Posts Tagged ‘Gregg Popovich’

MUSCLEWATCH 2014 (Update 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s a Friday in the fall, which means it’s time for…wait for it…MUSCLEWATCH!

What, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? I really hope by now you’re not still asking that question. But basically, it stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that our local paper would always report that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12, never 16, never 9, never 18, always 15 pounds of muscle. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. I started chronicling this each season in my blog over at SLAM, and eventually MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thad Young and Rudy Gay.

If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, please tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.

One question I saw on Twitter that’s worth addressing…

No. Despite my best efforts, it’s impossible to tabulate a precise number. Has anyone counted all the stars in the sky? Do we know how many broken dreams line Broadway? No, no we don’t. It’s better to just understand that there are thousands if not millions of pounds won and lost out there and keep it moving.

WHEN WE LAST LEFT MUSCLEWATCH, there was a lot of sound and fury and MUSCLE, but not a lot of detail. Let’s get into the MUSCLE…

• Once again, actual NBA teams are using the #MUSCLEWATCH hashtag, as we saw in this tweet from the Toronto Raptors regarding Terrence Ross

That tweet was welcome, if a bit vague, so we also appreciate this clarification from Holly McKenzie, from which we learn Ross actually put on the MUSCLEWATCH gold standard of 15 pounds…

HOWEVER! Nobody actually specified if it’s 15 pounds of MUSCLE. And it matters, believe me, it matters.

• Last week we saw a few MUSCLEWATCH names in Minnesota, and we get more detail this, as Anthony Bennett, Ronny Turiaf and Shabazz Muhammad got into some, frankly, really weird workout stuff. Just read the beginning of this story

The children are slipping down Shabazz Muhammad’s back, inches away from falling into a pit of whitewater rapids and fire.
As Muhammad gropes for another handhold, his entire weight and an additional 100 pounds of helpless youth suspended above the perils below, he falters. A pair of guiding hands help steady him but only for a moment. Regaining his balance and summoning some interior-laden surge of strength, he climbs his way to safety while the kids on his back remain unharmed.

They worked out using HELPLESS YOUTH! Children were SLIPPING DOWN HIS BACK INTO A DEATH TRAP WHIRLPOOL! OK, OK, this was all imaginary, but still, this is extreme MUSCLEWATCH. No wonder they call their guy Hell’s Trainer.

Despite the insane workout, Muhammad said he came into camp at 224, which is two pounds more than he supposedly weighed a year ago before the draft. And Bennett, according to the story above, lost “about 10 pounds.” So while they each may be in much better shape, for MUSCLEWATCH purposes they still have some work to do.

Kobe Bryant has had a love-hate relationship with MUSCLEWATCH through the years, and this year is no different. A few months ago, paparazzi photos seemed to suggest that Kobe had put on, well, a few pounds. But then Kobe showed up in camp looking svelte, and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak suggested Kobe had lost 10-12 pounds.

How did Kobe do it? By eating “clean.”

I guess that means a lot of hand washing?

• We need to send a shoutout to Utah Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy from the Deseret News, who has been all over MUSCLEWATCH, including several tweets…

And since we’re talking Jazz, we’ve had our first-ever announcer appearance on MUSCLEWATCH, as Jazz radio voice David Locke was reported to be in phenomenal shape…

I caught up with David this week and he confirmed that he is feeling good, although he noted that once the season begins his bicycling regimen will likely fall by the wayside. Still, a terrific showing all around in Utah. We salute you!

• Bonjour, Monsieur Diaw! Spurs forward Boris Diaw has had some ups and downs with his weight through the years. At Spurs media day this season, coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged Diaw’s struggle…

Boris used social media to respond, as one should, with the following photo and this caption: “No worries pop only one glass of wine and daily workouts!”

Also, thanks to the San Antonio Express News, which put together a 117-photo gallery about which players are and are not arriving in shape in San Antonio.

• WE HAVE A CONTENDER! Add Kendrick Perkins to the long list of guys who have dropped weight this summer, and with Perk, unlike with LeBron and Melo, we actually have a concrete number…

• Up in Boston, Celtics forward Jeff Green has put on some MUSCLE…

And Kelly Olynyk is “definitely stonger,” with a #MUSCLEWATCH in the story!!

• And finally, in Phoenix, Alex Len has apparently added “10-15 pounds.” Of MUSCLE? Well, that’s unclear.

See you next week. Keep MUSCLING!

Boris Diaw is living the life

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The NBA Finals shifted irrevocably when Gregg Popovich inserted Boris Diaw into the San Antonio Spurs’ starting lineup for Game 3. After two games that were rather close, including a Miami win in Game 2, Diaw helped space the floor and move the ball, and the Spurs won three straight games in decisive fashion to win the championship. Kawhi Leonard may have been the Finals MVP, but Diaw was unarguably crucial to what the Spurs accomplished.

This summer, Diaw became a free agent, and without much drama he agreed to a three-year extension to remain a member of the Spurs. He announced the extension via Instagram with a photo of “GO SPURS GO” spelled out on a beach…

Then yesterday, Diaw actually signed the contract…while on a boat. As Diaw wrote in the caption, “Could i find a better place to sign my extension with the spurs? #gospursgo” No, I don’t think you could, Boris.

Golden State Warriors train animals with Greg Popovich


VIDEO: Warriors and Popovich

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — No, not Gregg Popovich, Spurs coach. This is about Greg Popovich, an animal trainer and magician. Just watch the video.

They had me when they mentioned the “troupe of comedy pet performers.”

Gregg Popovich’s fashion strategies may need work

2014 NBA Finals - Game Two

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERWWD, short for Women’s Wear Daily, is a popular fashion trade publication. Besides covering the business news of the realm, they also look at the current news through a fashion lens. Which perhaps explains why San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was chosen as their Man of the Week. Which is quite an honor, although WWD seems to not quite approve of Pop’s sideline style.

WWD breaks down Pop’s suit from Game 2 of the Finals. I’m guessing that suit was probably the least important thing on Pop’s mind that day, but whatever. While they have nice things to say about Pop’s haircut (it “suits his powerful position”), they have concerns about his shirt, questions about the cut of his pants, and are really down on his shoes (“completely wrong for this outfit”). All in all, WWD says Popovich’s suit grades out at a C-.

The good news? When it comes to accessories, Pop has the game on lock. Because five rings goes with just about anything…

poprings

The San Antonio Spurs and the beautiful game

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you hadn’t noticed, the San Antonio Spurs are doing it again — quietly, efficiently, ruthlessly winning their way toward another trip to the NBA Finals. They play their system, they keep pounding that rock, and they never, ever deviate from what got them here. While this has proven to be an effective strategy in terms of winning games, it’s not always all that exciting to watch for casual fans. This video does a terrific job highlighting exactly what makes the Spurs so good and so worth your time. You don’t have to be a fan, but if you love hoops, you should respect the game…


VIDEO: Spurs beautiful game

Horry Scale: Vince’s victory

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


VIDEO: VC GWBB

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week we looked at the regular-season Horry Scale in full. Now, with the playoffs in full swing, it took just at a week to have our first postseason Horry Scale entry.

What is the Horry Scale? For those who are new around these parts, the Horry Scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.

One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations … basically, everything surrounding and including the shot. So when I gave Randy Foye a 3 Horry rating, that wasn’t only a reflection of his shot, which was admittedly remarkable, as I wrote, but also the play, which was awful. Taj Gibson’s lefty layup wasn’t the toughest shot, but that inbounds play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.

Counting the regular season, this gives us a record-setting 18 Horry Scale entries this season. Let’s take a closer look at Vince Carter‘s game-winning three in Game 3 against San Antonio from earlier today…

DIFFICULTY
The corner three-pointer is supposedly the “easiest” three-pointer. Which doesn’t mean it’s easy, obviously. But it is a shorter shot than a straight-away or wing three. But what if you’re shooting from the corner and you’re fading away? And what if you’re covered as tightly as a smedium shirt by Manu Ginobili, with inches to get the shot off?

And what if you have less than 2 seconds left to release the shot? Well, add all those factors together and you’ve got a nearly impossible shot. Thing is, nobody told Vince Carter.

GAME SITUATION
PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS! The pressure doesn’t get any higher than in the postseason. As for the play itself, Dallas had the ball down two, after Ginobili scored on the other end to give San Antonio the lead. You’d think Dallas might go either Dirk or Monta, both of whom have made visits to the Horry Scale this season. You would, however, be wrong. Because, of course, the Mavs went to Vince Carter instead…

To get Vince open on the inbound play, the Mavs stacked up Vince, Dirk and Brandan Wright, then ran Monta Ellis off the triple screen. As Ellis popped free at the top, Vince ducked to the corner, caught, spun and drained the shot. Good defense from Manu, better shot by Vince. Catch, spin, shot, bottom. Win.

CELEBRATION
Probably the best all-around celebration of the season. This is partially a function of it happening in the playoffs, when the intensity is already ratcheted up high. When the shot went through, the American Airlines Center went crazy. The Mavs all surrounded Vince and celebrated with him. Two other things that we should note? Right in the center of the Mavs celebration was owner Mark Cuban

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 7.51.09 PM

Hey, if I owned an NBA team and we won a playoff game on a last-second shot, I’d be up in that celebration, too.

Also, as the Mavs celebrated, we got a quick glimpse at stoic Popovich

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 7.51.32 PM

:-|

GRADE
This is when it all counts. Heckuva situation, heckuva shot. As far as a grade, this one really had it all. I was thinking somewhere between 4 and 5 Horrys. And you know what? We’re going with 5 Horrys for this one, our first five Horry shot of the season…

horry-starhorry-starhorry-starhorry-starhorry-star

Now it’s your turn! How many Horrys would you give Vince Carter’s shot?

Spurs’ Team Selfie Takes Twitter By Storm

By Nick Margiasso IV

Hey, Oscars … anything you can do, the San Antonio Spurs can do better. Tuesday afternoon, the Western Conference’s top-seeded squad took a cue from last month’s now infamous and star-studded selfie posted by daytime talk show celeb Ellen DeGeneres at the aforementioned award show, posting one of their own to kick off the team’s upcoming fan night festivities.

So, eat your heart out Ellen and friends!

–Coach Pop & the crew

Follow the team on Twitter @spurs.

Gregg Popovich Continues Compelling Sideline Interview Tour

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We have previously observed Gregg Popovich‘s ability to turn any sideline interview into performance art. Last night, as the injury-plagued Spurs trailed heading to the fourth quarter against the Bulls, Coach Pop used the sideline interview with ESPN’s Mark Jones to really boil the game down to its essence…


VIDEO: Pop’s Two Word Interview

Gregg Popovich Gives Most Revealing Sideline Interview Yet

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Through the years, we’ve seen Spurs coach Gregg Popovich make some sort of performance art out of in-game sideline interviews. He doesn’t seem to like doing them, and he is at least blunt about his feelings. Yet last night on ESPN, longtime NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy took over the Popovich interview duties, and finally got Pop to embrace the in-game interview. Literally.


VIDEO: Pop vs. Van Gundy

Pranking With The Spurs Big Three

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just in case you haven’t noticed, right now the San Antonio Spurs have the best record in the Western Conference, at 13-1. They have won 11 games in a row, are 7-0 at home, and their last (and only) loss this season was all the way back on November 2.

Hey, we get it: The Spurs do what they do. They execute, they move the ball, they defend, they win. It’s not rocket science. But they do this with such remarkable consistency that it can become almost stultifying. People start to think of the Spurs as basketball robots — they have no feelings, no emotions, they just want to make the proper passes and find the open guys and oh hey the Spurs won again.

Which is why this video clip is so valuable: During the waning moments of a recent 30-point win over Cleveland, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had his big three (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan) resting on the bench. And here, caught on video, we see Manu pull the old “Make Tim Duncan sit on the paper cup” trick.
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VIDEO: Big Three Pranking

We know the Spurs are great, but now they’re actually having fun, too? Watch out. Next thing you know Tim Duncan will be throwing his warm-up jacket at analyst Sean Elliott

131121_td_se

(GIF via r/NBA)