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#pounditSunday, September 25, 2022

Gregg Popovich makes LaMarcus Aldridge sit out practice

gregg-popovich-smiling

He has yet to even play in a single preseason game for his new team and already offseason San Antonio signee LaMarcus Aldridge is getting his first heavy dose of Spurs-related culture shock.

The four-time All-Star missed Spurs’ practice on Tuesday with a strained IT band (which sounds like something you would find in a server room, but I digress). If it was up to Aldridge, he would have participated. But he was overruled by head coach Gregg Popovich who, per Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News, responded to Aldridge’s reluctance to sit with an all-timer, saying “Welcome to the Spurs.”

Popovich is, of course, the Jedi master of managing player minutes and workloads, so Aldridge must have known to expect a surprise absence or three every now and then when he signed on with the Spurs. Perhaps necessitated by the age of the roster, San Antonio’s arbitrary maintenance system of random player rest has become one of the key pillars of Spurs culture, especially when the team is making an appearance on national television (that sound you just heard was probably David Stern popping a blood vessel). The Spurs won the 2014 NBA Championship despite not having a single player eclipse the 30 minutes per game plateau that year. Even last season, Kawhi Leonard was the only player on San Antonio’s roster to log over 30 minutes per game (31.8), and even that is a conservative number for a springy 23-year-old forward.

At 30 years of age himself, some sporadic rest might not even be a matter of principle for the former Blazer, but rather just for his own good. Aldridge, who saw 35.5 minutes per game in his nine-year career with Portland, including 37.2 in the last five seasons, can likely anticipate a moderately reduced workload for the Spurs next season, both in terms of playing time and touches. But with the hopefully corresponding bumps in efficiency and freshness, he will be exactly potent offensive threat/anti-small ball weapon that San Antonio needs in order to prolong their shelf life even further.

As for Popovich, who has already been getting a head start on subjecting terrified reporters to Gregg’s Flying Circus of Media Torture, it definitely looks like he’s in midseason form.

H/T Yahoo! Sports

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