The Spurs have spent the last week speaking with the media for the first time since August when they were in the Bubble, and in some cases like LaMarcus Aldridge, it’s been even longer. They all were excited to be back and ready to build off what they started in Orlando, and perhaps the most notable takeaway from it all is the goal remains the same as ever: the make the playoffs.
Gregg Popovich eluded to as much in his media day appearances, and the theme continued throughout the week. A big requirement for the Spurs to do that will be the main player who missed the Bubble to continue expanding his game to fit the new, up-tempo style the Spurs are aiming for. That means Aldridge will need to expand his three-point game even more than he already has: something he is ready and willing to do if it helps his team win.
LA on fitting in with #Spurs' new up-tempo style of play: "I'm excited. I'm a fan of that style of basketball..." LA on Pop suggesting he will shoot even more 3s: "I support that and feel really comfortable with it."— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) December 2, 2020
Patty Mills is also excited about the new style of play, and is ready to take what he learned from mostly watching in Orlando to heart:
Patty on #Spurs' new up-tempo style of play: "It allows guys like DeMar and our wing players to play with more freedom and (for guys) to shoot more 3s...It's a fun way to play and exciting way to play."— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) December 2, 2020
Patty said his biggest takeaway from staying on the bench at the bubble was "how I can still improve and the potential there and how I can impact our play...I'm looking forward to laying it all on the line."— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) December 2, 2020
Despite being at far different points in their careers, Lonnie Walker IV and Rudy Gay both put in extra work during the abbreviated offseason to take their games to another level, with Gay seemingly taking page out of Tim Duncan’s book by taking weight off of his aging body.
Lonnie Walker said he took three days off after the Orlando bubble, then began work toward his third NBA season.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) December 3, 2020
He spent much of that time working out in LA with Jrue Holiday, a player Walker says he would like to emulate on both ends.
Rudy Gay said he has dropped 10 pounds: “As you get older and play longer, you try to become as mobile as possible. Me bulking up is probably not conducive to what this game is going to….I ended up losing weight and I feel good and ready to go.” #Spurs— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) December 3, 2020
Dejounte Murray, as he usually is, was perhaps the most candid and honest about the team’s desire to improve on last season’s underwhelming performance, seemingly embracing the role of underdog and the need to earn the media’s respect again.
Dejounte Murray, when asked about a season that likely won’t include much national TV exposure: “It’s fair. We didn’t make the playoffs last year...We got to make them put us on national TV.” #Spurs— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) December 4, 2020
And he ended his conference by laying the foundation for this season’s Spurs:
The Spurs' Dejounte Murray ended his 15-minute Zoom session with reporters today with an ultimatum: "It’s a must that we get to the playoffs this year.”— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) December 4, 2020
Even if you would prefer this team just tank and get a high lottery draft pick, it will be impossible not to root for them to succeed. You can click the links below to see the entirety of the press conferences videos.