Spurs Mailbag: Coach Pop - Feb. 15, 2012
Location:Las Vegas, NV
Question: What do you think of Bruce Bowen's jersey going up into the rafters with the other Spurs legends?
Gregg Popovich: Well I think it's totally appropriate, well deserved, and I'm thrilled to be part of it. He's been someone who's been very important in our championship runs and he set a great example over a lot of years, and having his jersey retired shows how much we appreciate what he's done for the Spurs and for the city.
Question: Hi Pop, you visited Montenegro last summer. What is your impression?
GP: It's a beautiful country, a lot of different areas to enjoy. The people are wonderful, it's a place that's very unknown to most people but a great vacation spot that's not been spoiled too much by too many tourists.
Question: Has Tiago's improvement been because of familiarity to the system or have other factors contributed?
GP: Well part of it's being familiar with the system, but most of it's just being healthy. You know he was a heck of a player before he got here, and the things that people see him do this year he's been doing for a long time in Europe. He just didn't have the opportunity with the injuries last year, and missing the entire training camp he never could get into the rotation, so they're really seeing him for the first time this year.
Question: How do you think the Spurs compare with the best teams in the league right now?
GP: Well I think there are a couple of teams that have separated themselves. In our conference, Oklahoma City has certainly shown themselves to be somebody to be dealt with, so I think they've put themselves in a category that's above everybody else, but I think after that, everybody's pretty darn equal actually. We've all had good nights and bad nights and we're all going through a tough year, so I think in another 20 or 25 games we'll see who the best teams are.
Location: San Antonio
Question: Which championship season was the most memorable one?
GP: I never compare championships. They're all so different and they're all special.
Location: Portland, OR
Question: Did you expect Danny Green to play at the level he's been playing all year?
GP: Not really. We came into training camp with no expectations of anyone really. That's the way to do it, so you're not disappointed or surprised ahead of time. Let people fall where they may, so to speak. From day one he was aggressive and came to show that he wanted to play in the NBA and have minutes and be part of a team, and to his credit he's done a wonderful job of being consistent.
Location:Los Angeles, CA
Question: Coach Pop, do you ever return to visit Pomona-Pitzer?
GP: Whenever I have an opportunity I go back. I loved it there, I still miss it, I have a lot of friends there. It's a fantastic institution, and when I get an opportunity I go.
Location: Warren, MI
Question: Do you speak any other languages? If so which ones do you speak?
GP: Not really. Little pieces of various languages, but only fluent in English.
Question: Was coaching something you always wanted to do? And if you weren't a coach what might you being doing professionally?
GP: Well I was actually all set to go to Wabash College at Indiana and study medicine, and at the very last second I went to the airforce academy and the medical thing was obviously gone at that point. And my next desire was mostly just to be in intelligence in the service when I got out. And then that changed with some coaching and playing experiences, so the coaching wasn't the primary goal when I left home to go to college.
Question: What do you think you have room to improve as a coach?
GP: I think more than anything its a matter of keeping up, making sure that anything new that might help defensively or offensively is known to you, continually working to make sure that you're not falling behind with a new technique that maybe somebody has figured out that you ought to be doing. So I think staying alert is really important as far as coaching in my circumstance. When you've had the same group for a while, you don't want to get used to doing the same things over and over and not changing anything. There's always tweaks that can be made each year, so I think that's important. And the other thing would probably be that I want to always make sure that I'm making good decisions as far as time off the court, injuries, rest, recovery, those sorts of things. Those are always of primary importance for me.
Location: Fairfield, VA
Question: How are you enjoying coaching all the young guys?
GP: It's a real thrill. We have a good group of eager young players, who want to get better, who are very coachable, who understand our system, and that always makes teaching fun when you've got willing participants.
Question: What are your favorite top three countries you have visited? What countries would you like to see?
DG: Probably the place I enjoy the most visiting is Turkey. It's an awesome, complicated, spectacular country. A place that I haven't been that I would like to go to is probably, I don't know. There is no place that I'm longing to go to that I haven't been to really.