SAN ANTONIO - While the San Antonio Spurs have had several new faces in camp this week, some of them were on the sidelines as the Spurs closed out training camp at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs today.
With the loss of Mike Budenholzer and Brett Brown this summer, the Spurs brought in Jim Boylen. Also, while no stranger to the Spurs, Sean Marks will now be patrolling the sidelines alongside Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Boylen, Ime Udoka, Chad Forcier and shooting coach Chip Engelland.
“It’s going to be different. We got some good coaches obviously, but not having their energy, they’re humor around and not having their faces is going to be much different, but (I’m) excited for those guys, excited for their opportunities,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said.
For Popovich, losing his former coaches and interviewing candidates for their vacant positions changed quite a bit, including his travel plans.
“I didn’t get anywhere overseas this summer because Bud and Brett were rude enough to leave and we had to do interviews and it changed all my travel plans and had to do other things,” Popovich said. “(It was) very inconsiderate. Who’d want to go get ahead in the job, you know, what are they thinking.”
For a team that has built a legacy on what Popovich calls corporate knowledge, integrating new pieces not only on the roster, but on the bench, will require him to do a little extra coaching.
“I’ve thought about it all summer. Just getting the coaches in as a new group. I walked in the gym and wondered what I was doing here. It was like I didn’t belong,” Popovich said. “They were getting along fine, but I didn’t know any of them. I feel like I’ll have to coach the coaches and let Tim, Tony and Manu take care of the team, and I’ll just show up for the games. I’ll be too busy coaching the coaches. During the games I’m going to look to my right and left and it’s going to feel different to start with.”
It’ll feel different to several of the players as well. Manu Ginobili said Brett Brown worked him out for the last 11 years and the pair rarely talked about basketball and instead shared stories of Australia and Argentina.
Aside from providing some bonding time for the players, having training camp away from San Antonio likely put the coaching staff on the fast track to getting on the same page as they have an open workout on Sunday before their first preseason game against CSKA Moskow on October 9.
I like Boylen and the new mix of coaches. Boylen will bring the nasty. Only concern is Manu stated he's going to miss Brown because evidently he was the guy players talked to when they needed to talk to someone. That's a big gap and teams need that guy, even vets. Hopefully that guy emerges quickly.
I think the Spurs corporate knowledge is a HUGE thing-but on the other hand, Ime and Sean played for Pop-they 'get it' and obviously Chip gets it. The infusion of Boylen and Forcier is a good thing imho. Sometimes things get stagnant internally (creativity and new ideas don't emerge as they once did) when the top tier leaders have been together for a long time. That can happen in any organization. I think it's good to have this new infusion. The corporate values won't change-the corporate knowledge won't really be impacted....
But the corporate wisdom and creativity might actually expand a bit which will in and of itself can be refreshing for the players. We'll see soon enough.
There will be some new wrinkles offensively and defensively and that's a good thing too,.