Pop says, "Lakers are the best."

 
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ttango
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:15 pm    Post subject: Pop says, "Lakers are the best."

Notes from the Gregg Popovich Interview
In the second quarter of the latest Spurs summer league game, Eddie Doucette (the longtime broadcaster for the Milwaukee Bucks) interviewed Pop. Doucette apparently loves to hear himself talk and didn't do a very good job of asking Pop any interesting questions. Thankfully, Pop was in a good mood and offered a few interesting tidbits.

-The Spurs were fortunate and very thrilled that DeJuan Blair was still on the board.

-Blair is a wonderful guy and will be getting minutes pretty quickly.

-As Blair learns, he's going to be a valuable player. Playing with Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess, he is going to mature more quickly and understand what the game is all about.

-Pop has known RC Buford for over 20 years so it's easy to sit down and be on the same page. In a lot of organizations, the owner, general manager and the coach aren't always on the same page. For the Spurs, it's been easy and has allowed the franchise to make moves that are good for the club rather than making moves to make the coach look good, or make the GM look good or to save money. The Spurs figure out what fits on the team, what they need and then go out and get it.

-The summer league is about finding kids who fit into certain situations, complement your ballclub and fill in the gaps.

-George Hill is the main reason for the summer league. The Spurs want Hill to develop and play the backup point guard position. Also, the Spurs want him to play some shooting guard -- he's a great defender. He just needs to be out there in the pick-and-roll situations, which is now seen so much in the NBA. The summer is huge for Hill.

-Playing behind Tony Parker helped Hill a great deal. At IUPUI, he was a scorer and a shooting guard -- he didn't play point guard at all. This is something that is totally new for him.

-The Spurs look for two things in summer league. The first thing is development in certain people, like George Hill. The other thing is evaluation -- both your guys and the other guys in the league. There's so much talent and who knows where that certain individual is going to come from that can complement your team.

-Pop really likes what he's seeing from the summer league team. George Hill is important, as is getting DeJuan Blair indoctrinated. Watching Ian Mahinmi, who has been hurt a lot of the time he's been with the Spurs in the last two years, is important and the Spurs want to see him develop. Malik Hairston is a perimeter player that the team is really high on and they want to see how he does in summer league.

-Stephane Lasme is a really hard worker -- like a Carl Landry or a Luis Scola. Not as good or not as talented but that sort of a player who is going to hustle all the time. Lasme is a great rebounder for his size and he's really mature. He should find a place on a team. If not with the Spurs, then he'll likely get a good contract in Europe.

-Hairston had a great year in the D-league last year. The Spurs will keep an eye on how he's developing.

-Letting go of players after summer league is one of the toughest parts of Pop's job. He might be the first person in the kid's life to tell him, "No, you're not good enough right now." It's devastating to a lot of kids and it's really the first time that they start to see how tough a road making the NBA might be. Pop always gives these players the Avery Johnson example about how long it took him and how many teams he played for before he was able to settle in. It's a difficult thing to do but it's also a responsibility because the player needs to have an evaluation. Then it's up to the player to either take it to heart or kiss it off, but hopefully the player takes something with him to make him better for the next team or the next situation.

-Some players can't handle the let down of not making it right away -- they'll blame other people. The players the Spurs try to find are the players who have bounce around, stick with it and then break through when the light bulb finally comes on.

-The Spurs have had a lot of foreign players and the main positive with foreign players is that they don't feel entitled. They come in, they are really happy to be here and they really want to learn. Their work ethic is impeccable. The Spurs try to find players who want to prove something. There's a lot of talent all around the world. The foreign kids have been fundamentally sound for the last eight or nine years. Their coaching has been fantastic and they spend a lot of time in the gym. A lot of them practice twice a day for their whole careers so they are really well drilled.

-Pop hopes and thinks that the injury situation has cleared up with the team. If the Spurs are going to win an NBA championship, they have to be the healthy team. Kobe Bryant can't do it by himself, he needs to have Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher. That holds true with the top nine or ten teams in the league.


-Tim Duncan is not running up hills and doing the things he usually does in the summer. The Spurs are holding him off. Manu Ginobili is healthy again. Pop hopes that adding Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess puts the Spurs back in the ballgame.

-The Spurs have been working on the Jefferson trade since last year's trade deadline. RC Buford stayed on top of it and continued the communication with the Bucks. When Milwaukee finally decided they were willing to do the deal, the Spurs felt the same. The trade makes the Spurs a better team on both ends of the court. Jefferson is a good defender and his addition makes the Spurs a younger, more athletic team. The Spurs needed those things at this point in the team's progression.

-McDyess can score, he's a pro and he's a good defender. He's a Kurt Thomas-type player, but he has more scoring ability in a variety of different ways. McDyess' experience will really help the Spurs but mostly his offensive potential is something the Spurs needed in the frontcourt.

-McDyess is a wonderful human being and everyone really respects him. He commands respect very naturally -- he doesn't have to overwork it. Jefferson will keep the team loose due to his great sense of humor and will be a wonderful addition to the lockerroom as well.

-Duncan is thrilled about the additions. He was excited both when the Spurs traded for Jefferson and signed McDyess.

-Duncan needs a little bit more help. Getting older, he needed more help just like how Kobe Bryant needed Pau Gasol -- it makes life easier.

-Gasol is a wonderful player in every facet of the game. He thinks the game, he understands what's going on, he's smart and he adjusts as the game goes along both defensive and offensively. He knows what's necessary and he plays off of his teammates well. Gasol is a special player.

-After missing the first two games of the summer league due to being in France at Tony Parker's camp, Pop is excited to come watch the last three games. He was excited like a little kid just to get a chance to see how the team plays, who does well, who's nervous and who's not.

-Summer league is a huge advantage. It's like taking a crash course in another language. The players can go out and focus on what the Spurs want them to improve in their individual games.

-This is the first chance the Spurs are getting to really see what Mahinmi can do and see if he knows how to play.

-RC Buford, Dell Demps and Dennis Lindsey do the brunt of the scouting work. They have regional contacts but they are the ones who go back and fourth to Europe. Once they pinpoint someone, then they have Pop take a trip.

-Scouting has changed drastically. Back in the 1980s, Pop was in Cologne, Germany watching their Final Four and watching Sarunas Marciulionis and Vlade Divac. Back then, the only other pro coach that was in the room was Don Nelson. The rest of the NBA didn't believe in foreign players for a variety of reasons. Nowadays, there's no player that is hidden. Everyone knows where the players are -- know it's a matter of who you want to pull the trigger on.

-Pop doesn't believe it's true that there is a shortage of talent in Europe. Not only in countries like Italy but also in Eastern Europe in countries like Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Poland -- who produced Marcin Gortat. The European prospects are going to keep coming.

-In Europe, they have done a great job of teaching the fundamentals and the players are grounded. They are well-schooled and their sense of team basketball, ball movement, people movement and spacing on the court is really excellent. The NBA has gained from that.

-The Lakers are still the best team in the Western Conference and the entire NBA. They're the team that has to be beaten. There are probably five or six other teams that are going to make a good run at a championship. Now there are more capable teams in the Eastern Conference. A few years ago, there were only one or two contenders in the East. Now, the top three or four teams in the East and the top six or seven teams in the West will just beat the hell out of each other. No one is really better than anyone else depending on how they are playing come playoff time -- except for the Lakers.
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Luffy
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:36 pm    Post subject:

Loving this interview. Thanks for the post.
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postandpivot
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:07 pm    Post subject:

even after this interview you will hear your own LGers acting like what pop said about us isn't the truth. people see these badly biased officiating games. and think "The lakers are not good enough we need to make 10 moves to get better". when in reality the refs are calling the games like that to make it fair. its unfair how good the lakers are.
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Master)v(ind
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:06 am    Post subject:

Huh, has the Summer League started already ?
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ďA story about Kobe is the first time they went to be fitted for their USA uniforms and Kobe starts crying. The equipment person asks him what happened and Kobe was like, man, you donít understand, Iíve dreamed of playing for my country."
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bobekryant
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:12 pm    Post subject:

Pop's a great coach, but I'm still bitter about the sweep the spurs gave the lakers in 99 and when they beat them after the three-peat.
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aiko73
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:05 pm    Post subject: nice one..

i too like this old classic favorite..this interview really spelled a lot of doubts and beautiful lines from the players..
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KobeDunk
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:48 am    Post subject:

Popovich is an amazing coach! really, what he gets out of the teams he has is nothing short of a miracle.
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T3R
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:40 am    Post subject:

Beautiful thing is it's still true.
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999
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:58 am    Post subject:

I wish we had greg Popovich as our head coach instead of Mike "(bleep) for Brains" Brown
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kobe.f.bryant
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:59 pm    Post subject:

bump
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Ziggy
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:04 am    Post subject:

kobe.f.bryant wrote:
bump


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12
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:25 pm    Post subject:

Ziggy wrote:
kobe.f.bryant wrote:
bump


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SilverBullet
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:30 pm    Post subject:

The most random ass bump ever.
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