Continued from GBB, here.
Well, maybe writing more would help me deal with losses. J.R. Wilco would probably be happy to have some more content. [Editor's Note: I've never said such a thing. I'll gladly take a short series if it means rest for the Spurs. The very thought ... - jrw] Or, not, depending on my mental state while writing.
Did you see Coach Hollins tell Tony Parker that he loved the way he drove to the basket and drew fouls? That was just crazy unexpected. Was Hollins simply complimenting Tony, or was he playing some Jedi mind games?
There is plenty being written analyzing the games so far and recommending adjustments and so I don't want to get into that. But I want to come at if from a completely different perspective. Let's pretend you're a basketball consultant, called in to review games one and two and give some advice. Time is short, so you need to keep things simple. You can give one piece of advice to 3 players and Coach Hollins. Which players would you talk to and what would you say to each of them?
I certainly think Jedi mind games are part of Hollins' repertoire. If you watch him closely, he's always jawing with the refs and the other team's players--especially when they get to close to him. One time earlier this season I saw Dahntay Jones run into him on purpose going for a ball, and Hollins pushed him off and said some things to him. In the postgame presser somebody asked him what was said. "I told him Merry Christmas and happy holidays," Hollins said. "That was all."
I don't doubt that Hollins really is impressed by Parker's ability to draw fouls, but doesn't that also sound like the most passive aggressive thing ever? Like saying, "You know, I'm really impressed with how nicely you're dressed for a hideous person." I think it was probably more of the latter. That seems like the more "Hollins" thing to do.
Here's my advice. To Tony Allen: Never ever shoot a three-pointer again for the rest of the playoffs. Save those for the summer and for February against the Kings and Bobcats. To Tayshaun Prince: Instead of pump-faking from behind the three point line, stepping forward and turning your shot into a long two, and then bricking it, just take the three. You'll still brick it, but on the off chance that it goes in, it's a three. To Marc Gasol: You have to score. You can't always pass. Stop passing when you're wide open to shoot.
All three of those things are things I've been saying all season long, but it's important to refresh the memories of the players, and since I'm a "basketball consultant" they'll maybe listen. Speaking of which, how does one get that job? Where do I apply?
To Hollins I'd say this: I don't think Keyon Dooling should ever see the floor in the second half. You're going to have to let Conley get all of his rest in the first half. If you have to sit Conley for a couple minutes, let Bayless play point. But I'd rather Conley play a lot and win than play Dooling and lose.
What would you say to three Spurs (Spur?) players? What would you say to Pop? Would Pop listen, or would he ridicule you in front of a crowd?
What would I say to 3 Spurs players? I guess it would be this. To Matt Bonner: "If you're going to wrap somebody up, or hack them to prevent a layup, secure the forearms, not the shoulders." He is the king of the And-1 foul. He'll seriously put somebody in a bear hug, and still let them score. To Tiago Splitter: I am reminded of a scene from Glory Road. The line goes like this, "I want you to go out there first time you get the ball and dunk it. Stick your armpits in the rim. I don't care if you have to run somebody over to do it. Send a message." He's big. He's strong. And he can play like that. And he does sometimes. And that opens up his finesse game. But when he plays "soft", he gets bullied and abused, pushed off his spots, and gets no respect from the refs. To Boris Diaw: "The purpose of motion offense is to get an open shot. When you're open, shoot the bleeping ball."
And Pop? Well, Pop tears into people when he doesn't like the context of the situation. I've seen him give interviews where he is very affable, and garrulous, cracking jokes, and being very forthcoming. So I think it would depend on whether he hired me as a consultant or it was put upon him. Let's just assume for arguments' sake that it was put upon him, because that is more fun. So yes, of course, Pop would ridicule me in front of a crowd. What basketball advice would I give Pop? Me: "Hey, have you though about playing Patty Mills more to give your team a spark?" Pop: " Have I thought about it? Have I THOUGHT about it? Of course I've thought about it. He wouldn't be on the team if I didn't THINK about playing him. How much did we pay you to come up with THAT brilliant thought? These guys are men. We don't play games to motivate them. The game itself be enough to get them going. Shoot, maybe I tell them to remember the Alamo, or win one for the Gipper at every timeout. Aye, yi, yi!!!" So maybe, I'd just avoid the basketball question altogether. Me: "Hey Pop, you should think about making a wine with Muscadine Grapes." Pop: "Think about making a . . . I should . . . NO, I'm not going to think about making a wine with Muscadine grapes? Wine? You're going to talk to me about wine? How much tape did you have to watch to come up with that? Hope you didn't stay up too late.
Direct Message: Derek Fisher: Stop having your agent email me begging for roster spot. A) It's illegal B) Karma's a bitch— Gregory Popovich (@FakeCoachPop) May 16, 2013