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[General NBA Discussion] Stern To Sanction Spurs For Sitting Starters


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17 replies to this topic

#1 Jeby

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:49 AM

Commissioner David Stern announced "substantial sanctions" to come against the Spurs for coach Popovich's decision to let four starters stay home from a game against the Heat.
Rahat has expressed support for the Spurs' decision. I'm on the other side of the fence. I think the purpose of the NBA is entertainment, so the decision to essentially forfeit a huge matchup on national TV is cheating the fans.
Thoughts?
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#2 Sir Thursday

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:21 AM

This is a really interesting issue, and one that rears its head a lot in football (that is, what the rest of the world call football, not the type you Yanks play :P). There have been several instances in the English Premier League where smaller teams have fielded 'weakened' teams against strong opponents in a bid to rest players for a big cup match that's coming up and have ended up drawing fines for it. They complain that it's something that strong teams do as well, but because the quality of the players in their squads are generally higher they can get away with it.

It seems to be the opposite way around in basketball - the Spurs, one of the top teams, are getting punished for this, whereas a team with no genuinely standout players can't really be punished because it's not necessarily clear that the team is worse when they rest one of their guys. Suspect this is a function of the 'superstar' effect (where a single transcendent player makes such a difference to a teams performance) that you see in the NBA because of the low number of players on the court.

ST
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#3 bob schmidt

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:31 PM

At some point it must be noted that owners invest enormous amounts of money in their teams, and hire managers to run those teams as they see fit. The idea is that free enterprise and ownership prevails, and that outside interests do not make decisions based upon other criteria. San Antonio did field a competetive team... end of story.

While I do sympathize with fans who wanted to see the San Antonio premier players on the court, the greed of big business cannot be permitted to interfere with how individual teams address unbalanced schedules and possible injuries from over-tired players in need of rest.
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#4 feelingsupersonic

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:45 PM

In my opinion Stern is way out of line. Especially to officially call out the Spurs organization through a statement released by the league office soon after the game started. Are you kidding me? Stern's vanity clouds his ability to lead the Association and he obviously overvalues a supposed marquee match up in late November that no one would have paid attention to had he said nothing about it. More importantly his intervention in this situation would clearly go against the modus operandi of all NBA teams, it is clear that on the court each organization is autonomous and makes decisions in the teams best interest. Even Adam Silver has made comments that he would not question Pop last season when this topic came up. It is obvious Stern needs to retire when his impulses circumvent organized action directed by the league office where conferencing before punitive actions and official statements are made.

It must also be noted that Pop is extremely displeased with the Spurs schedule. There is definitely a larger debate to be had about scheduling.
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Not all isolation plays are equal.


#5 ale11

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:41 PM

I'm on Pop's side on this one. I mean....if that game would have ended with a 30-40 margin to Miami, I could get the fine, but it was a close game, which Miami won in the final moments. If the business is entertaining, what do you call a game which the current champion got to win in the final moments? Pop prioritized his own interests, which is keep his players fresh and give them a night out every once in a while, and I think it's great, players are not machines (except for LeBron).
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#6 Cooper

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:28 PM

I can't blame pop for sitting those old guys if one had pulled a hamstring or gotten some sort of fatigue related injury in the game because of it and missed even more games its worse than just sitting out one game. Also it's not like the spurs were not competitive there is still NBA players out there on the court.
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#7 Jeby

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:44 PM

At some point it must be noted that owners invest enormous amounts of money in their teams, and hire managers to run those teams as they see fit. The idea is that free enterprise and ownership prevails, and that outside interests do not make decisions based upon other criteria.


I admit that I find this argument very persuasive, considering that Stern's main duty is to look out for the owners. Also, I agree that Stern created the potential for this through some bone-headed scheduling.

I disagree with the notion that the fact that the Spurs reserves played well has a bearing on whether the decision was a good one. People wanted to watch this game as a potential Finals preview. It was not.

I think the other thing that bothers me about Pop's decision is that it's a lot like the badminton scandal at the Olympics. The team tried to throw the game to gain a benefit later on. It's a basic assumption of sportsmanship that if two teams are scheduled to play a game, they will both bring their best to the court. Period. And if I'm paying to watch a game, both teams better bring it.

Was Pop's decision good for his team? Yes. Was it the right coaching decision? Yes. Did the league/Stern create conditions that led to that decision? Absolutely.

Is it good for the league for teams to leave stars home for strategic reasons? Heck no.
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#8 feelingsupersonic

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 06:16 PM

Is it good for the league for teams to leave stars home for strategic reasons? Heck no.

I could not disagree with you more. Sure in a vacuum you don't want to see marquee players being rested for over hyped games that mean little to nothing in the course of a season but mean something to casual fans. (Honestly, everyone on this forum is a pretty intelligent basketball fan and we all know Pop doesn't even pull out his real playbook till about midway through the season and always conserves his players.) This game that Stern has called into question should be taken within the context that it is part of a season strategy for what can probably be considered the most successful franchise for over a decade. Pop decides when and how to play his players so that they can make it through a season (thus allowing more fans to see them) and so they can be ready for the playoffs (when games really matter). Stern has been great for the NBA but he needs to keep his nose out of Pop's business. What Pop did is indeed good for the league as evidenced by the Spurs' track record.
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Not all isolation plays are equal.


#9 rockets best fan

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:15 AM

I am torn on this subject. I fully understand stern stepped on a slippery slope when he fined the spurs. how can you tell a team who they can and can not play? will he want to control minutes next? any team should have the right to play who they want to when they want to period. you can not tell the coach what is good for his team. they don't tell teams this when they are tanking at the end of the year. pops plan has worked to keep the spurs contending for years in the league so who's to say it doesn't work. while saying that I understand the fans point of view also. I only get to go to a hand full of games each year usually in one of the mini packs the rockets have. most packs have maybe 2 good games and the rest are teams like the bobcats or wizzards. I would be pissed if they rested koby, nash, and howard on my laker game. (IMO) you got to know when to pick your battles and stern picked one he can't possibly win.
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you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


#10 Johnny Rocket

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:29 AM

I totally agree that there is a slippery slope here, and that the NBA is to partially to blame because of its inept scheduling practices, but I see Stern's point.National TV revenues benefit the entire league. If you are scheduled for a national TV game, you must bring your best players to the game and at least play them token minutes. If you fail to do so, it could mean that every team in the league loses money. The situation is different for bottom-feeders tanking at the end of the season--they are not on national TV and they are not endangering the goose that lays the golden eggs.
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#11 Rahat Huq

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:44 AM

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I have so many thoughts on this. As the OP stated, I completely side with Pop on this. In fact, this makes me unabashedly a Pop fan. To me, it doesn't matter what Pop's justification is for this stunt - whether that be to protest the scheduling or to actually rest players or to just troll the league - it's irrelevant. As the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, its his prerogative as to what he wants to do with his team and how he wants to run it. He serves as a fiduciary to only the interests of the San Antonio Spurs, not the greater NBA and its business partners.

This is dangerous grounds for Stern and a dangerous sweeping use of his powers. The greatest problem for me is the question of what the basis of the sanction is. Is it that the Spurs rested their "best players"? That's rather discretionary. Obviously, we all know who the Spurs' best players are but its not within Stern's pay scale to determine who they are, and that can't even be done from an objective scale. What if the Rockets rest Jeremy Lin and Asik? Are those our best players? We can argue Chandler Parsons is better than either of them. The main point is that it shouldn't be Stern's determination and it shouldn't be Stern's determination who plays and when they play.

The point has been raised that the sponsors suffer because of the risk inherent in picking up these games beforehand. Well, that's a risk they take anyways in every deal, just by the likelihood of player injury.

Stern has done a lot of great things for this league but he has also repeatedly demonstrated how corrupt of an individual he is.
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#12 bob schmidt

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:33 PM

It is always interesting to watch a situation and note how it can morph into something else... This issue is one of scheduling, not disobedience on behalf of Pops and the Spurs. Every team has problems with this very issue, that schedules are sometimes too disparate between teams. While there may not be an easy answer, this is the real problem.

Mr. Stern has reacted in a manner more befitting a banana-republic dictator than a master problem solver for the NBA. His outrage blinded him to the obvious, that the Spurs were reacting to a most difficult schedule. I would love to see the NBA owners meet and request that the fine levied on the Spurs be recinded, and schedule issues be addressed by the league as a whole. Meanwhile, they might consider asking Stern to move his retirement up a bit, as in immediate.

Both the NBA and the Spurs have legitimate issues. It is a shame that a public food-fight is necessary to resolve the situation. Time to hang them up Mr. Stern, and time for the NBA to look over its' schedule difficulties. The fans of NBA basketball deserve better than what they are getting out of this mess.
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#13 sircharles

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:11 PM

i see both sides of it, but i mean they had the next day off anyways. not like it was a back to back they were prepping for. i hate the spurs so fine them as much as you want
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#14 RocketMan

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:15 PM

Does it make much difference when you factor in that it was their 4th road game in 5 days? They also played double OT in the first of those games. I think my guys would rate a break, fine or not.
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#15 rockets best fan

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:17 AM

I think we all agree that the nba schedule lead to this confrontation, problem is (IMO) the power stern is displaying. does the nba need to address it's scheduling problems? YES, but the way stern enforced his will is more troublesome to me. what is the end game here? is the nba moving to a league where stern is all powerful? does he get to change the game as he sees fit regardless to how others feel? that's the root of the real problem. stern has made some good calls and some really bad calls during his time, but this is the mother load
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you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


#16 Jeby

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:26 AM

I think we all agree that the nba schedule lead to this confrontation, problem is (IMO) the power stern is displaying. does the nba need to address it's scheduling problems? YES, but the way stern enforced his will is more troublesome to me. what is the end game here?


I think the end game is just the message Stern is sending--that league revenue interests trump everything, including coaching strategies. I doubt Stern will have to create a written set of by-laws about which players can't be left home or which games star players have to suit up for because coaches know who the moneymakers are on their roster (but here's a quick set of criteria if you want it: no more than one starter in a nationally televised game unless the player is deemed unable to play by a doctor or for personal reasons {e.g. death of a family member}.)

Did Stern overstep his authority? Maybe. But then again, when has a coach ever made a decision so antithetical to the marketing interests of the league? If the league loses its ability to make money, then Pop's brilliance is a moot point. No money = no NBA = no Coach Popovich.
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#17 feelingsupersonic

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:55 AM

Of course if the league loses it's ability to make money many things we enjoy about the NBA are a moot point.

Let's be serious, the truth is that Pop sending his players home won't cause the league to lose money. In fact if you look at his track record it is pretty easy to understand that Pop and the Spurs front office have earned the league money. More small market franchises should model themselves after the Spurs and emulate what Pop and RC are doing over there. To believe that Pop was in the wrong is shortsighted and a knee jerk reaction.

Forbes in 2008 states:

"The Spurs continue to be the NBA's most consistent team racking up an eighth straight season with at least 55 wins. The Phoenix Suns are the only other current team with even a two-year streak of 55 wins. The Spurs have been a model of consistency thanks to a stable executive suite, but this summer the team lost Russ Bookbinder who resigned after two decades with the team. Bookbinder was in charge of business operations and helped turn the Spurs into the NBA's most profitable and successful small-market franchise."
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Not all isolation plays are equal.


#18 Sir Thursday

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:35 AM

I really liked the argument that was presented here. The writer argues that the reason the league felt the need to hand out a fine was a natural result of the way the NBA markets itself. Because of the heavy focus on 'stars', there is a lot less excitement about seeing the backups play. But if the NBA were to market teams and the concepts they espouse, then they would be able to gain significant marketing capital out of a team even when the stars weren't playing. There are plenty of teams that have well-defined identities and even buzzwords to describe them, it wouldn't be too dififcult. I mean, they have done this to a degree (eg. last year's playoff adverts) but if they went all out with a strategy it would probably reduce the impact of decisions like this quite considerably and they would be able to allow teams to rest their players a bit without getting overly draconian.

But then again, it does seem like Stern enjoys being overly draconian, so maybe it won't change. *shrugs*

ST
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