Gregg Popovich has done this before, but this time it got the attention of the media and more importantly the commissioner of the NBA. Coach Pop sent the San Antonio Spurs' Big 3 stars in Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan home along with starting guard/forward Danny Green before the Spurs faced the Miami Heat on their homecourt. There's been some praise for this move and also complaints. Spurs fans agree with their coach, he was sending his players home to rest after two sets of back to backs. The other side disagrees because they say the fans lost out on this and they're the reason why the team's are as successful as they are.
I fully agree with the decision Coach Pop made for this game. His team has endured a long away schedule so far and has to keep the best interest of his owner and of his team first. This was No. 11 in San Antonio's road game while it was Miami's 14th overall game in the season. This had to be one of the main reasons why Danny Green sat out as he's clearly been fatigued during the most recent games,e specially since he's had to score and was burdened with Kawhi Leonard's job of defending the other team's best player. Also keep in mind from the picture shown in this article that it's been the Spurs' 6th road game in nine days while the Heat have been off since Saturday.
It's not just that they were road games but also factor in where the games were. The Spurs traveled to Toronto then to Washington then to Orlando and finally to Miami. While the final two games were in the same state, it's still not an easy schedule for a team that's been short handed with injuries to their only true small forwards. The Spurs were burdened with four games in a week while the Heat played five games in two weeks. That's a lot of wear and tear for an older team. It's true the Heat have their own health problems, but they've needed their Big 3 to play to win. As we saw during the game, the Spurs are deep enough to give any team trouble and the bench gave Miami a run for their money. This game was probably better and more competitive than if the rested players actually played! That's my defense for the Pop decision.
What if Pop was wrong? Is he actually in the wrong for making the decision? If you see the comparisons of schedules between the two games, why is Pop the one to be blamed? The man was looking out for the well being of his team. A lot of NBA writers and bloggers have said that he's wrong because the fans were disappointed and robbed of an experience. They say that it's the fans that make the team and league what it is. I'll agree with that...to an extent. The NBA fans do provide and fund the league and they also make it what it is. The question to that is: what fans did Popovich rob? Was it Spurs fans who didn't have their favorites play? No.
In fact (even if they disagree with it), they understand why he did it. They understand that the team is looking forward to the playoffs, not to the regular season. You get to the playoffs and have a chance for a title if players have enough juice to keep playing at a high level. Pop didn't rob Spurs fans, but Heat fans. Does Pop owe Heat fans anything? No he doesn't. He doesn't try to win or coach the team the Heat fans cheer for (or any other team for that matter). To say Pop robbed the fans that have built his team isn't correct. If there's anyone to blame in this overblown controversy, it's the league and commissioner who now suddenly cares about the fans. The NBA makes the schedule and the league knew the Spurs were going on a ridiculous road schedule that ended in a nationally televised game. They also knew Pop's tendencies, even if they didn't think he'd actually do them.
Where was this concern by Stern when the lockout was happening? Why didn't he speak up about the congested schedule that made the games unattractive to watch fans? If he truly cared about the fans, why doesn't he speak out against high ticket prices when the league makes billions and billions in revenue?
The only reason Stern is upset is because Pop embarrassed him and exposed the disadvantage his team had. Stern is all about money, we know that from the lockout fiasco. Pop was justified by his actions. The only reason Stern is upset is because someone one upped him at his own game. The defending NBA champions and the MVP of the league playing against a tired squad with an old core? That would've been an interesting debate on networks and on the internet. If the Big 3 actually played for the Spurs, the Heat would've probably won by a large margin since they've left it all on the court during this road trip, but Pop knew better. In fact, Pop won this game because his second and third stringers gave the champs a scare and gained confidence from this game while the defending champs barely escaped while having their best players play way too many minutes (Lebron James: 39 minutes, Dwayne Wade: 32 minutes, Chris Bosh: 36 minutes).
Even if the Spurs get fined and his team lost, Pop gained a lot more with this gain than the Spurs will lose in any punishment by the league by showing what the league expected his team to go through unfairly.
Bravo POP, muy buena decisión.- Los jugadores que reemplazaron a los maestros .hicieron tremendo papel, estos chicos a mi criterio de abogado argentino podrían demandar judicialmnete a quien injustamente los estan atacando por daño moral, desvalorizando su perfecto trabajo, que termino con una mínima diferencia en el score.-Vamos Pop Vamos Spurs!!!!
Don’t make sense when there is no particular rule on this and you get suddenly penalize? If its coach decision not to play his star players and give them day offs then why sanction the team? Why not make a rule to all the teams coming from commissioner office a list of games televised that the team must have a complete attendance. (Including injured player that needs to play, hehehe!) This will then give a guideline to the team owners and coaches and not like this that makes the coaches re-think of their decision for the welfare of his teams. What’s next? Get penalize for benching your star player? What they are doing right now sounds to me more like a power trip. If the commissioner did not like what a coach did to his team and it did not please the fans then they will just penalize the team. There should always be a definite guideline to everything, make a rule first before you sanction or penalize a team. You don’t give them freedom and then suddenly punish them because it doesn't please you. Where’s the democracy there? Then I suggest changing the title of commissioner to a King as what King Stern is acting right now.
Don’t make sense when there is no particular rule on this and you get suddenly sanction? If its coach decision not to play his star players and give them day offs then why sanction the team? Why not make a rule to all the teams coming from commissioner office a list of games televised that the team must have a complete attendance. (Including injured player that needs to play, hehehe!) This will then give a guideline to the team owners and coaches and not like this that makes the coaches re-think of their decision for the welfare of his teams. What’s next? Get penalize for benching your star player? What they are doing right now sounds to me more like a power trip. If the commissioner did not like what a coach did to his team and it did not please the fans then they will just penalize you. There should always be a definite guideline to everything, make a rule first before you sanction or penalize a team. You don’t give them freedom and then suddenly punish them because it doesn't please you. Where’s the democracy there? Then I suggest changing the title of commissioner to a King as what King Stern is acting right now.
Spurs had a winless team, and a lesser team. Sit the "big 3" then, they would of had 3 days rest, to paly the Heat game. Come on Pop. You Should be fined
The Spurs had a winless team and a lesser team, sit the "big 3" then, they would of had 3 days rest to play the Heat game, Pop
I believe you are correct on why Stern is upset about this. If Pop had said something like Tony and Danny have flu like symptoms, Manu's back was sore and Tim's knee was bothering him, the commish wouldn't have cared at all. But because Pop said they needed rest because they have been playing a lot of minutes and he didn't want them to get injured because of fatigue, it made the commish and his Ivory Tower boys look bad because it implies the schedule is flawed and caused this. And we all know what happens when someone makes a negative comment about the officiating...no matter how horrible it may be, one of Stern's highest commandments is Thou shall not dis the refs.
Stern has shown he is not concerned about the fans (two lockouts, no effort to fix officiating, marketing strategy), the only reason he got his panties in a bunch over this is because it made him look bad, whether directly or indirectly, intended or not, it made him look bad, so now he is upset and puffing up his chest.
Listening and reading comments through the night, I thought the funniest comments centered around how the fans were robbed because they paid hard earned money to go to the game and they didn't get their value last night and responses came back that it happens all the time in the end of the season and in preseason. The response to that was "it's expected then". Funny, how now the NBA fan is being robbed of the value of their ticket in this game, but not in the preseason of the end of the season. The league doesn't lower ticket prices at those times of the season to account for the lack of stars in those games...why aren't the fans being apologized to, or completely upset about that?
If there was a problem with it last night, there should be a problem with it at the end of the season and in the preseason, or the NBA needs to act one the admission it made last night and charge less for tickets in the preseason and late season games because they are not putting their best product out there....
Just my two cents on it...