Popovich: I've been resting guys for 20 years
Despite resting Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan on occasion, the Spurs have remained successful, and coaches such as Doc Rivers have picked up on the effectiveness of giving older veterans regular-season rest.
Now, such ploys have their disadvantages. When Popovich sent three starters home instead of playing in a nationally televised showdown against the Miami Heat, the organization was fined $250,000 for his decision.
When asked if he considers himself a trail blazer for better preparing his team for the postseason by resting players during the regular season, Popovich said, “You don’t want to be fined $250,000 too often, so that’s not a good trend, obviously. But we’ve been resting guys for 20 years since I’ve been here. I think it extends their careers. It’s logical that when you’re playing four games in five nights or eight games in 12 nights or some crazy thing, and your guys are getting older, you do what makes sense.”
“We’ve been fortunate enough to have a core for quite a while, so that continuity has been great,” Popovich said. “We’ve sort of put the pieces around it for the last 15, 16 years. But Tim Duncan has allowed us to do that. Without him, I’d be coaching the JVs at Pomona [College] or something.” “Pop and [general manager] R.C. [Buford] are doing a great job of putting teams together,” Duncan said. “They keep our core together and that’s a huge help. We continue to do well in the draft with our late picks and continue to build around a system that is in place to play the way we want to play. We’re able to execute and understand the discipline it takes year in and year out.”
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