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.
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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 4, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT
Bargain for Toronto — as long as the Raptors aren’t expecting any offense.
Jul 4, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
The LaMarcus Aldridge Effect
Jul 4, 2015, 12:21 PM EDT
Biggest name left in free agency will make San Antonio a powerhouse.
Jul 4, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT
Cuban believes Jordan can average 20 points, 20 rebounds per game.
Jul 4, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT
Fits with West’s desire to play for a contender, but he’d have to take very little money to sign there.
Jul 4, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
The Clippers went small the final five minutes of Game 7 against the Spurs, and it worked.
Jul 4, 2015, 12:33 AM EDT
At this price, it’s a fair pickup for New Yor, giving hem another role player.
Jul 3, 2015, 11:03 PM EDT
Hopefully Scott Skiles will play Harris this time.
Jul 3, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT
Curry is just that good.
Jul 3, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT
A big reason Jordan left L.A. to sign with the Mavericks.
Jul 3, 2015, 7:37 PM EDT
Beverley’s defense provides a perfect complement to James Harden.
Jul 3, 2015, 7:34 PM EDT
Rondo is not exactly going to space the floor for Cousins.
Jul 3, 2015, 7:10 PM EDT
They would make solid backups at a fair price.
Jul 3, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT
He is a good fit in the Rockets’ up-tempo system.
Jul 3, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT
She’s a San Antonio assistant coach
Jul 3, 2015, 4:31 PM EDT
Key for the Wizards is this is a one-year deal, so they save their cap space for a Kevin Durant offer next summer.
Jul 3, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT
This is a huge blow to the Clippers roster.
Jul 3, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT
This was expected, now the Knicks move forward with Robin Lopez.
Jul 3, 2015, 2:52 PM EDT
Solid deal in a vacuum, but in Sacramento…
Report: Knicks to sign Robin Lopez to four-year, $54 million contract (unless DeAndre Jordan changes his mind)
Jul 3, 2015, 1:58 PM EDT
More evidence Jordan won’t pick Knicks
- LaMarcus Aldridge has chosen to sign with Spurs 65
- Who should Clippers get to replace DeAndre Jordan? How about Blake Griffin. 42
- Report: Tobias Harris reaches four-year, $64 million extension to stay with Orlando 25
- Report: Rajon Rondo agrees to one-year, $9.5 million deal with Sacramento Kings 47
- Report: DeAndre Jordan agrees to four-year, $80 million deal to join Dallas Mavericks 56
- Report: Kings signing Marco Belinelli to three-year, $19 million contract 19
- Report: Knicks to sign Robin Lopez to four-year, $54 million contract (unless DeAndre Jordan changes his mind) 12
- PBT Extra: Free agent signings we didn’t love 6