The San Antonio Spurs are basically locked into their playoff spot with ten games left to go in the season. It’s mathematically still possible for them to get the one seed out West, but it doesn’t seem likely they will be able to gain four games from a Warriors team going for the all-time best record. On the other hand, they are far enough ahead of Oklahoma City that they aren’t in any danger of dropping to the three line. The Spurs, then, are almost just waiting out the rest of the regular season to see which unfortunate foe “earns” the right to play them in the first round.
Considering that, it’s not entirely unsurprising that Gregg Popovich is giving his players some rest in their final regular season games. After all, Popovich has been known to rest his veterans even in games that do matter in the standings, so why wouldn’t he do it now? Still, I can’t imagine the NBA was entirely thrilled when they saw just how many top Spurs players would be sitting out a marquee regular season matchup – that’s nationally televised, mind you – between the San Antonio and the Thunder on Saturday night.
Hope you’re ready for a solid dose of Jonathan Simmons, Kyle Anderson, and Andre Miller, NBA fans.
Kawhi Leonard sitting out seems reasonable enough since he had to miss Friday’s game against Memphis as well because of his quad contusion, but Popovich resting the starry quartet of other players is probably going to draw at least the ire of the league officials. David Stern, remember, once fined Popovich big time for doing something similar in 2012 in a game between San Antonio and Miami.
That ruling was controversial, and Adam Silver isn’t David Stern, so I don’t think Popovich will be out a quarter-million this time. A phone call from the league office and a scolding, though? That seems entirely possible.