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San Antonio Spurs 2019-2020 season thread: Just here for the HEB commercials

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DeRozan is awful. Toronto has to be laughing their asses off, they ditched a playoff choker holding their team back for 2 one year rentals and won a championship out of the deal and they're STILL in the mix to make a return to the finals. My outlook on this season is changing drastically. I felt before the season began the Spurs could contend for a 4-5 seed and possibly get past the semis with a favorable match up.  I'm not sure if they're even 8 seed material, this is becoming uglier and uglier. I'd rather slam my dick in the door than watch DeRozan herp and derp another minute at the 3.

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On 10/29/2019 at 11:23 AM, Patrick Bateman said:

Fun stat.

 

This post screwed us, although it could be argued that the coaches and players are to blame. 

At least we have ~3 years before we catch up to Houston.

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They need to go serious fire-sale. Portland is in desperation mode. Try to get them to give up Jurkic and Collins plus filler for LMA. They get a chance to take advantage a rapidly closing Dame-CJ window and the Spurs get to tank while acquiring young talent on favorable deals to speed up the rebuild.

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Maybe this makes me a bad fan, but S.A.'s decline doesn't bother me so much. The Spurs had a great run, one of the best in league history, and maintained a level of excellence few other fanbases get to enjoy. Plus, we got to watch two of the all-time most competitive and charismatic players in Timmeh and  Manu (Tony was great, as well, but you know what I mean).

If the Lakers hadn't been so good (thanks to their big-market status in attracting FAs like prime Shaq and to getting prime Pau for virtually nothing), or if Lebron hadn't been cherrypicking teams and teammates, the Spurs would've had a few more rings in addition to the five they did win.

I mean--damn!--what a run.

The only thing that really, really sucks about the decline is it was precipitated/accelerated by a lying, malingering piece of shit who, thanks to the revisionism of short-term memories and last season's championship, is now seen by the majority as justified.

DDR is a poor fit, but it's not his fault he was shipped here. He's been a good teammate, he's just a fraction of the player Kawhi is ... on both ends of the court.

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Really cool article from The Athletic on Pop from guys who didn't spend very much time on the team

"Keith Langford (2007-08, 2 games): I’m not a Spurs fan by any means. But I’ll defend them tooth and nail like I am a fan. That’s how impactful my experience and time was."

Spoiler

Gregg Popovich is best known for his long relationships with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, David Robinson and Tony Parker.

This is not their story.

This story is about the guys who played for Popovich for only a year, sometimes less. A few of the 14 players interviewed appeared in only a handful of games with the Spurs, and yet many of them talk about Popovich as if they had been with him for years.

Shawnelle Scott (2001-02, 27 games): The one season I had with Pop and the Spurs significantly impacted my life.

Tony Massenburg (1990-92, 2004-05, 97 games): That’s my guy. I have no problem ever talking about him.

Andrew Gaze (1988-99, 19 games): As I went into coaching, the vast majority of the time I would be thinking on tough situations, “What would Pop do? How would he handle it?” just based on that very, very brief, limited experience I had with him. Between him and my father, those two were the people I would think back on most to say, “How would they handle this situation?”

Damon Stoudamire (2007-08, 31 games): Oh, man. I can go on and on. Now you’re bringing back the memories.

Keith Langford (2007-08, 2 games): I’m not a Spurs fan by any means. But I’ll defend them tooth and nail like I am a fan. That’s how impactful my experience and time was.


Just about all the players in this story remember the first time they met Popovich, either because of his bluntness or warm encouragement.

Matt Carroll (2003-04, 3 games): I was in the D-League and was brought in for a tryout. I remember his handshake. He looked me right in the eye and said, “We’ve had our eye on you and we like what you’ve done and we’re trying to see if you’d be the right fit to round out our roster.” It was just the sincerity of how he spoke.

James White (2006-07, 6 games): My agent called me and said, “Hey, the Spurs are going to get you. Gregg Popovich is going to call you.” So I was like, “Damn, Gregg Popovich is going to call me. That’s dope.” He calls me, and I’m all excited to talk to him. He goes, “You’re going to be joining our team, but I’m letting you know right now, you’re not going to play at all.”

Scott: The first thing he said when I got on the court was, “Get in shape.” I thought I was in shape already. I was working my butt off and that’s how I got there in the first place. I don’t know what it was, but that just stuck with me. Every single day I just wanted to work hard.

White: One of the first times I was on the team plane, he told me to come sit next to him. I was scared, like “What is he about to say?” I was more nervous than anything. But then he started talking to me about my family, my background, asking questions about who I am as a person.

DerMarr Johnson (2007-08, 5 games): One of the first games I played was against the Knicks. I got into the second quarter, and I had like seven or eight quick points. Then I didn’t play the rest of the game. After the game, he said that we won the game because of what I came in and did in the second quarter. He gave me that recognition.

Gaze: I was in the later stages of my career. … (a Spurs representative) came up to me when I was at the World Cup in Greece. I said, “Mate, have you lost your mind? Do you understand how old I am?” One of the things that stuck out to me from that conversation is that Pop liked the joy with which I played. He liked the way I interacted with my teammates. He liked the way I was around to watch other games. It wasn’t the jump shot or the points. It was almost like he was watching these other things that were just as important.

Jason Hart (2001-02, 2003-04, 63 games): I had just been signed in 2003. I was playing against the Lakers. I was the starting point guard because Tony Parker was hurt. We were playing against Karl Malone and Gary Payton. To make me feel comfortable, he told me, “Go out and shoot everything.” He knew I wouldn’t, but he told me to shoot all the balls. That was just him saying, “Relax and have fun.”

Langford: It was before my first game. I was in the development league and they called me up. I got there and it was a crash course on everything. Right before the game, I’m walking down the hall going back to the locker room. Pop comes out of nowhere, grabs me, takes me into a room. It’s just me and him. He sits across from me and he’s like, “What do you think I expect from you tonight?” I had no idea how to answer that question. I’m stumbling over my words. And he’s like, “Just be yourself, Keith. That’s all I need you to do tonight. Let’s go.” I remember it like he was sitting across from me right now. I was that overwhelmed, and yet it was that simple at the same time.

Just about everyone also remembers the way he ripped players a new one, from the best player on the team to the last guy on the bench.

White: You have coaches who yell at the guy who’s not a superstar for the same thing the superstar is doing so the superstar gets the point. Not Popovich.

Pop-quote-1024x576.jpeg
(Chris Covatta / Getty Images)

Pops Mensah-Bonsu (2008-09, 3 games): I was playing in a game, and I messed up a defensive assignment. He takes me out of the game, yells at me and sends me to the end of the bench. … The next quarter, Tim Duncan literally makes the same mistake. I was assuming that Pop would just leave him in. But he subs him out and yells at Tim Duncan the exact same way and sends him to the bench right next to me. Timmy’s response summed up their relationship and how the Spurs have been successful for so many years. He looked at him and said, “You’re right, Coach,” and sat right down next to me on the bench. That summed up my whole experience in San Antonio.

Johnson: My first practice with the Spurs, Pop was just drilling into Tony Parker. He was like, “You did absolutely nothing last night.”

Scott: We just played the Lakers and Shaq was just killing us. Pop was getting pissed off because it was dunk after dunk. He was picking on David (Robinson) and was like, “David, you’re one of the 50 greatest players to ever play the game and you’re letting this guy do this.” David’s always cool and was like, “Jesus, Pop, the guy’s 300 pounds. What do you want me to do?”

Stoudamire: We played Sacramento toward the end of the year, and we had struggled and lost some games. After the game that night in Sacramento, he chased Tim (Duncan) into the shower. Pop wouldn’t let it go. Yes. Tim was in the shower, and he was still barking.

Carroll: He would lose his mind and just go off.

Johnson: We played Denver, the team I was with the year before. I’m telling Timmy, “Kenyon (Martin) believes he can guard you one-on-one. They’re not going to call the double on you, and Kenyon has quick hands. So when you try to hold the ball out, Kenyon’s going to smack at it.” I think we lost that game, and Kenyon might have smacked the ball out of Tim’s hands like eight times. After the game, Pop was like, “You’re supposed to be the best power forward of all time, you’re supposed to be a leader to these guys, and you played like shit. You were soft and you ain’t shit.” Wow. That was all new to me.

Speedy Claxton (2002-03, 30 games): I was splitting time with Tony Parker. Then I started playing more, and in one of the games, I dove for the loose ball and dislocated my shoulder. I was out for a little bit. That’s when Tony Parker really became Tony Parker. So when I came back, I thought I was going to be Tony’s backup. But the first game I didn’t play. Second game, he didn’t put me in again. This was during my contract year so I really needed to show what I could do. By the third or fourth game, he played me for a couple minutes when the game was over. Once he put me in, I didn’t play hard. After the game, he called me into the office and he ripped me a new one. He was like, “Don’t you ever play like that. That’s not you. You’re not that kind of person.” He said, “Whenever you step out on the court, you give 100 percent. You never know who’s watching you. We could be watching you for next year, or someone else could be watching you for next year.” Right from there he gained my respect totally, and from that point on, I never did that again.

Johnson: I remember him yelling at me one time because I complained about a call. He told me, “Run back on fucking defense. You can’t fucking complain about calls. You don’t have the right to complain about fucking calls.”

Scott: I had brand new shoes, and they were slipping. I was playing against Malik Rose, and I was sliding and Malik was just killing me. Pop is just riding me: “You can’t stay in front of him!” He was just ripping me. But the last thing I was going to tell Pop was, “Excuse me, Pop, my shoes are slipping.”

Langford: He was always trying to get me to be more aggressive, and one time he said in front of everybody, “Keith, stop playing like you don’t know if you’re going to make the team. Play like you’re on the team.”

Stoudamire: So check it out. We were staying at a Hyatt in Sacramento, and there was a park across the street. You can call anybody on that team and confirm this just so you know I’m not bullshitting.

Johnson: We were on the bus to go to the plane the next morning. He said, “Everybody get off the bus.” It’s early in the morning. We had to follow him.

Stoudamire: We go into the park, and there’s a homeless guy sitting on the bench, right? He’s minding his own business in the park. And Pop asks the guy, “Excuse me, can we have a meeting real quick?”

Johnson: He’s like, “Sit right here. Sit in the grass.” Some guys didn’t want to sit in the grass because it was still wet. He was like, “Man, I’ll buy you new clothes. Just sit in the damn grass.” He sat down and just started calmly letting guys have it. “Bruce Bowen, you’re a prima donna. You don’t play defense anymore like people say you do.” He just went down the line. And the thing is, all the stuff he’s saying, he’s right about.

Stoudamire: That was it! That was the one. I never saw a dude chew out his best players the way he did.

GettyImages-2744643-e1573837460356.jpg
Speedy Claxton receives his 2003 championship ring from Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich. (D. Clarke Evans / Getty Images)

Quincy Pondexter (2018-19, 53 games): One of my favorite stories is we had practice time scheduled, and we went into the film room and instead of watching clips or talking about basketball, he put on “March of the Penguins.”

Marcus Williams (2007-08, 2008-09, 3 games): “March of the Penguins” is a favorite. I think we watched it a couple times while I was there.

Pondexter: Then we went on the court and stretched for practice. There was like 10 minutes on the clock for stretching and we got to about five minutes and he said, “Oh, well, that’s good.” That was amazing.

White: Wives could fly with the team sometimes. I haven’t seen that anywhere else.

Stoudamire: You got to enjoy beautiful weather in San Antonio — and your family.

Mensah-Bonsu: He always said that life was more important. That’s why I call him a leader. I don’t look at him as a coach. If I was working for him in a factory, I would still follow his lead. Or if I was working for him in an office, I would still like to work with somebody with those characteristics.

Pondexter: Even in our film rooms or TVs around the facility, it wouldn’t be SportsCenter on. It would be CNN or the news.

White: The culture there, it was different. It was the second time I played. We were blowing them out, and I came in the game to get buckets. I beat Matt Barnes and I’m about to go dunk the ball. As soon as I took off, he two-hand shoved me. I jumped off one leg, so when he pushed me, I landed hard on my hip. Real hard. A normal me would have got up and tried to do something. But when I was on the ground, I thought, “Don’t do nothing stupid because that’s not part of the culture. They wouldn’t do that.”

Jason Sasser (1996-97, 6 games): Sean Elliott was coming to pick me up from the hotel for practice every day. I went to Popovich because he showed me that openness and said, “Hey, Pop, I really appreciate the players taking the time out to come pick me up, but I really need my own transportation so I can get to the gym early.” He said, “No problem. Just go down to the rental car place and get whatever you need.” I was like, “OK, that easy?” I went down the dealership and since he said I could get anything, I got something real nice.

Williams: We were playing the Cavs. I think Mo Williams got the ball in the corner and LeBron did a small banana cut to about the free-throw line, caught it, took one or two dribbles and dunked it. Pop went nuts. We’re thinking he’s mad at the way we’re playing, and he turns around and goes, “He took one freaking dribble! Did you guys see that? He took one dribble.” He was just impressed by his athletic ability, like, “Wow! Did you guys see that?”

Gaze: One of the funniest things — this is incredible — we played in Phoenix and Sean Elliott hit a buzzer-beater, and we were excited in the locker room, jumping around and happy. Pop comes in and strips off! Literally stripped off! It was funny, but it was also him baring himself to the team. It wasn’t just some lunatic who wanted to get naked or had a fetish about getting naked. It was an expression of joy, but there was also this metaphor in there about laying yourself bare. There is a method to the madness.

Massenburg: He’s the only coach that I ever played for that, when things weren’t going right in the game, he’d call a timeout and just say, “You guys figure out. You know what’s going on out there. You guys fix it.”

Stoudamire: We had lost to New Orleans, and we were down 0-2. New Orleans smacked our ass by 20 two times. So we get on the plane, and we know we’re going home for two. He grabs the mic and said, “Guys, all they did was hold serve. They beat us twice on their home floor. Let’s just go home and win two, and we’re fine.” We go home and we win two games. We come back to New Orleans and they smack our ass again so we’re down 3-2. Pop said, “Guys, we’re all right. We’ve just got to go home and win one game.” We win one game and go back to New Orleans. We get ready for a game seven, and he cancels shootaround. He’s like, “We’ve been here before. We know what it takes. We know what we’ve gotta do.” And we won.

Another common theme: Many players respected him because of how he released them.

Mensah-Bonsu: The reason why he cut me just sums up Pop.

Langford: It was actually the moment he cut me that is very significant and why I hold Pop the way I do.

Mensah-Bonsu: He was like, “Look, you played well while you were here. Toronto is struggling right now, and it seems like from what I’m hearing they could use you and you could probably get more minutes there. So we’re going to release you and allow you to go to Toronto.” I was forever grateful for that because that kind of propelled my career in the NBA.

Langford: We were in Miami. I’m sitting in my room the day after the game, and I get a knock on my door. I look through the peephole and it’s Pop. I’m like, “Damn, what does Pop want?” I open the door and he’s like, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” He tells me to sit down in the chair and he sits down on the bed, right across from me. He just goes down from the moment I got there, what he thought, how much better he thought I got. He was like, “I really think you’re a talented player. There were a couple things I wanted you to do that I didn’t think you grasped … and I wanted you to be a little more aggressive in these situations. But I talked to the whole staff and the entire staff agreed that you’re the type of guy that would be good for the team.” This may be a little dramatic, but he was a little glassy-eyed. He was like, “I really just think you deserve it to be in the NBA, and I hate to do it, but I wanted to do this face to face with you.” I stand up and reach my hand out. He doesn’t shake my hand. He pulls me in, gives me a hug and reassures me to keep working.

Carroll: I’ll never forget my exit interview. He sits me down and tells me, “Listen, you’re a Spurs guy. You’re the type of guy we want here. But looking into next season, as far as minutes, we’ve got Brent Barry, Manu Ginobli. You’re going third, fourth, maybe fifth on the list here.” He goes, “In order to make it in this league, you’ve got to play early on. Next year, unless something drastic happens, it’s going to be hard.” I wanted to be there. I was dying to be in San Antonio. But I really took it to heart and made the decision to go try out for another team and made my way.

Langford: Mind you, I’ve been cut before. Usually it’s the trainer or the guy of the guy. He asks you where you want your ticket and where you’re going.

Stoudamire: He’s fair. They weren’t going to sign me back. We talked on the phone for a while, and he said, “Damon, as we move forward, anything I can do to help you, I’ll help you.” Usually that type of stuff is from your agent or you just don’t get the call. But he reached out, and he didn’t have to do that.

Carroll: I could really tell he had my best interests at heart.

Sasser: Popovich came to me after my first 10-day contract was over. I had done really well, and he came to me and said, “Hey, Jason, we really, really like you and we want to sign you to another 10-day. The decision is up to you. We’ve just been notified that you’ve made the CBA All-Star game, and we don’t know if you want to go back and participate in that. You can, but we really want you to be with us.”

Gaze: All those things were done with compassion.

Most of these guys haven’t played for Popovich in years. Gaze hasn’t been with him in two decades. Same for Scott and Sasser. And yet …

Scott: That one year changed my mindset and outlook on basketball. It just stayed with me the rest of my life. I’m coaching now, and those same philosophies I have in me … I’m just so blessed that I got to play for him.

Gaze: He was very significant in the way he held people accountable, yet he was still able to develop and maintain very, very close bonds. I had not seen Pop in a long time, but when I saw him and embraced him at the World Championships when he was the coach of the United States team, he calls me from the back of a press conference, calls me up and gives me a hug.

White: I want to coach too, and the one thing I take away isn’t even about the X’s and O’s. It’s just how he treated people.

Sasser: That’s my experience, too.

Scott: Pop is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met.

Claxton: He’ll take the whole team out to dinner on the road at the drop of a dime and drop $10,000 on one night.

Mensah-Bonsu: When I was scouting for him, he gave us a book by Ta-Nehisi Coates called “Between the World and Me.” I still go back and look through and read it at times. It’s powerful because it came from him. It’s not something you open one time. It’s something I’m going to refer to for the rest of my life.

Claxton: I knew he had my back. I knew he really wanted the best for me.

Gaze: I received a letter from Pop last year that had nothing to do with basketball. It was just about being thankful, being grateful … He took some time to write a handwritten letter to send to me. Who the hell am I? I was bordering on the most irrelevant player in the history of the Spurs, but he still took the time to respond to my well-wishes (after the 2018 death of Popovich’s wife, Erin). That speaks to what he’s all about. I want to be like that. I want to have that same type of impact on people.

Scott: I can’t wait to see him again and just tell him, “Thank you. Thank you for giving me the mindset. Thanks for letting me be there and consume all this basketball knowledge and all these really quality characteristics.” That’s the best part. You talk about two masters degrees later, man. The whole Pop mindset is you’re striving for excellence. You have to try to do your absolute best. You’re talking about two masters degrees later. I don’t know if I would have had the mindset to do that if I didn’t play for the Spurs for that one year.

(Top photo: Garrett W. Ellwood / NBAE via Getty Images)

 

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On 11/17/2019 at 10:27 AM, Llogg said:

They need to go serious fire-sale. Portland is in desperation mode. Try to get them to give up Jurkic and Collins plus filler for LMA. They get a chance to take advantage a rapidly closing Dame-CJ window and the Spurs get to tank while acquiring young talent on favorable deals to speed up the rebuild.

fire sale? we're one step above a pulga on the edge of the bad side of town.

ropa usada? we got it. used baby furniture and strollers. that's us.

aside from DJM - there really inst much meat on our bone.

just play it out - as middling to bad as  it is going to be. 

take our #8 or 9 pick* and hopefully get lucky. (*we didn't trade that did we???)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Coach pop a bitch said:

Anybody else having a hard time streaming the games through foxsportsgo? It only gives me option for ousux basketball

Spurs app. Games on Kens and they stream through the app for free.

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