Coach Pop Pregame Media Availability - Spurs vs. Grizzlies

April 6, 2014

Coach Pop Pregame Media Availability - Spurs vs. Grizzlies

(On preparing for the playoffs…)
“Every season is different. The teams you play factor in as well as the current health of your team, the energy, the tired factor, and what you’ve done. Are the games back-to-back? Are they three in four days? All of those sorts of things go into what you do at the end of the season. You just do it day-by-day, assess, and do your best.”

(On giving Kawhi Leonard more of a role nearing the playoffs…)
“He is somebody that we want to play as many minutes as possible against the other team’s best player because he has the most potential to guard that sort of person. He’s got the inclination for it, he’s got the sense for it, and he likes the challenge. Against Oklahoma City for instance with Kevin (Durant), we wanted him to get as much experience as he can as a young player to play great players. To see what they do, how they play, it just makes him smarter. He’s getting experience on all of these guys, no matter who he’s guarding on the other team. We want to up his minutes because we want him to play a lot. He’s going to play more minutes than Tim Duncan does probably and more minutes than Manu Ginobili does probably. He’s got to be in shape for that, so this is like his stretch run. He’s never really been able to do this because it’s either been a lockout season or he was injured, that kind of thing. We had to limit his minutes last year, so this is really the first time he’s been able to lay it out there.”

(On his starters playing the least minutes out of any team in the NBA…)
“I didn’t know that, but I would have guessed it. It’s probably been like that every year, I would imagine. Or you could say if I would have played them more, maybe we would’ve won more games. Maybe I outsmarted myself, I don’t know. (laughs) There’s always two ways to look at things.”

(On extending the minutes per game of key players heading into the playoffs…)
“You just have to make sure of a couple of things. Number one, you don’t want to over play guys, so I’m probably not going to play somebody 42 minutes to win a game. That probably wouldn’t be wise. At the same time, you don’t want to win every game by 20 and have guys play 22 minutes. We got into that a little bit with the streak. I’d rather have more competitive games. Win a few, lose a few, and be sharper and have them in good shape.”