The San Antonio Spurs are amongst 22 NBA teams staying at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando. While most teams there already have a playoff spot, San Antonio is one of six teams that has to fight their way in to get a final seed. That said, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich recently revealed the team’s main goal for the NBA restart, and it isn’t getting that playoff berth.
Gregg Popovich Comments on Spurs’ Goal for NBA Restart
All of the teams at the NBA bubble site will be playing in eight games ahead of the NBA playoffs. Those eight games will help determine seeds for teams in the Eastern and Western Conference.
In addition, five teams in the Western Conference were invited to try to overtake the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed. The Spurs are joined by the New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns.
While most of the teams’ head coaches and players will say getting into the playoffs is the goal, Popovich dismissed that notion. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs’ head coach is looking to work on player development down in Florida.
“If we play well enough to get into the playoffs, that’s great, But my goal is development right now,” the Spurs coach said.
“For us in our specific situation, development is more important than anything,” Popovich said per ESPN. “I’m not too concerned with trying to figure out how to match up with the Lakers or Clippers or Celtics or Raptors or Rockets or Nuggets or anybody else.”
Spurs Playing Without Key Roster Members
While the San Antonio Spurs will have star guard DeMar DeDerozan, veteran Rudy Gay, and other talents including Bryn Forbes and Dejounte Murray, they’ll be without a few players. That includes big man LaMarcus Aldridge who had season-ending should surgery several weeks ago, ruling out him for the restart. Just recently, Trey Lyles had an appendectomy so he’ll be out of action as well.
The Spurs have 22-straight playoff appearances going back to the 1997-98 season. That was Pop’s second season as head coach, showing just how impressive his two decades with the team have been. For the 2020 NBA restart, they’re a half-game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the No. 9 seed. They would also need to overtake New Orleans and Sacramento to potentially return to the postseason.
Not long ago, there was some doubt lingering as to whether Gregg Popovich would even go to Orlando to participate. He showed his commitment to the team by revealing he’d coach them despite being 71 and amongst an at-risk age group for COVID-19 health issues. Now he’s showing a strong commitment to focusing on the future of the players and team which gives more evidence of why Pop is one of the best in the game.
The Spurs play their first game of the NBA restart schedule on July 31 against the Sacramento Kings. Visit our Spurs news page to get more team and player updates.