Apr 2, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT
There’s nothing wrong with trying to secure a No. 1 seed. The top seed gets homecourt advantage through at least the conference playoffs, and that’s, um, an advantage.
But going for the No. 1 seed can take a toll, increasing pressure and exhausting a team through a long season. See Pacers, Indiana.
Gregg Popovich has a clear opinion on which approach is better.
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $70,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $9,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Wednesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Remarkably, the Spurs have more No. 1 seeds in the last 15 years than any other team, anyway.
San Antonio as No. 1 seed in last 15 years:
- 2011-12: Went 50-16, lost to Oklahoma City Thunder in conference finals
- 2010-11: Went 61-21, lost to Memphis Grizzlies in first round
- 2005-06: Went 63-19, lost to Dallas Mavericks in second round
- 2002-03: Went 60-22, won NBA championship
- 2000-01: Went 58-24, lost to Los Angels Lakers in conference finals
- 1998-99: Went 37-13, won NBA championship
The Spurs, who lead the second-place Thunder by 3.5 games, are on the verge of receiving yet another No. 1 seed.
Quite the feat. And it’s even more remarkable if you believe Popovich – and I do.
People sometimes underplay their motivations, making their accomplishments seem accidental – adding a level of humblebrag to increase the noteworthiness.
Claiming six No. 1 seeds in 15 years is impressive no matter what. Doing it when you’re not trying to is better. That make it sound as if you can’t help but win so much. Imagine what the Spurs could do if they were trying.
You can see why Popovich would embellish to draw more credit.
But all other evidence supports his claims. He famously rests his top players frequently, both limiting their minutes per game and even total games. And as Kurt recently wrote, “Gregg Popovich has reached the ‘I don’t care what people think’ phase of his career… actually that might have started Day 3 of his tenure in San Antonio, but the coach is taking it to new levels lately.”
This is the real deal.
The Spurs have the NBA’s best record despite not setting out to get it. As other teams give maximum effort to win as many regular-season games as possible, the Spurs don’t worry about that.
Just imagine what happens when they start trying in the playoffs.
Jul 30, 2015, 12:55 AM EDT
The Rockets have nice depth up front.
Jul 29, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT
The Pelicans were one of the slowest paced teams in the NBA last season, that’s about to change.
Jul 29, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT
“I think someone who would watch this would think there is something wrong with me and something wrong with my friends.” — Chris Kaman
Jul 29, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT
Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are about to be finishing alley-oops from the best lob passer in the game.
Jul 29, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT
Manu Ginobili is a stud.
Jul 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT
Kerr says Luke Walton is a future head coach in the NBA.
Jul 29, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT
Toronto has shifted the roster to be more defensive, and be able to go smaller.
Jul 29, 2015, 5:21 PM EDT
Jimmy Kimmell is the best part.
Jul 29, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT
Rex Kalamian and Andy Greer also join Dwane Casey’s staff
Jul 29, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT
Enter Andrei Kirilenko to save the day?
Jul 29, 2015, 2:48 PM EDT
Will anyone claim him?
Jul 29, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT
Cavaliers star has avoided making a public decision
Jul 29, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT
If Brazil qualifies through FIBA Americas Championship, that could close door for another North/South American team from qualifying
Jul 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
Lakers were in a bad place when Jackson first stepped away
Jul 29, 2015, 11:11 AM EDT
Brooklyn owner praises Adam Silver for filling in
Jul 29, 2015, 10:13 AM EDT
Cavaliers star also addresses his favorites – including place to play, rapper, and teammates
Jul 29, 2015, 9:26 AM EDT
He’ll likely compete with Aaron Harrison to make regular-season roster
Jul 29, 2015, 8:31 AM EDT
Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith head the list.
Jul 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Bounce passes are less effective in baseball.
Jul 29, 2015, 12:05 AM EDT
Cuban said presidential candidate is ‘probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time’
- Report: Veteran point guard Andre Miller reaches one-year deal with Timberwolves 7
- Who is still out there: Top 10 free agents still on the market 8
- Donald Trump says he’s becoming a Mavericks fan after Mark Cuban’s comments 42
- Report: Michael Jordan shot down Boston draft-day effort to get Charlotte No. 9 pick 30
- Wisconsin State Assembly passes Bucks arena deal, clearing the way for Gov. Walker to sign 40
- Phil Jackson says Knicks wanted Goran Dragic at trade deadline. Because he’s such a triangle fit? 16
- Report: Cavaliers sign Matthew Dellavedova 10
- Heat trade Zoran Dragic, second-rounder to Celtics 11