Ask any fantasy player if you should trust what Gregg Popovich says about player rotations and minutes.
With that caveat, Popovich said before his Spurs took on the Warriors Thursday in the Bay Area that he plans to play his core guys in the two remaining games he has against Golden State, then likely rest all or part of the group in the other three games they play (Denver on Friday, Oklahoma City April 12, Dallas April 13).
The Spurs will have every player available tonight against the Warriors. Popovich plans to rest a host of key players Friday night in Denver on the second night of a back-to-back. He will deploy his full lineup once more when the Warriors visit the AT&T Center on Monday.
Popovich said his approach has nothing to do with his team’s still-alive chase for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Nor does it have anything to do with Golden State’s pursuit of the Chicago Bulls’ single-season victories record.
“It’s not about opponents,” Popovich said. “It’s about minutes and time.”
My guess is Popovich will rest everyone he can against Dallas in the final game of the regular season; you can take your own guess about what he will do against the Thunder (the Spurs likely second round opponent).
In theory, the Spurs could catch the Warriors for the top seed in the West, but they would need to win out and hope the Warriors drop one of their two remaining games against Memphis. Good luck with that. Better to rest guys.
However, if Spurs knock the Warriors off the 73-win pace, it could help Steve Kerr convince key guys to get some rest and nights off before the playoffs start.