Media day can be filled with a lot of fluff and PR-speak to paint a shining picture of the year to come. Everyone is stronger, more skilled and ready to take on the new season.
If there is one person who is going to shoot straight during their opening press conference, it’s San Antonio Spurs’ head coach, Gregg Popovich. In the first session of media day, the coach spoke about a question the fan base has been ruminating on for months – who will start for the team?
“I’ve had no such discussions with anyone,” Popovich told the media when asked about the starting lineup. “But if Manu Ginóbili can come off the bench, anybody can and I don’t wanna hear it.”
Clearly this dilemma is something the head coach has been thinking about, but has not discussed directly with his players. As it stands the Spurs have a returning core of Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan and Zach Collins. With first-overall-pick Victor Wembanyama joining the team, the assumption is someone could be pushed out of the first five.
This “if Manu could do it, so can anyone” mentality is a pretty good way to frame the situation for anyone who comes off the bench this year. It seems more like an honor to take on a role once filled by one of the best shooting guards of all-time, rather than a knock on their ability.
Popovich gave no other indication as to what player may need to make that sacrifice. He had glowing things to say about Vassell, Collins, Johnson, Sochan and Wembanyama. He also said that he wants to see how Wemby plays for the first few weeks to understand how he will use him on the court. He told the press that he and his staff have an understanding of how the returning players operate.
Defense was yet again a point of emphasis for the head coach. He pointed to how the team finished last season, and said they will need to focus on that end to improve this year. Perhaps defensive ability will be key to earning a starting spot this season.
It seems that whatever decisions is made, it will be based more on winning games than developing individual players.
“Winning is as important this year as learning was in the past,” Popovich said.
Whoever steps into the 6th-man role will likely do so for the betterment of the roster, rather than being demoted to the bench. Following in the footsteps of one of the franchise’s all-time greats is not such a bad thing, after all.
Who will come off the bench for the Spurs this season?
This poll is closed