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#pounditSunday, January 16, 2022

Gregg Popovich

Gregg Popovich rips Spurs for ‘pathetic performance’ despite win

Gregg Popovich

The San Antonio Spurs may have won on Tuesday night, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell based on Gregg Popovich’s postgame interview.

The Spurs needed a last-second shot from Rudy Gay to top the Suns 126-124. Maybe it’s because they were facing an 11-42 team, but Pop felt like his Spurs did not put forth their best effort. He ripped his team after the game, saying they were “outplayed, outcoached” by the Suns, who got robbed.

Between this and calling a timeout 16 seconds into a recent game, it’s clear Pop is trying to send a message to his team. He is not satisfied with their play and wants them to know it.

San Antonio may be 30-22, but Pop knows that is not good enough in what is a tough and competitive Western Conference.

Gregg Popovich: Praise for opponents from coaches is ‘baloney’

Gregg Popovich

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is not really known to be a sentimental guy, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that he’s not really interested in coaches praising rival players.

Popovich said it’s “baloney” when NBA coaches praise their opponent’s players, adding that it “doesn’t mean anything.”

It’s safe to say the reporter won’t get the quote he was looking for about Bradley Beal’s ball-handling. Popovich won’t even accept praise from his former assistants, so don’t count on him dishing it out freely himself.

Popovich explains why he held out DeMar DeRozan for final play

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan was on the bench for the final play in Wednesday’s San Antonio Spurs-Philadelphia 76ers game, leading to some questions. Following the game, Gregg Popovich shared his reasoning for the decision.

Popovich says he held DeRozan out because he wanted his best 3-point shooters on the floor.

The Spurs lost to the Sixers 122-120. DeRozan was blocked on a go-ahead layup attempt on the Spurs’ previous possession, which might have upset Popovich.

DeRozan had 26 points in the game and is the Spurs’ leading scorer. Seeing him out for the play was surprising, but it makes sense since DeRozan isn’t a 3-point shooter. This isn’t the first time DeRozan’s been benched at the end of a game before, as the same thing also happened in Toronto. We’ll see if it creates any hard feelings.

Gregg Popovich has funny response to praise from Brett Brown

Gregg Popovich

Gregg Popovich had a funny response to praise he received from Brett Brown ahead of Wednesday’s game between their teams.

Brown, who was an assistant coach under Popovich in San Antonio, called Pop the best NBA coach ever. Pop gave a straight-faced response, saying Brown is full of s—.

The video is below but contains the profanity:

Brown was part of the Spurs’ organization from 1998-1999 and 2002-2013 before getting the head coaching job with the Philadelphia 76ers. His Sixers enter the game with the better record, but Pop having San Antonio 27-21 the season after losing Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, is as impressive as ever.

Gregg Popovich unsure if he will coach Spurs beyond this season

Gregg Popovich

Gregg Popovich may be in the final year of the most recent five-year extension he signed with the San Antonio Spurs, but it goes without saying that the franchise would have him as long as he’d like to stay. As of now, there is no guarantee that time frame will extend beyond the current season.

Popovich, who will turn 70 later this month, told Marc Stein of the New York Times on Wednesday that he is unsure if he will be back coaching next season.

“I don’t know the answer,” the five-time NBA champion said.

Popovich added that he has discussed his future with Spurs president RC Buford, and Buford basically said Pop can stay as long as he wants to.

“He’ll coach as long as he wants to coach,” the executive said.

The revamped Spurs are 26-20 and appear poised reach the postseason yet again. They have rebounded nicely after an 11-14 start, and they look like they are finally coming into their own with Kawhi Leonard out of the mix and DeMar DeRozan leading the way. Popovich is always going to have new challenges, but the question is how much energy he has remaining to tackle them.

Pop has already shown us this season that his sense of humor remains intact, but he may decide after the season that he has accomplished everything he possibly can. No one would blame him for that.

Gregg Popovich hopes Spurs fans treat Kawhi Leonard with respect

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard will return to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Thursday night for the first time since being traded to the Toronto Raptors. Even though the freshness of Leonard forcing his way out of San Antonio is prominent in the minds of the fans, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich says he hopes the fans will be able to brush that aside.

“I don’t speak for other people but I hope we treat everybody with kindness and respect,” Popovich said Wednesday, via News4SanAntonio. “We always have in the past.”

Leonard gave the Spurs six great seasons before beginning to check out on them last season. The fans can choose to remember that and welcome Leonard accordingly, or they can choose to still feel upset over Leonard deciding he didn’t want to play for the team anymore and leaving them. If they still need more time to get over that, that would be understandable, but over time he should receive cheers from the fans.

Bulls’ Jim Boylen says Gregg Popovich has privately offered support

Jim Boylen

Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen, under siege from his players, has leaned on mentor Gregg Popovich for support.

Boylen served as an assistant under Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs from 2013 to 2015 and has clearly used him as a coaching influence. The two apparently still speak, as Boylen said Popovich has privately offered him support as he clashes with his players.

Boylen has actually used some of the tactics Popovich has used on his Bulls players. That has clearly backfired, and Boylen was told he has a long way to go before he can consider himself in the same league as the Spurs’ coach. Regardless, Popovich is apparently supporting him, for whatever it’s worth.

Gregg Popovich trolls DeMar DeRozan with funny defense comment

Gregg Popovich

Defense is not exactly known as DeMar DeRozan’s strong suit, but Gregg Popovich may be on a mission to change that this season.

Speaking with the media earlier in the week, the San Antonio Spurs coach trolled his new shooting guard with a funny comment about his defensive play. A reporter told Popovich that DeRozan had said that he was looking forward to getting easier shots now that he was a member of the Spurs.

“I don’t why he said that because we’re only going to play him on the defensive end,” Popovich replied. “We’re not throwing him the ball. I forgot to tell him that. You guys can go ahead and tell him so he knows.”

DeRozan, who was acquired by the Spurs from the Toronto Raptors in July as part of the Kawhi Leonard trade, is a four-time All-Star and has scored 20 or more points per game in each of the last five seasons. He has been known as a defensive minus for much of his nine-year NBA career though.

It’s safe to say that DeRozan probably won’t mind the friendly jab however, as he has held his new head coach Popovich in high regard for many years now.

H/T NBA Reddit

Gregg Popovich reportedly met with Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

The San Antonio Spurs are not going to let Kawhi Leonard dictate his way out of town without at least putting up a fight. In fact, one report says Gregg Popovich met with Kawhi Leonard on Tuesday, two days before the NBA Draft.

Yahoo’s Shams Charania reported the information, saying the two met in San Diego (Leonard attended San Diego State for college).

Despite all the talk about Leonard wanting out, he is actually under contract for the upcoming season at just over $20 million. He has a player option for the following season which he would decline to become a free agent.

His situation heated up on Friday following a report saying that he wants out of San Antonio after a season full of drama. Leonard has not done much talking, but instead it appears to be his representatives controlling the situation.

Would the Spurs want to keep a disgruntled player around next season based on all the drama they endured last season? Probably not, so they would likely consider trades, although they reportedly have no desire to help out their competitors.

Spurs say Gregg Popovich’s wife Erin has died

Gregg Popovich

The San Antonio Spurs shared some sad news on Wednesday evening.

The team said that Erin Popovich, the wife of Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, has died.

“We mourn the loss of Erin,” Spurs General Manager RC Buford said in a statement. “She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who provided love, support and humor to all of us.”

The Popovichs were married for four decades and have two children and two grandchildren. Pop credited his wife as being the reason for him treating sideline reporters better.