Monday, November 27, 2017

Greg Popovich Speaks About The Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs have been hot lately! They just beat the Clippers, again, coming out strong after halftime. They’re up to a season high 33 assists, and they’re dominating opponents in the third quarter. The Spurs are showing themselves to be the team to beat this year.

Popovich Says

Coach Gregg Popovich applauds his team’s ball movement. He notes they are really getting more guys involved this year, showing a balance in the box score.

Pop says the offense is making the right reads, from cutters to skip passes, finding the faults in their opponents’ rotations.

He notes the team is also making a lot of their shots, which helps.  He says, “Making shots does make things simpler.” He notes that’s been a problem in the past.

Pop isn’t all complimentary, though. He notes the defense still needs some work. “Our defense still has to get better — and it’ll take some time with the new guys, and the combinations that are out there right now.”
If the defense does put in the time, and the team gets healthy, there’s no reason to think this team won’t go all the way.

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Kawhi’s Recovery is Slower than Expected

Coach Popovich provided an update on Kawhi Leonard this week. He says Kawhi’s situation is a bit difficult to read right now. Kawhi is having trouble getting through his rehab routines, so his body is just not where it needs to be yet. However, Coach Pop is confident things are heading in the right direction.

So far, Leonard has missed more than 10 games due to right quadriceps tendinopathy. Pop says he’s just “coming along more slowly" than expected. He says it’s been difficult, but they aren’t counting Kawhi out.
Leonard las played for the Spurs since the Western Conference Finals, which he missed because of an ankle injury. He was on the injured list during training camp and hasn’t yet practiced with the team.

He underwent surgery this offseason to repair that ruptured quadriceps tendon. Kawhi will have to make it through the entire rehab process before he’ll be allowed to return to practice. Pop says he wouldn’t feel comfortable having him jump right from rehab to the court.

He says he wants to make sure Kawhi has his confidence back, too. "I wouldn't want him to go right from rehab to jumping on the court….(I want him to) feel comfortable because, in the end, that confidence is what's going to ... anybody who's been out for any length of time has to get that back. Even if the doctors say, 'Yep, you're ready to go.' You're really not until you're mentally ready to go."

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Stepping Up

But, it’s not all bad news, obviously, since the Spurs are heating up the court. They’ve seen some positive things come from their other players, as everyone is required to step up in the absence of their best player, Leonard.

Kyle Anderson now has Leonard’s spot, and Bryn Forbes is getting more playing time, as is rookie Brandon Paul. We’re seeing great things from them.

As veteran Manu Ginobli says, any time a team has to adjust and make due without their main player, everyone has to step up their games and find their confidence. Which is exactly what the Spurs have done so far this season.

And Patty Mills, the Spurs’ veteran point guard, says that while they definitely miss Leonard, having to go without him is giving other players a real opportunity to show their stuff.

"It's giving other people an opportunity to play,” he says. “Kyle (Anderson) has come in and been able to find a rhythm and a sense of confidence in himself to be able to contribute. So in that sense, it's good," Mills said. "We never want to be without players. But it's also giving other guys a sense of responsibility to be able to fulfill their roles and not just guys at Kawhi's position, but everyone around them as well.”

Mills admits there are just times when Kawhi seems to make magic on the court, but since they don’t have him right now, they are making sure the rest of the squad makes things happen. They’re all adding a little extra effort, trying to make a bit of magic on their own.

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In Other News

So far this season, Rudy Gay has three 20-point games. He’s looking great as of late, and the lineup just looks great when he’s in it.

As for Derrick White, the fracture he suffered in his wrist won’t need surgery, so there’s one less player to worry about. He will, however, be sporting a cast for a month or so.

See the Spurs Live

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