Gregg Popovich admits mistake in handling of LaMarcus Aldridge
Gregg Popovich admitted a mistake in the way he handled LaMarcus Aldridge during the forward’s first two seasons with the team.
The San Antonio Spurs signed Aldridge to a four-year, $80 million contract two years ago. Aldridge did not exactly show his best stuff in those two years, as many of his numbers last season dropped to his lowest since his rookie season. The Spurs did not lose faith in him, though, as they gave Aldridge a three-year, $72.3 million extension this week.
Now entering his third season with the team, Popovich is expecting big things from Aldridge after the two worked things out this summer, with Pop conceding his mistake.
“He just didn’t feel comfortable and it’s 98.75 percent on me, and whatever is left because I can’t subtract that well. I tried to change him,” Popovich said Wednesday, via MySanAntonio.com.
“I thought back to Timmy, and people said, ‘Oh, what are you going to do with Tim Duncan,’” Popovich said. “And I said, ‘Nothing, I’m just going to watch him for six months and see what he does. He’s a pretty good player. And if there’s something that I think I can add, then I’ll do it.’ With LaMarcus, he got here and on day one I said, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this. And (Jack) Sikma did this. And you’re going to do this pump fake.’ I tried to change him. I tried to make him a different player.’”
Popovich said that in conversations with Aldridge this summer, he took responsibility for trying to change Aldridge. Their conversations lead him to feel like the forward will feel more comfortable this season. The Spurs sure could use him to emerge as a strong No. 2 option behind Kawhi Leonard.