SAN ANTONIO, TX - The evening begins with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich being asked if he knew he won coach of the month for the Western Conference, coach Pop responds, “Is that right?”
The Spurs (24-11) will host the Charlotte Bobcats (4-29) tonight at the AT&T Center, but each team will be without one of their play-makers.
For Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, he was hoping to be ready to make his return tonight, but he’s still not ready according to Popovich.
“Manu’s out,” said Popovich, “and everybody is going to play.”
Everybody means rookie Kawhi Leonard will be in uniform, as will Danny Green and James Anderson.
For Ginobili, Popovich said he’s getting closer each day.
“We’ve changed our decision everyday.”
Focusing on the opponent at hand, coach Popovich knows his team must stay focused and ignore Charlotte’s record.
“Everybody in the NBA can win on any given night,” said Popovich. “Just cause their record isn’t the same as our record, it doesn’t mean they can’t go out and kick our butt if we don’t compete.”
Playing the Bobcats might be the perfect time for the Spurs to work on establishing a new rotation with so many players returning from injury, coach Popovich spoke of the rotations he’s having to work with.
“We think about rotations everyday, because guys are coming back.”
For Popovich, keeping the rotation in sink while adding players is a task he and his coaching staff must handle carefully.
“We think about it everyday,” said Popovich. “How we’re going to keep the rhythm and not screw it up.”
The Bobcats will be without rookie center Bismack Biyombo tonight, and coach Popovich doesn’t expect rookie Kawhi Leonard to get a heavy dose of minutes either.
I learned this when I asked him if Leonard will spend some time defending Bobcats small forward Corey Meggette.
“He won’t spend a lot of minutes on anyone. I have no idea how he’s going to do.” Popovich told me.
When Manu retires, a place in the spurs coaching staff is waiting. He has earned it after playing fruitful time with team. When he retires, who will take his place, somebody old or newcomer? Well, the spurs certainly has the chance this coming draft. Wherever Manu goes, the heart of the spurs fans does with him.
I love Manu a lot but I've never understood why Manu is so frail and fragile like glass. For every little bruise or injury he gets it takes him several weeks to recover from whereas most of the players are able to play through it. Unfortunately I wonder how all the injuries he's suffered is going to overpower all of the awesomeness he's done when looking back at his career. If we do bring him back I think we should just use him in fourth quarter situations or times when we need some kind of energy. Fortunately we don't need him now. I did notice tonight that he was playing part assistant coach on the bench. I think he would make a pretty good assistant coach in the future.