Gregg Popovich has great quote about tanking in NBA
The NBA has never completely addressed the issue of tanking within the sport despite tweaks to the draft lottery and other rules. Some teams still have very non-competitive rosters, and a few are more eager to rest players than others may be.
The San Antonio Spurs are not one of those teams. Though the 22-35 Spurs are not likely to make the playoffs or go anywhere, coach Gregg Popovich is adamant that he has no plans to give his best players rest days or send out weakened lineups regularly. His reason is simple: in his mind, he cannot teach or push his players if he’s also asking them to lose.
Pop on tanking: "You can't go to your team and ask them to lose."
He says you go out and teach and do what you do, and if you lose and get a good draft pick you accept it, but "it can't be because you didn't push them or teach them or demand from them."
— Tom Petrini (@RealTomPetrini) February 14, 2022
The Spurs are getting an All-Star season from Dejounte Murray, so they could certainly weaken themselves if they opted to rest him from time to time. They don’t appear motivated to, and that’s not just because of Popovich’s opinions on rest.
Tanking in the NBA usually happens at the front office level, and coaches are left to battle with what they have while denying that they’re giving up on the season. Popovich and the Spurs seem to be on the same page, and his comments are worth listening to in light of the occasional fan complaints.
Photo: Feb 8, 2020; Sacramento, California, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich on the sideline against the Sacramento Kings during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports