Coach Pop Pregame Media Availability - Spurs vs. Clippers

Nov. 19, 2012

Question: We’re trying to figure out…those of us who travel with the Clippers…if they’re for real. If they’re really as good as they appear to be through these first nine games. Do you, after watching them on tape and playing them once, do you think they are legitimately good?
“Absolutely. They’re the real deal. They’re right there with Oklahoma City as one of the best teams in the West right now. It’s not just because they’re winning. You have to look at how they’re winning. They’re playing good defense, they’re physical, they create steals and disrupt people’s offenses. They’re not just out there scoring. They’re playing at both ends of the court and they’re deep. The talent is there. Vinny (Del Negro) has them focused on defense. Chris Paul’s a great leader for that group and they’ve got the inside game. (DeAndre) Jordan’s developing. I think that (Eric) Bledsoe is really one of the most underrated players in the league and quite special at both ends of the court. It’s like nobody still knows who he is. They don’t know who he is. He’s a hell of a weapon.”

Question: You talked about DeAndre(Jordan)…where has his biggest development been…
“I’m sure a lot of it is confidence and feeling like he belongs. He’s making better decisions. He’s playing with his teammates and understands his role. All those things help you produce better at both ends of the court. Obviously he already has the physical and athletic skills, but he’s combined a little more of the mental game with it and it’s helped them be a pretty imposing team.”

Question: Has Tim turned back the clock…
“A lot of people have said that for several years now and it really is true. He’s reduced his weight the last three years and works all summer on flexibility and those sorts of things. He’s really disciplined about what he puts in his body. I’ve already tried to sit him in a couple back-to-backs and he’s not allowed me to. I ask him who does he think is running this program and then he tells me. I say OK. He’s never been a leaper, so to speak, but he’s always been a really fundamentally sound individual. He’s got some explosiveness in his drives and he’s expanded his game. You know, kind of like Michael learning to shoot more instead of dunking everything. Timmy’s learning to knock down the jumpers and the elbows and on the wings, because he’s not going to down to the post and amaze people every time anymore. So he picks and chooses, tries to figure out who’s guarding him and where he should be on the court. In addition to taking care of his body, so it’s worked real well for him and obviously for us.”

Question: Before the game, George Karl said it looked like Tim’s touches were up in the offense…
It’s not by design necessarily, but Manu (Ginobili) has missed some games, so Tony and Timmy are the guys I basically went to. Danny Green has cut into that a little bit. He’s really turned into a pretty good player and we’ve gone to him a few times.

Question: What area do you miss Kawhi Leonard in during these games that he’s out…
“As you might guess, defensively. He started out the year with five steals in the first two games. He really sets a tone for us and he really helps us because we can put him on whoever we think is the danger, even a point guard. He’s not Bruce Bowen yet, but he really sets a tone for us defensively. He’s a great offensive rebounder. 50-50 balls, he’s great at it. All those things that help you win games and basic defense is what we miss. Having that depth…having he and Jack (Stephen Jackson) both at that position. We can play Jack, but I’m not going to play Jack for 40 minutes or 38 minutes.