Rest For The Wicked
Should a team be fined 250,000$ by the Commissioner of the NBA for “tactics” that they have been using for years? Well that is exactly what happened when the San Antonio Spurs decided to rest 4 of their top players for a regular season game against the Miami Heat. Just prior to the game scheduled on November 29th 2012, the Spurs and head coach Gregg Popovich decided to send Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green home to rest from their 5 game road trip. The move obviously caused waves within the league office, prompting Commissioner Stern to release the following statement…” In the case of San Antonio, they didn’t just come into town and rest healthy players, they sent a 26-year-old and a 30-year-old, plus Manu and Tim home virtually under cover of darkness … and without notifying as our rules require for injury and illness.” Of course I understand completely where the Commissioner is coming from on this issue… In what was San Antonio’s only regular season appearance in Miami this season, followed up with the fact that it was a nationally broadcast game, I can see why Commissioner Stern would have an issue with this affecting the on court product. Although fans may have missed out on seeing some of the Spurs greats…. they still were able to see a great game. In a 100-105 loss, the San Antonio backups pushed the Heat starters up until the very end of the game… which begs the question, Do the Spurs really deserve to be punished? I feel San Antonio shouldn’t be punished for doing something that I think helps the NBA’s product in the long run. By the Spurs and Greg Popovich using these tactics, they are both ensuring their players stay healthy and rested for the playoffs as well as giving them the ability to evaluate bench players to improve future rosters… It also provides an opportunity to find effective rotations in case of possible injuries. I think Spurs fans (or any teams fans) would rather have their star(s) at their best for the playoffs… the latest example being Derrick Rose last year in the postseason. Granted Rose was lost during the playoffs, he played injured throughout the season and it could have been a contributing factor to his serious injury…. Never the less, the loss of Rose in my opinion devastated the “watchability” of the 76ers vs Bulls series. All in all I understand Commissioner Stern’s disapproval of how the Spurs went about resting their players, but in the Spurs defense Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili won’t be around forever so why should the league decide when a team looks to the bench for future prospects?