Coach Pop Pregame Media Availability - Spurs vs. Clippers

March 22, 2013

(On Tony Parker playing the best basketball of his career…)
“No point guard in the league has played better than him for the whole season. He has held us together. Unfortunately he got hurt for those eight games. When you are already out-of-sight, out-of-mind and you lose eight games you are really out-of-sight, out-of-mind because he lost those eight games. He has played his butt of on both ends of the floor. It’s probably his best year because of the leadership aspect that he has taken on and really upped his defense.”

(On Tony Parker’s mental toughness…)
“When he came he was 19-year-old. We gave him the ball and expected him to do great things and he did. He was in a special situation. We wanted to find out quickly if he was going to fold or couldn’t handle pressure. We wanted to find out if he had no mental toughness or no physicality about him, how coachable he was and how good he wanted to be. So I was really tough on him very quickly. He took everything I could give him and he just got better and better.

(On Tony Parker fighting through injury…)
“He has fought through what a lot of people fight through. That is nothing special. Every team has guys fight through injuries and tough times. He is one of them. A lot of players in the league at this point are playing with bumps and bruises. I’m sure the Clippers have the same thing.”

(On Kawhi Leonard mirroring Tim Duncan’s demeanor…)
“His personality was formed before he got here. He’s not quiet because he met Tim Duncan. Kawhi is Kawhi. Seeing the work ethic that Timmy puts forth or Manu or a number of other players is certainly a great way for a young kid to enter the league that’s for sure. A lot of guys don’t get that opportunity. They might be put into a situation where there aren’t very good role models and they don’t learn how to become ultimate professionals. Kawhi has a lot of that around him. Even if we didn’t have that his mom did a heck of a job with him. He wants to be great. He is a worker. He is a sponge with information. That is just the way he is.”

(On DeAndre Jordan’s role as a Clipper…)
“I wonder what he did over the summer because when I started watching him at the beginning of the year he is just different. He plays more confidently. He understands different parts of the game now that he maybe didn’t appreciate in the past. He just thinks the game more than he ever did before. He is not just a dunk guy. He understands what is going on out there. He has just matured. That is good for them and good for the Clippers.”

(On Blake Griffin’s role as a Clipper…)
“He is a hell of a player. He has an edge to him. He is physical. He is competitive. He works out the weaker parts of his game just like all good players do. He improves year-to-year. He is special. That is why he is an All-Star. He is just going to get better. He hasn’t even tapped what he is going to be two years from now or three years from now. He is just going to get better and better.”