48MoH 3-on-3: Coach Pop sends his guys home
It’s the hot topic of the night, Coach Pop deciding to send Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green back to San Antonio. We’ll hear plenty about this over the next day and a half, but we invited our friend Beckley Mason of HoopSpeak to throw out some opinions on what goes for controversy in Spurs land.
1. Your thoughts on Pop sending Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green home?
Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak: It’s fully defensible from a #BasketballReasons standpoint, but make no mistake: it’s not cool to shortchange the national broadcaster. TNT is a huge revenue source for the NBA, and the league’s ability to showcase its top talent (you know, the stars the drive viewership) is an important part of the NBA’s argument for a better TV contract in 2015. All that said, obviously Pop wants to maintain that top talent for the maximum amount of games, which also benefits fans.
Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes of Hell: It dampened my excitement for the game, but Pop is making decisions with an eye towards the postseason, and I appreciate that. His first concern is the long-term success of the team, as it should be.
Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: I’m okay with it. It’s a long season and the Spurs have had a touch schedule over the last month or so. With one player (Kawhi Leonard) already suffering from an overuse injury, I can’t blame the guy for worrying about his older players and another in Danny Green who’s played some heavy minutes.
2. Fact or fiction: Gregg Popovich owes it to the fans to play his players when they’re healthy.
Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak: Fiction. He owes it to the company. The NBA is not a democracy or a dictatorship, it’s a corporation. We think of it as separate teams that are in competition, but the latest CBA scuffle affirmed the interconnectedness of the whole operation. That said, this public embarrassment for the NBA is a form of civil disobedience, as Adam Silver said last year, it’s within his powers as coach. Hopefully the result will be a more sensible schedule that coordinates national games with team schedules to prevent such four games in five nights issues.
Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes of Hell: Fiction. He owes it to the players to manage them in a way that keeps them healthy. The most fan-friendly policy is to do what’s necessary to ensure they are healthy come the playoffs.
Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: Fiction. If he owes it to any fans, it’s the ones of his own franchise, many of whom support his decision to send his players home. I’m sure there are some in Miami who had tickets to the game who are disappointed and others who live outside San Antonio without League Pass. I understand they’re probably disappointed. But really, Pop owes it to his players and Peter Holt. If they’re all fine with the decision, he doesn’t owe anyone else anything.
3. What kind of sanctions do you think are deserved for this?
Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak: The Spurs should lose a bowl game, and Gregg Popovich should have to work one game as a sideline reporter.
Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes of Hell: None. Even if you believe Pop is in the wrong, I have yet to hear a proposed solution that doesn’t unjustly and impractically encroach on the head coach’s decision making. “Solutions” are worse than the problem, if you even want to call it that.
Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: I think none, but if they’re going to do something, just fine the organization $50,000 and be done with it. Although I hope Peter Holt pays for whatever fine is levied at Pop. The punishment hasn’t even been handed down yet and I’m already annoyed.