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.
Oct 20, 2014, 12:26 AM EDT
Kobe Bryant reaches, Alec Burks teaches.
Oct 19, 2014, 11:37 PM EDT
Taj Gibson knows how to finish.
Oct 19, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Tom Thibodeau is not the yoga type.
Oct 19, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will take the floor together for the first time since the preseason opener.
Oct 19, 2014, 7:01 PM EDT
Experimental preseason game between Nets and Celtics took place Sunday.
Oct 19, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
Things feel a little different in Miami.
Oct 19, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
Parker wants the league to spread out the regular season over more weeks.
Oct 19, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT
Hollins won’t adjust starters minutes as he coaches the Nets during the experimental game Sunday.
Oct 19, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
“Akron” celebrates James’ homecoming.
Oct 19, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
The Knicks star says the biggest issue for players is the amount of consecutive games they play.
Kawhi Leonard to miss remainder of preseason due to infection, availability for opening night in question
Oct 19, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Popovich had legitimate reasons for holding him out.
Oct 19, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Oct 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Anthony should have more help than in the recent past, but he’ll need to score plenty in order for his team to have a shot.
Oct 18, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
Olajuwon is employed by the Rockets, and has been working with Howard the last two summers.
Spurs’ Gregg Popovich fires back at Suns owner’s apology: ‘I’m just surprised he didn’t do it in a chicken suit’
Oct 18, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT
Popovich goes deep, referencing an incident that occurred back in 2005.
Oct 18, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
Parker is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors.
Oct 18, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
Bryant can still get up.
Oct 18, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
Celtics have too many guaranteed contracts, and are already set at Bynum’s position.
NBA announces groundbreaking partnership to implement basketball development curriculum in Chinese schools
Oct 18, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT
Huge step in increasing the game’s popularity on a global scale.
Oct 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Of course that’s not going to happen.
- NBA’s 44-minute game clocks in at under two hours, players barely notice 0
- Nets coach Hollins on 44-minute game: ‘The change will be for the guys who don’t start’ 9
- Spurs’ Gregg Popovich fires back at Suns owner’s apology: ‘I’m just surprised he didn’t do it in a chicken suit’ 6
- Blake Griffin goes after Trevor Booker following flagrant foul, says he may retaliate in the future (VIDEO) 30
- Suns coach Hornacek says shortening games won’t help teams rest their stars 2
- Lakers coach Byron Scott’s philosophy on three-pointers: ‘I don’t believe it wins championships’ 33
- Accounting for Klay Thompson choosing a contract extension over new-TV-deal money 2
- Kobe Bryant calls ESPN voters who ranked him No. 40 ‘idiots’ 34