a proactive approach to avoid a similar fate, especially with players who have injury histories and thousands of games played on their résumés?

Gregg Popovich is a grumpy Grinch who ruined my night!

On this count, Popovich can’t be defended. Just a few weeks ago, he went off on TNT broadcaster David Aldridge for using the word “happy” during an in-game interview.

“Happy? Happy’s not a word we think about during a game,” Popovich said, as transcribed by SBNation.com. “Think of something different. I don’t know how to judge happy. We’re in the middle of a contest. Nobody’s happy.”

He’s ornery, sure. But he’s not stupid. He’s not violating the rules, at least not according to the NBA’s No. 2 man. He’s not letting anyone down, at least not when you really think about it. He’s not doing a disservice to his organization or his league. Does his decision make for a massive letdown on what should have been must-see TV? Unquestionably. He doesn’t coach for anyone besides his owner, though, and his owner is smart enough to trust the judgment of a man who has won everything there is to win in this league.

Don’t like his move? Fine, change — or clearly explain — the rules, lighten the schedule or invent bionic body parts to overcome serious injuries. Until then, let the man live.

84 comments
matob
matob

I believe Popovich was very wrong. No concern at all for people who buy tickets just to see a team play; I feel it is insulting to all fans. Business and money-making is the name of the game... not basketball. We watched Notre Dame instead.

sagasha
sagasha

Ramblin' Questions...

 

What if every last NBA team did that same thing last night?

 

Aren't you intentionally losing a game by not playing your starters.

 

What if you, the fan, pay to get to the park, pay to park, tip to park, pay for shuttle from parking, stand in line to present your ticket, grab some merch, finally find your seat and the announcer blares out tonight's lineup which doesn't include any starters only to find out later that they were given a fully paid vacation day because he didn't want to take the chance of getting them too tired by playing a game of basketball for which they are paid to do. You expended more energy getting to your seat than they would have by playing the entire game.

 

What if you're the 5th man of the starting five and Pop says, "You suck worse than they do so you stay here and earn your paycheck while they get a vacation day with full pay and no work so they don't feel too tired when we play again." I'll bet the rest of the fellas would have loved to have a paid day off and a free 1st class ride back to the airport of your choice all on the team's dime and is in addition to the money they prepaid for the four of them to return home first class with "the team" like they were scheduled to do in the first place.

 

What about the gambling aspect of this? What if you were at the hotel the night before or you were at the airport and actually saw all four of them leave town? What would you do if you had that info knowing they lost by 40 the last time they screwed the fans out of an NBA game?

 

This is bad for the NBA and it's not strategically sound because you're messing with team dynamics by favoring four players over the rest. Don't tell me it doesn't bother the rest of the "team" either because it does. Especially when it's done over time. 

PeteSauvé
PeteSauvé

What's the goal of the coach, as an employee of the franchise?

A. Win the game

B. Please the League

C. Maximize the national TV audience

D. Win the championship

 

Answer that question, and you'll likely agree with Coach Popovich's decision.  Or at least not be critical of it.

 

 

 

 

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

I don't have any problem with it. It's early in the season, those guys played a lot of games over the last several days and could get hurt in the long run and miss games that could have playoff and championship implications. Stern has no right to tell teams which players can and can't play. That is up to the TEAMS. Yes, the fans pay to see certain players play, but if that player gets hurt and has to miss substantial time during the season, how would Mr. Stern feel then forcing certain players to play? Besides, the Heat didn't win by much, if anyone was paying attention. Stern was only mad because it was a nationally-televised game and was only thinking of $$$$ and not the long-term health of his "stars." With Stern looking to punish the Spurs, what does that tell you? Although he has done some great things for the game, I won't shed any tears when he retires. 

sagasha
sagasha

C'MON... you tell me a professional athlete can't perform for 20-25 minutes a night in 10 to 25 second bursts (of which, you may go 100% a handful of times in the NBA) because he did it last night and the night before that? I call BS on that! The fans got screwed in that game and every other game Pop does this crap. Period. Who cares what the score was. It's a league of "stars" and Pop made his "stars" go home for no other reason than they were tired. Plain and simple. Why don't they just sign 76 or 72 game contracts if they're that old? That way, Pop can sit down and schedule these stunts ahead of time and the fans (anyone here remember the fans?) could respond accordingly. Please raise your hand if you're buying tickets to THAT game. I can afford one, maybe two games a season and if I had chose that one... I'd never go back.

miggykaos#
miggykaos#

I understand what you're saying Marino.eccher and completely agree with your standpoint, however, you're only speaking of one individual at a time.  Pop sat for of his STARTERS at once for no other reason that rest.  Again, I agree with you that the league should stay completely out of team matters as far as playing time, however, the NBA did schedule the Spurs and Heat in primetime to a national audience and I feel Pop had other options or dates as well as obligations to the fans on a national level to not sit 4 of his starters.  Like I said this is a tough one because he has every right to do with his lineup as he wishes and the NBA should shut up about it, however, they don't have to like when a coach sits 80% of their starters for a nationally televised game.  Pop could've sat ALL of his starters against Milwaukee or even Charlotte within this next week so I'm leaning on the side that Pop was somewhat incorrect in his decision and his obligations to fan entertainment as well as his athletes because he should be aware that he too "plays" for the fans.  I'm just throwing discussion points and ideas out there because I agree that he should be able to do what he wants LOL  Tough decisions!  Good day fellow posters

marino.eccher
marino.eccher

To the anti-Pop crowd: How much power should the league have to tell teams how to run their own rosters? Because that's the real issue here. If a talented and troubled player like DeMarcus Cousins breaks team rules and the Kings want to bench him, should Stern step in, apologize to fans and fine the Kings? If the Timberwolves want to go it slow with Ricky Rubio's return after doctors clear him, but Stern thinks he's ready now and fans deserve a show, should he able to order the team to put Rubio out there? Or what about the fans who love Derrick Williams but haven't been seeing him play because he's out of favor with the coach - should Stern order the team to play him, too?

 

What if Stern thinks a coach is hurting competitive balance by playing the wrong guys at the wrong time - or even tanking at the end of the season? If he thinks an also-ran is throwing in the towel by sitting banged-up stars, should he make the team play them? How many minutes? If he doesn't like the rotation at halftime, can he call and make them change it?

 

See the problem? If you let the commission dictate who plays and when - even one time, even a little bit - you open to the door to  a huge mess. How does the commish decide which games are important and which aren't? What if Duncan or another star has a borderline injury that he could probably play through - who decides if he's good to go? The league doesn't want to be in that game.

 

Strange Apparition
Strange Apparition

Pop made the right decision, no doubt about it. If Stern and others in positions of authority want to criticize it, they should consider shortening the season. Look how injury-plagued the entire league is. 82 games per year, plus another potential 20-25 in the playoffs is an incredible amount of wear and tear (especially in a high-paced, non-stop action game like basketball!) The NBA is more marketable and more competitive because of the long-term vision of coaches like Popovich. Well done!

miggykaos#
miggykaos#

I can see why Pop would do this but I don't know how I feel about it because I understand that sitting all at once sacrifices only one game but he could have sat them on the 5th @ home against Milwaukee and quite possibly still got a W from it.  On the flip side spreading them out over 2 or more games would accomplish the same principal and would keep the heat off him but prolongs the end result and quite possibly more losses.  Tough one!  If I were Pop I would've played them against the Heat since it's a headliner game to make the fans happy (the fans foremost) but sat them against a lesser team like Milwaukee @ home on the 5th.

BillFerguson
BillFerguson

We all got to see the best team of all time in the NBA (the Heat) play last night. They didn't sit anyone. The foils for the evening were just some chumps from a back water in Texas that by the way gave us an entertaining game until the very end. Unless you were sitting on the front row in Miami what difference does it make if the game was entertaining and your (the league's) team won?

Tom Hutcheson
Tom Hutcheson

Stern needs to keep out of game to game decision making. How manny games has he coached. I'll bet that sanctions are made by a commettee and not by Stern himself.

Pfft
Pfft

Over 90% of the respondents to this poll support Popovich, and we all know how few Spurs fans are out there.  Eat it, haters (aka cHeat and Stern fans).

KenJr
KenJr

Stern must be bored in his big office these days. If Popovich decided to rest some  players more than others, that is his choice as the head coach. Stern shouldn't have anything to say about it, and the rest of the league shouldn't either. How does he know 'Pop' was resting them? Maybe it was disciplinary(yeah, right). Coach knows what he's doing. Let him do it. Dave, go back in your office and check the color of the drapes or something.

FrankMurtaugh
FrankMurtaugh

If Popovich's decision to rest his three best players turned out to have a connection to gambling, the coach and all three players would be banned for life. Or worse. It would be seen, correctly, as a serious compromise to the integrity of NBA competition. When the same decision is made PURELY OUT OF SELF-INTEREST, how is the compromise of integrity any less? A team's chances at winning a game go only as far as the players it suits up. (The fact that the Spurs have a good supporting cast is immaterial. By every measure, they suited up an inferior team Thursday night.) Spurs should be fined whatever the gate was in Miami last night, plus the one-game salaries of the four players. And Popovich should be suspended.

 

Tough schedule? Aging roster? Cry me a river. The Spurs have dealt their own hand (and are paid handsomely to play with it).

ShankAaron
ShankAaron

Stern needs to step back. When it comes to helping out the league, Pop did his job. His stars played on the road against the Raptors, Wizards and Magic - three DOG NBA teams which only draw a crowd when an A list team comes to town. The Spurs played their stars and took home three road wins. Even in uber blase Miami - the Heat will going to draw a good crowd regardless, so give the reserves some minutes. A 5-1 road trip is quite nice, thank you.

acash626
acash626

Defense of Popovich's decision is bogus. They haven't played a quarter of the season yet. The Olympic playing defense doesn't work either. If teams are so concerned about players getting hurt in non league game; stipulate in their contracts they can't play in non league games.If he wanted to rest TD,TP,and MG he could do it on their home stand. And yes those fans who may have saved for that one game to see the best of the Heat against the best of the Spurs were short changed.Granted the game was a good one but, it's like seeing the understudy when you expect to see the star.

SteveHampton
SteveHampton

That was a lot of article for a silly story. So what, he rested his stars on the second half of a back to back. Miami fans are there to see lebron and wade, not Duncan bank shots.

sameo
sameo

It's basketball who cares. I don't watch it due to it's the lack of diversity.

Sam3
Sam3

Everything Stern does will hurt the Spurs more than anything the Spurs did last night.

WilliamBarlow
WilliamBarlow

 Congrats to writer.  A fantastic and thorough analysis. This issue will continue to be an endless

problem as long as the league continues to push players to extremes.  Of course the league would say that this many games are needed to meet the players salary demands.  Did I mention endless.

 

Only a coach with Pops cred can boldly challenge the issue in a straight forward way, and it make the league

look bad when they feel they must defend the indefensible, that is the leagues 'integrity'.

VSM7777
VSM7777

Stern is an idiot and a lame duck anyway..if he had any integrity (which he does not)...he would have allowed the Commish position to go outside his realm upon his departure...he's the only person other than perhaps the gambling community that shows any real indignation about this

mharris672
mharris672

Stern needs to shut-up and let the professionals coach and play the game (as long as there were no rule violations).  Can you believe this guy?!  He makes some announcement that the Spurs will pay dearly for not playing some of their ordinary starters!  The announcement scrolls across the TV nationwide...as the game is being played.  San Antonio played a great game at Miami, and nearly won.  Popovich looked intense throughout the entire game...you know he wanted to win!  Unbelievable!  Stern needs to resign…or be forced-out of his position for failure to promote a positive attitude and image for the NBA.

Steve19
Steve19

Maybe the NBA shouldn't schedule teams for four games in five nights and then have them play the defending NBA champs on the road the fifth night.  Whoever dreamed up that little scenario needs to have a reality check.  I know the task is difficult, but perhaps there should be some consideration to that point.  I don't blame Popovich a bit for doing this, it may well be one of the smartest things that happened during the entire NBA season.

Craig111
Craig111

There's one little argument you missed: HIS TEAM LOST THE GAME - and don't say one loss is not a big deal, because if you're conceding that a loss is OK, it sorta undermines the validity of caring about the NBA regular season at all, doesn't it?  Boosh.

jhymas25
jhymas25

The coach and players of any team should be focused on winning a championship. They should not be focused on entertainment value. Just because as fans we pay money to be entertained by these players does not mean their job is to entertain us. That would merely turn the NBA into Harlem Globetrotter style basketball. The game is meant to be played to win championships, the entertainment comes out of this competition. Good for Popovich for coaching his team the way that he believes will give him the best shot to win that trophy. If Stern does institute some sort of sanctions I will be extremely disappointed.

jazzsamba
jazzsamba

 @sagasha Your logic is obviously for fools. A so called fan who thinks the game is played because he's watching it. The center of attraction who can demand who will and will not play.

 

Not only are all your points wrong but to include the gambling aspect to judge a coach's decision to rest his players tops it all. So now Vegas rules the NBA?

 

Your notion that the rest of the team is bothered by this is so dumb. Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, Nando de Colo and Bonner commented after the game that not only did they almost beat the world champs on their court but that they were given the great opportunity to play big minutes in that great system and show how deserving they were.

 

''Aren't you intentionally losing a game for not having your starters?' Answer: No. They should've beaten the Heat that night had Ray Allen not made that 3 pointer.

 

'What if other NBA teams did the same thing last night?' They can't because they don't have the deep roster the Spurs have along with the best pro basketball system in the NBA. Teams like OKC, Memphis, Clippers can. Not many others can. Get it?

 

Stop acting like a small spoiled fan who doesn't even go to games and thinks the basketball world is centered on him.

 

Your sense of logic shows here. Uneducated and dumb.

ThadN
ThadN

 @sagasha Q4 is a funny one!  For example, I would not have lumped Danny Green in with those elite players.  5th man must be really pissed.  What if Danny Green was the middle finger at Stern?  LOL I hope 

ThadN
ThadN

 @sagasha No way.  Injuries are random.  You don't mess with fate like that if you know you will lose AND you have a shot at setting up something much better for everyone (thus differentiating it from lottery teams sand bagging, although I don't recall any instances of that garnering fines either!)  

marino.eccher
marino.eccher

 @miggykaos# I agree he handled it badly. And it's totally fine to be miffed at Pop on this one. If nothing else, why not just sit them on the bench? I just want the league to stay out of it because it'd be such a train wreck to sort out.

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

 @marino.eccher That's the thing. Stern has no business telling teams what to do with their players. He may be the commissioner, but he's not the coach of all the teams. He has to think of the players' health long-term. He's just mad because it was a nationally-televised game and was more concerned about $$$$$. 

jazzsamba
jazzsamba

 @BillFerguson Best team of all time? Wrong. They didn't sit anyone because they can't afford to. You sit Lebron and your team is barely average. Chumps? They should've beaten your team in your house if Ray Allen hadn't bailed you out. Miami fans didn't go out there to see the Spurs starters. They were there to see and be seen and bite their nails praying they were not going to get beat by the third team of the Spurs. Had Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson not been injured this would've been an easy win. So much for your best team all time. Fool.

jazzsamba
jazzsamba

 @FrankMurtaugh What hole did you come out of Frank? You're really reaching and searching foe conspiracies theories to defend that little man who calls himself the commish. Suited up an inferior team? They should've won that game in their house. Define what an inferior team is Frank. Self interest? It's your self interest as a small fan who doesn't go to games who wants to cry me a river for not seeing his superstars play. Waaah!!

jhymas25
jhymas25

 @FrankMurtaugh Suiting up an inferior team is punishable now. Damn my Kings are screwed.

As far as the gambling comment. The gambling connection and not the decision to rest the players would be seen as the compromise of integrity. Once that gambling connection is removed, there is no longer any compromise of integrity. Also the decision was made in the interest of the team not self-interest.

Tome
Tome

 @FrankMurtaugh

 Since Greg Popovich probably has more integrity than anyone in the NBA, including the NBA front office, your hypothesis--connection to gambling--is both absurd and irritating. Another, more likely possibility would be that Pop heard Elvis was in San Antonio and sent them to check it out. More credible than your silly attempt at slander. 

 

Facts: 4 road games in 5 days--the first one being a double overtime where Duncan and Parker played over 40 minutes--as part of a 10-day road trip, and the Spurs had been on the road for 18 of 23 days.

Here's the real driver: they play the Memphis Grizzlies at home tomorrow. Their real competitor for the West this year.

 

Popovich has the smarts to think strategically, the courage to care more for his players than TV ratings for the league, and the integrity to do the right thing for his team, even when he knows he'll take heat for it. There's a reason Pop is the longest serving coach in the NBA and all of pro sports, has won 4 NBA championships, and took Miami to the final minute. "Compromise the integrity of NBA competition ?" The Spurs competed--with great integrity--against the Heat for an entire game, if you bothered to watch.

SteveHampton
SteveHampton

 @FrankMurtaugh Please, this is called roster management. Would you pitch Roy Holiday in a back to back on the tail end of a road trip? Doubt it. The self interest in this case is preserving the health of your team for the longevity of the season as opposed to proving a point against the Heat. 

Would it make you feel better if Pop just paraded them out there for the first 5 minutes of the game and then sat them the rest of the game? Because if Stern fines him and warns him, that's exactly what he's going to do in the future.

Pfft
Pfft

 @acash626 90% of the people who have taken the poll on this page disagree with you.

SteveHampton
SteveHampton

 @sameo Diversity? You mean like, "So a black guy, a Frenchmen, and an Argentinean walk into bar. Stop me if you've heard this one."

Richard17
Richard17

 @Sam3 I think everything Stern does will hurt the NBA more than anything the Spurs did last night.

Sam3
Sam3

 @Craig111 Are we really complaining about a team possibly not making the playoffs in basketball?  It is, by far, the easiest sport to make the playoffs in.  You don't even have to be GOOD to make the playoffs in basketball.  The sheer fact that the playoffs were even in the discussion for the Spurs before this game means, barring a complete and utter collapse, the Spurs will make the playoffs.

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

 @Craig111 You're a small picture kind of guy.  That's okay though, the world needs people with narrow minds as well.  

jhymas25
jhymas25

 @Craig111 One loss would be a big deal if he misses the playoffs. However it will ultimately not matter as they will make the playoffs and be judged on how well they do then, not on this game.

 

Also Popovich believes (whether right or wrong) that his team has a better chance of winning against Memphis and for the rest of the season by resting these guys. So he is still playing for the regular season record.

gtylerbryant
gtylerbryant

 @Craig111 Think about this for a second. No one's arguing a loss is not a big deal. But a loss versus a potential injury to Duncan/GInobli--resulting in multiple future losses--- is a wise decision. Pop is smarter than you. Don't try and win this intellectually. Just be pissed. That's OK. 

sagasha
sagasha

 @jazzsamba Let's take your message apart and see who is being dumb...

 

You said...

"Your logic is obviously for fools. A so called fan who thinks the game is played because he's watching it. The center of attraction who can demand who will and will not play."

 

Retort...

Logically, the NBA would not exist if it weren't for the so called fans. That's an easy one even you should have picked up on. Also, please point out where I demanded who played and who sat. 

P.S. I believe you meant center of attention and not "center of attraction" although being the center of attraction doesn't sound all too bad, does it? Strike that and reverse it.

 

You said...

"Not only are all your points wrong but to include the gambling aspect to judge a coach's decision to rest his players tops it all. So now Vegas rules the NBA?"

 

Retort...

The only POINT I made is that "the so called fan" expends more energy getting to their seats than one of the four who were sent home would have spent had they stayed and played 20 minutes of NBA basketball. I merely asked QUESTIONS with the exception of my closing statement which is just my humble opinion. I open up the gambling aspect not to judge a coach or their decision but to gain insight or knowledge. Granted the door was opened by the coach but you can't fault me for looking inside. Besides, you're the one who is making the inference to "Vegas ruling the NBA" (which it probably does BTW but you didn't hear that from me wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) I simply asked what would you do if you knew? which is a very logical question that didn't get a lot of press. If you don't think the gambling question should be on the table maybe you're a small spoiled fan? Just sayin'.

 

You said...

"Your notion that the rest of the team is bothered by this is so dumb. Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, Nando de Colo and Bonner commented after the game that not only did they almost beat the world champs on their court but that they were given the great opportunity to play big minutes in that great system and show how deserving they were."

 

Retort...

First of all, please list your source(s) regarding the player's comments to strengthen your position. A quick Google search brings up nothing about those particular player's comments after the game. Since when does a grown man want to show how "deserving they were."? Besides, coaches hammer TEAM into your head from day one in PeeWee sports and everyone who's played a minute of organized sport knows this. It's contrary to everything they've been taught. Your logic is flawed here.

 

You said...

''Aren't you intentionally losing a game for not having your starters?' Answer: No. They should've beaten the Heat that night had Ray Allen not made that 3 pointer."

 

Retort...

Are you responding to a POINT here or merely answering an illogical question? I'll assume the latter since you typed your response in the form of a Q&A. Could you possibly (Heaven forbid) be wrong (GASP!) and not realize that the Heat were on cruise control the entire game? Was this because they knew they could turn it on and off against the San Antonio Scrubs? Only the Shadow knows for sure. (See??? Isn't this fun! I ask QUESTIONS and you type ANSWERS!)

 

You said...

"'What if other NBA teams did the same thing last night?' They can't because they don't have the deep roster the Spurs have along with the best pro basketball system in the NBA. Teams like OKC, Memphis, Clippers can. Not many others can. Get it?"

 

Retort...

Again with the Q&A format. You're really picking up on this! OK, so who's being completely illogical and telling the coaches in the NBA how to coach now? I didn't ask who SHOULD use this strategy I asked WHAT IF everyone used this strategy. Every NBA team in the league has 5 players that start the game if I'm correct. That means that on any given night any and every team COULD send their starters on paid vacation if they felt so inclined. That doesn't make it right or wrong but that's beside the point because that's not what I asked. 

 

You said...

"Stop acting like a small spoiled fan who doesn't even go to games and thinks the basketball world is centered on him. Your sense of logic shows here. Uneducated and dumb."

 

Retort...

A "small spoiled fan who doesn't even go to games."? What does that even mean? Does height suddenly have something to do with the questions that were raised? Are you speaking metaphorically? If so, does that mean that small minded people can't be REAL NBA FANS like yourself? Since you actually answered two of my questions (albeit illogically and incorrectly but not necessarily in that order), does this also put you in my uneducated and dumb category just by participating? Why should I stop acting a certain way? So I can grow up and be just like you? No thanks. I know the difference between a question and an opinion and I think I'll keep that one. 

 

 

 

 

ThadN
ThadN

 @sagasha Sorry to append again but if Pop's decision did throw a stick in the wheel of industry, than wouldn't he also feel the loss of funds?  I.e. he would already be punished by a few fewer dollars in sales or ads or whatever--a punishment he probably weighed and accepted.  

 

I think ur idea of shorter contracts for older players is an excellent one!  And scheduling is never on the backs of the teams--shame on Stern for scheduling a game like that.  He prob did it so LBJ and company can run train on the exhausted Spurs for a national audience.  

mharris672
mharris672

 @Pfft  @acash626 Exactly!  and probably 90% of the Nation disagrees with Stern (moron).  I've read this has happened before with no penalty (whether the game was televised or not - - irrelevant).  It's a coach's decision regarding their Team, as long as no rules were violated.  Now, what is to be done to Stern (and/or committe) for their negligence?  Hmmm...

djp9
djp9

 @jhymas25  @Craig111 First when is the last time the Spurs missed the playoffs? REALLY!!! You completely missed the whole part about how they won the first 5 games of a 6 game road trip within 10 days? You ever thing that Pop has more faith in his reserves than you do? His RESERVES would probably make the playoffs on their own. You want to complain about throwing games? Start picketing at every Wizards game, much more poignant. It had LESS to do with who they were playing than HOW they had been playing and HOW OFTEN. 

Stern is a hypocrite. He talks about protecting the NBA from gambling yet everything he does is designed with the gamblers in mind.