The San Antonio Spurs face off against the Houston Rockets tonight on TNT and the nation is, once again, scrutinizing Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich for sitting four players, including two stars, tonight (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter, and Marco Belinelli).
While I understand the argument that fans want to see star players when they go to the game and syndicated networks such as TNT want the best product on the court for its viewers, we should really know by now that Pop and company don't really care about those kinds of things. The Spurs have one goal in mind. Its not to sell a bunch of jerseys, to see how many wins they can reel off in a row before the first month of the season is over. Its to accomplish one of the only goals left in this dynasty's journey, repeat as champions. The Popovich formula of sitting his older players has proven to work, so why do we think he'd stop now?
Many of the major networks like ESPN and TNT often claim Pop does this intentionally to piss off the networks. While I'm sure it makes him chuckle, (in complete solitude of course), he sits his players out of necessity regardless of what channel the game is on. If the NBA and the major networks get so worked up over the Spurs sitting players, why does it always seem they schedule nationally televised games on the second night of a back to back?
Including tonight's bout with the Rockets, the Spurs play four games on national TV on the second night of a back to back. While these are all against Marquee teams, the Spurs are still one of the league's older teams and must preserve their older stars if they wish to make a run at the title.
Bottom line, they aren't going to stop sitting guys, so get used to it.