It’s time for Gregg Popovich to make up his mind
I can’t imagine a scenario in which Gregg Popovich doesn’t want his team to succeed. He cares about his players too much as people and takes pride in getting them where they want to be. That’s why I’m sort of confused about what’s been happening lately.
Coach Pop established an impressive reputation for his ability to adjust in the middle of tense playoff series for over 20 years. Now, it seems more and more frequent that we see the same issues plague the team over and over again. Yes, some of that is on the team’s effort and an impossibly brutal schedule, but rotations are absolutely killing this team too.
I love Patty Mills and am rooting for him to retire as a Spur, but by no means is he a 34-minutes-in-a-game guy anymore. Still, he played 34 against Indiana. He offers solid full-court defense in small bursts, but overall he’s overpowered by opposing guards way too often. This was evident in both of the last two games in which Trae Young went off late, and T.J. McConnell went off all night.
Rudy Gay has also been a defensive black hole for the past few weeks, allowing blow-bys at will, including a few off of made baskets against the Pacers.
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Both veterans are still getting 47.7 minutes combined compared to the 25.8 that Luka and Devin receive on average. Am I missing something here? Is the goal to make the playoffs and have an outside shot at making some noise or not?
I get that the 3-point shot is all the rage nowadays, something Patty and Rudy have excelled at for years. But there are two blossoming two-way players itching to get more playing time right now.
Stubbornness and reliance on veterans are biting this team again, and this part falls all on Coach Pop.
So my biggest questions are: Does Coach Popovich see what is clearly not working and just not care? It’s hard to believe that.
Is it just stubbornness, as we saw last season? Is he secretly tanking for a higher draft pick as many Spurs fans are hoping for?
If he keeps not making any adjustments such as adding another shooter into the starting lineup, distributing more minutes to Devin and Luka, or calling something other than isolation plays for DeMar to close games, that might just answer the question for me.
As I said, I’m one of the more positive Spurs fans you’ll encounter, and still, I’ve already accepted that this team is a first or second-round playoff out at best. But watching the same issues plague the Spurs night after night isn’t what fans deserve, and it’s time for Coach Popovich to make up his mind about the team’s direction this season.