Apr 2, 2014, 11:46 AM EST
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.
Mar 4, 2015, 7:09 PM EST
He missed five games with a strained shoulder.
Mar 4, 2015, 6:14 PM EST
Don’t be shocked if the final price tag is close to $1 billion. Yes, for the Hawks.
Mar 4, 2015, 5:15 PM EST
Except you don’t really want a strong point guard in Phil Jackson’s triangle.
Mar 4, 2015, 4:30 PM EST
Some guys turn things around, bu Hairston has a lot of work to do.
Mar 4, 2015, 3:45 PM EST
Singing is awful, but the dancing is fantastic.
Mar 4, 2015, 2:58 PM EST
Allen isn’t officially retiring just yet, says he’ll reassess things in advance of next season.
Mar 4, 2015, 2:15 PM EST
Davis has missed the last six games with a shoulder injury.
Mar 4, 2015, 1:28 PM EST
He should put up numbers against the Sixers. Then again he puts up numbers on everyone.
Joakim Noah says non-violence video he put out helped him maintain composure after flagrant foul from Wizards’ Nene
Mar 4, 2015, 12:45 PM EST
Nene whacked Noah in the face, but Noah didn’t respond.
Mar 4, 2015, 12:00 PM EST
Chemistry issues in Memphis?
Mar 4, 2015, 11:20 AM EST
League is releasing officiating reports for all calls made in a close game’s final two minutes, and the results are fascinating.
Mar 4, 2015, 10:40 AM EST
Nifty but necessary move by LeBron to earn the easy two points.
Mar 4, 2015, 10:00 AM EST
Suns in another unnecessary disagreement with a former player.
Mar 4, 2015, 9:20 AM EST
Knicks starting five combined for just 24 points, and New York trailed by as many as 44 before this one was finished.
Mar 4, 2015, 8:40 AM EST
Jazz are 5-1 in their last six games since Gobert was inserted into the starting lineup.
Mar 4, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
James passed Ray Allen to achieve his latest milestone.
Mar 4, 2015, 2:55 AM EST
Denver wins for its new coach.
Mar 4, 2015, 1:55 AM EST
Hawks fans booed Smith every time he touched the ball.
Mar 4, 2015, 12:15 AM EST
Tony Snell is not THAT good at getting open
Mar 3, 2015, 11:33 PM EST
Smith can’t stop shooting 3s, though, and you know how that ends
- George Karl: Knicks could use a strong point guard next to Carmelo Anthony 2
- Ray Allen announces he will not play this season 9
- Pelicans’ Anthony Davis a gametime decision Wednesday vs. Pistons 1
- Derek Fisher questions ‘character and integrity’ of players after Knicks lose to Kings by 38 points 28
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: The Hawks clinched playoff spot in front of Josh Smith 6
- Nuggets need to decide direction, then hire coach 18
- Report: Russell Westbrook ‘likely’ to return to Thunder lineup Wednesday, will wear protective mask 13
- Nuggets have fired head coach Brian Shaw 29