Coach Pop Mailbag: 8/30/12 (Page 2)
Question: What books are you reading in the offseason?
GP: I usually have a group of books that I read at the same time because I never sit long with one and I’ve got something to do and get back to it, but at this point I’m close to finishing a book about Stalin and another book about Putin. And then on the fiction side I’m trying to get through a book called Ulysses, but I’m not man enough for it. Too difficult to understand, too many big words, concepts that are way over my head, but I’ve always told myself I have to tackle this. I do about every three years try to read it. I’ve never had success yet.
Question: Hi Pop, what number did you use when playing basketball? Any particular reason you wore that number?
GP: You know, I wore 20 and 21. Those were my numbers. I have no idea why I chose those but they were my numbers at the Air Force Academy.
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Question: How happy were you to be able to re-sign all of your free agents?
GP: Well we thought we were very fortunate and we were very happy that we were able to sign our guys, that we could bring Boris back and Danny back. And they’re going to be even better for us this year, so that’s what we look for in improvement, for them to understand the system more, for Kawhi Leonard to be here in training camp, and so in a sense those three guys are like new players for us. We regard them almost like free agents, and we look forward to them rounding out the group that’s been here.
Location: New York, NY
Question: Hello Coach Popovich, since your team is one that has greatly used international scouting and are constantly adding new international players, what is the biggest adjustment international players have to make when going to the NBA?
GP: I think initially it’s just getting used to the players they’re playing against, and getting a feel for how the game flows. How referees call things, and how a game flows, but socially all these guys are more worldly than most American players, they’ve played on teams over there and travelled to many countries, they know several languages, so socialization is not a big deal at all. It’s just getting used to the league.
Location: Berkeley, CA
Question: Who was the most coachable player you have ever had on your roster?
GP: Over all my time? Wow. I would say that we’ve had a steady stream of players that have been very team-oriented. And usually when people are team-oriented they’re also very coachable, so it’s hard to pick. I’d say the guy I’ve been toughest on, and he’s come through it all, is Tony Parker. In that sense, he’s listened to me and believed in what I told him even when he was angry with me or at times didn’t understand what I was talking about. But he trusted me, and I’ll always appreciate that.
Location: San Antonio
Question: Pop, what is your assessment of the Spurs players who played during the Olympics?
GP: It was really a good experience for them. I know they all wanted to win medals and that sort of thing, but winning medals has often times got a lot more to do with circumstances and timing and those sort of things. You know Argentina’s best years were a few years ago when they were a little bit younger and a little bit deeper as a group, but I really enjoyed their competitiveness. Same with the French team, they went out and competed and did a great job, Tony leading the French obviously and Manu leading the Argentinians. Tiago did the same thing in Brazil, but you know Boris and Nando De Colo both played on the French team. So they all got good experience, and I think playing organized basketball in the summer is always a plus.
Location: San Antonio
Question: What is a typical film room session like, and which elements do you particularly try to key in on, emphasize, or correct?
GP: When we do films the first thing we do is try not to make them too long, because I think that players know pretty quickly what you’re talking about and what your point is. Beating them over the head with an hour film reaches a point of diminishing returns, so we’ll usually pick out a couple of items on defense and a couple of items on offense. Like, how successful we were regarding the pick and roll in a previous game, or on offense how well we move the ball or what the pace of the game might have been. Just show them three or four clips in each area that exemplify what we’re trying to get across, and because they’re intelligent guys, that’s really all that’s necessary.
Location: Washington DC
Question: I know you're a wine man, but I was wondering, what's your favorite beer? Thanks, Adam
GP: Stroh's. In the tall bottle.
Location: Austin, TX
Question: What advice do you have for aspiring basketball coaches (other than get Tim Duncan as your centerpiece)?
GP: Buy a coat and a tie, and get a job.>> Back to Page 1