Opposing Coach View: Gregg Popovich

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich held his usual pregame presser prior to the Lakers’ Tuesday evening tilt against San Antonio, producing enough interesting comments to relay:

- Popovich opened by answering a question about whether or not his three best players (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker) would play, given the fact that the Spurs are in a back-to-back-to-back, though all three played limited minutes in a Monday win: “Everyone’s available and ready to go … they were available and ready to go last time we played, and we got humiliated, so I figure we better at least have them all.”

- When asked about how much Duncan gets his coaching on, the question regarding how active Kobe Bryant has been in recent games, Pop quipped: “Duncan doesn’t let me say a word most of the time. He’s been a thorn in my side for 15 years, and I don’t know how much longer I can take it.” How does Popovich deal with it? “I’m a hell of a guy.”

- Several questions followed about his philosophy on sitting guys, which basically comes down to taking the long view. He’s more interested in health than seeding: “You don’t want to win the battle and lose the war.”

- On the emergence of Andrew Bynum: “He looks like a totally different player to me. He looks so much more confident … he almost has a sign on his head like, ‘I’ve arrived.’ He’s confident in knowing what he can do, and the team knows what he can do, so you see him down low – it’s a great inside-out team. We used to play inside-out to that degree when Timmy was younger for obvious reasons, and Bynum is showing that there’s a reason they’re throwing him the ball down there so much. He’s done a great job.”

- On how that brings Gasol out to the perimeter more: “It just makes them that much more difficult to guard. He’s gone from the 5 position in some ways to the shooting 4 to some degree – not totally like a Matt Bonner – but he’s versatile. He can get it on the post or he can be that 4 man that spreads the court, so it makes them really, really dangerous and difficult to guard.”

- On what Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw have added to the Spurs: “Stephen adds an edge. He’s a player that’s been here before, knows our team and our system and is real close to Timmy, Manu and Tony. I like his grit, his edge. It’s something we can use on our club. And Boris is one of those high intelligence, IQ guys. He understands the game really well and can help in a lot of different ways. It adds to the overall sense of the team.