Pop: “We want to keep him (Manu) around as much as possible”

Pop is the best interview in sports. In addition to that, he does some coaching. Today’s media day was amazing, funny and informative. The Spurs obviously went through a lot in the last year with the drama around Kawhi, Pop admitting he was wrong in the way he coached Aldrige and Manu retiring, ending an era in San Antonio. Kawhi being gone, adding an All-Star in DeMar DeRozan marks a new beginning in San Antonio.

When asked about DeMar, Pop said he has no intentions of repeating his mistake with Aldrige and make him something that he is not. They will suggest some modifications to his game but they will be made ”…if he is willing”. If anyone can build around two mid-range players, it’s the Spurs. Pop also seemed quite impressed with Lonnie Walker, pointing out his inquisitive nature several times during the interview. Manu leaving was obviously a big blow to the team, making him the last one of the core that held the fort in San Antonio.

As Pop explained: “It was sort of a complicated thing because when you’re dependant upon someone for that long a time for a lot of different reasons, not just his play on the court, but just his combination of understanding people, being as curious as he was about everybody on the team, everything in the world, whether its politics, religion, didn’t matter what it was. He was like a partner in that respect, talking on buses and airplanes so you know that that’s gonna be gone. Once I realised he wasn’t gonna play anymore we’ve been talking with him about hanging around and being in practices now and then when he feels like it, like Timmy. We actually took him to our coaches retreat where he spent time with us trying to develop the strategy for the season. So we want to keep him around as much as we can, just like Timmy. And Matt Boner, but we don’t listen to Matt, we just tell him to do his jokes.” He may have a reputation for a tough interview, but his sense of humor is undeniable:

In his interview, DeMar expressed his pleasure in coming to such an organization and learning from Pop and the staff. He emphasized the importance of playing ”where you are wanted”, obviously referencing Toronto. San Antonio has already embraced him and the mural that was painted confused DeMar. He thought it was photoshop at first, but after he realized it was real he said “Damn they love me like this already? It gives you that extra hunger to go out there and do something for the fans, make them better than I felt in that moment.”

photo by Keith Allison