Spurs Media Day came and went earlier today, which means NBA training camps officially open in less than 24 hours. It also means this new-look San Antonio squad is merely weeks away from kicking off another highly anticipated season of Silver and Black basketball.
PATFO showed off some familiar and fresh faces, giving local media a chance to speak with players and coaches in person for the first time in more than a year. So, without further ado, here’s a brief round-up of the happenings inside the AT&T Center on Monday.
Pop got straight to the point, letting everyone know the Spurs are fully vaccinated and ready to play.
Popovich says every Spurs player is vaccinated.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) September 27, 2021
The oldest coach in the league joked about his age as he discussed getting his COVID-19 booster shot.
Pop says vaccination-wise the San Antonio Spurs are ready to go. He also jokingly adds "I even got my third one, the booster, since I'm over 90-years-old."— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) September 27, 2021
He had some fun playing reporter, crashing a press conference, and getting a good laugh out of those in attendance.
Breaking news: Pop takes a break from coaching to become a reporter. Realizes after a few seconds that he is extremely overqualified and returns to coaching. pic.twitter.com/YNFD5Y1CJO— Raul Dominguez Jr. (@Abrjsdad) September 27, 2021
And he kept the jokes coming, telling reporters Manu Ginobili joined San Antonio’s front office because “his wife needed him gone.”
“His wife needed him gone…we like Many (Manu’s wife) better than him.”— Maddy Skye (@MaddySkye) September 27, 2021
- Coach Pop on how he got Manu Ginobili back in the fold as a special advisor. pic.twitter.com/ChqM7jfzRj
The legendary play-caller got a little more serious as he talked about San Antonio’s roster construction and playstyle.
Pop says "this group is young, energetic, has a lot of speed. I just talked to them briefly about the fact that there's no need to pace yourself. Nobody is gonna play 39 minutes a game. We're not worried about stats or individual honors. These guys are gonna have a ball playing."— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) September 27, 2021
Gregg Popovich took time to address bringing back Bryn Forbes a year after he departed the organization and won a title with the Bucks.
Pop on having Bryn back:— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) September 27, 2021
"Bryn is great people. He has a skill that we can use, obviously, because he shoots so well. He’s been a member of the family, so to have him back is great."
He also candidly answered questions about how the team will handle crunch time now that DeMar DeRozan is no longer a Spur.
Pop says the uncertainty of who will grab what role, including that of closer, is as "exciting as hell" to him and the players:— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) September 27, 2021
"I have no idea who I am going to give it to, or what play we are going to run. That’s something we are going to figure out as we move along here."
Keldon was up next, talking about his Olympic experience and how he got back in the gym the second he returned to the 2-1-0.
Keldon Johnson says "right after the Olympics it was like what do I have to do next? What is it that I have to work on to make myself better and be the best version of Keldon Johnson for my team so that we're in the best scenario to win."— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) September 27, 2021
The third-year forward spoke on Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, and DeMar DeRozan and how they’ll overcome the loss of key veterans.
Keldon says "Rudy, DeMar, Patty, they're all amazing players. We definitely miss them but we all come together as a team. We all come together and make up for the losses that we have. And we'll just go out there and compete."— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) September 27, 2021
Johnson discussed the importance of the team being 100% vaccinated and how the Spurs are raring to get back on the court.
Keldon Johnson says "it's a big relief that everybody is vaccinated but we're not really a big going out group. We go grab dinner together but we're not big party guys. I feel like we're all locked in. It's great that we're all vaccinated but we're all focused and locked in."— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) September 27, 2021
But he was also his usual goofy self, using his “Big Body” to video-bomb Derrick White in the middle of his media availability.
Keldon snuck up behind Derrick White pic.twitter.com/uc07lMIzkY— Maddy Skye (@MaddySkye) September 27, 2021
Free-agent addition Doug McDermott spent a few moments chatting with reporters about his new role as a veteran on a young team.
We also heard from new Spurs player Doug McDermott, who says he's always wanted to be in San Antonio.— Maddy Skye (@MaddySkye) September 27, 2021
"I'm really excited to be around these guys, there's a lot of young talent, I'm not used to being the one of the older guys in the room," the 29-year-old said. pic.twitter.com/Xbsjygu02P
And he showed his new head coach Gregg Popovich love, expressing his jubilation at joining the future Hall of Famer.
Doug McDermott on playing for Pop:— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) September 27, 2021
"I have played for a lot of coaches, but now I get to play for the best coach, so I am really excited...I hope I can play for him my whole time here."
Before he was interrupted, Derrick White echoed the sentiment of general excitement while sharing what it’s like to be a leader.
Derrick White says "I've been here for a while. I know what's expected. Just try to get to know people outside of basketball and then try to help them out any way I can. It's been fun and we've got a bunch of new guys."— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) September 27, 2021
The elder statesmen of San Antonio’s young core dispelled concerns about who might run point guard for the Spurs this season.
Derrick White says it doesn't matter who the "point guard" is for the Spurs. Says the team has a bunch of guys who can move the ball and make the right plays.— Jackson Floyd (@JacksonKENS5) September 27, 2021
White closed his presser with some good news, giving everyone an update on his health following an injury-plagued campaign.
Derrick White, self proclaimed "medical marvel", said he feels more healthy now than he's been in the last couple of seasons. Probably some of the best news of the day.— Dan Weiss (@DanWeissPBP) September 27, 2021
Lonnie Walker IV
Lonnie Walker IV lit up when discussing his teammates but said he knows they have plenty to prove.
Lonnie Walker IV says "we're a very young group and we all just love each other. We love to play with each other. We love to be around each other on and off the court. There is a lot of excitement, a lot of opportunity on the court as teammates. And we have a lot to prove."— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) September 27, 2021
The springy swingman was quick to acknowledge how different this team might look after massive roster turnover.
Lonnie Walker IV says "when you look at pacing, when you look at spacing, when you look at transition, defense, I think every aspect of the game is gonna be a lot different."— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) September 27, 2021
And the incredibly articulate 21-year-old implored everyone to stay away from social media and stick to medical professionals when seeking out facts on vaccines.
Best quote from Spurs Media Day courtesy of Lonnie Walker IV:— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) September 27, 2021
"Tik Tok, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, leave it alone. If you want the real information (on COVID vaccines) get it from a family physician or someone that knows."
Murray took a more level-headed approach to talking about the young guys playing at a faster pace, with this unintentionally hilarious quote.
Dejounte next at the podium, says while it’s great to hear that Pop and the players are all on the same page in terms of playing simple and fast, that they still need to stress the importance of structure.— Matthew Tynan (@Matthew_Tynan) September 27, 2021
“It’s the NBA, you can’t just be wildin’”
San Antonio’s longest-tenured player rounded things out discussing taking over the mantle as a leader and face of the franchise.
Spurs guard Dejounte Murray on being the longest tenured player on the roster and taking on more of a leadership role this season…said he’ll lead by example and hard work. #GoSpursGo #KSATsports pic.twitter.com/oGW7E9Wdpn— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) September 27, 2021
Manu Ginobili, Brian Wright, and the rest of the roster, staff, and front office never took the podium, but that shouldn’t keep you from enjoying all the content the Spurs released today.
Wiesy F Baby and the F is for Fiesta pic.twitter.com/rSCMZdL6rZ— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) September 27, 2021
RT if you're excited to watch these two level up this season pic.twitter.com/xKFiWES5K2— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) September 27, 2021
when the crew can’t stop messing around long enough to get the photo pic.twitter.com/TFQVsCjWDq— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) September 27, 2021