Gregg Popovich Sits Spurs Big 3: Right or Wrong Move?

Brian RubinContributor IIApril 11, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 05:  Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 5, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Not only were the San Antonio Spurs' big three—Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili—absent from a 91-84 loss against the Jazz at the EnergySolutions Arena last night, but they did not even make the trip.

The Spurs had just beaten the Jazz the previous evening with all of their top players and had tied a season-high winning streak of 11 games. No other team has won nine games in a row all season.   

More importantly, the Spurs had temporarily claimed a No. 1 spot in the Western Conference standings, passing the Oklahoma City Thunder.  

Following the game in San Antonio, and before the plane trip to Salt Lake City, coach Gregg Popovich was asked if some of the Spurs players would be remaining home instead of going on the trip for some rest.

“It's a fair question,” he said, “(but) it's none of your business. Absolutely a fair question, and a good one. It's something I need to think about.”

However, following the game last night, Pop told reporters that he actually planned on having his top players not make the trip—ever since December.

December! 

Many fans and sports analysts—and even NBA teams—are upset at Pop for the following reasons:

1. The fans paid to see the best players—not the bench.

2. Other NBA teams feel like the Spurs are giving up free games to teams, which has a dramatic influence on the tight playoff race.

3. NBA commissioner David Stern does not want the bench of the Spurs to be playing; he wants to market the games and get the most value possible.

On the other hand, while Pop has several responsibilities as the a head coach in the NBA, his top priority should be to get a NBA championship for the San Antonio Spurs.

This priority, I believe, trumps them all.  

Until David Stern calls Pop and tells him he can't do it (which he might do in the future), Pop should not care why other people are upset.  

And by his quotes and interviews, it is quite evident he couldn't care less. 

There is no other coach that manages his players better than Pop.  He is the reason the Spurs have been a consistent threat in the playoffs since the first lockout season back in '99.  

There is no argument that the future Hall of Fame coach has been successful in his time management strategies.

But the question remains: How long before the NBA says enough is enough? 

Now? Later? Never? 

I say never.  

What do you think?