Last season the San Antonio Spurs brought in Garrett Temple out of the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers late in the season to fill in for the injured George Hill and immediately made an impact not only on the court but in the eyes of Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich who referred to him as his favorite.
Now entering his first full season with the Spurs he is hoping to build on his performance and develop other aspects of his game including being a vocal leader.
I caught up with Temple (averaging 3.8 points, 2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in the preseason) in Pittsburgh for a preseason matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers and spoke about his performance in the preseason, being a vocal leader, and much more.
Right before the Q&A we were talking about the Spurs' 106-80 loss to the Cavaliers.
Jeff: Tough loss against the Cavaliers but it seems on the defensive side of the court is what led to this loss.
Garrett: Our effort was really there but we made a couple of mental mistakes defensively that let the Cavs get easy baskets but the effort was there. Coach (Popovich) was putting in a couple of different situational things that we need to do defensively and I think we did a pretty good job carrying out the defensive principles.
In the first few preseason games, your shot hasn't been falling. However, against the Cavaliers you started to connect on some shots.
Yeah I haven't been shooting that much just in general in the last couple of games. I talked with the coaching staff and they told me to relax, let the game come to me and if I have an open shot to take it. That's what I tried to do tonight. I was able to get some guys a couple of shots as well get my own shots.
I was sitting on press row and noticed during the fourth quarter Popovich was going to you to direct the team. At one point I saw you directing Marcus Cousin on where to be on certain plays. Are you trying to be a more vocal leader?
The Spurs are looking for that. They want a guy that's vocal and takes control. Marcus is a guy that hasn't been in this system. I been here and I know what they are looking for. I was just trying to let him know what he needs to do to try to make the team and to be a contributor on the team. I try to be like that with everybody. Also I listen to people like Tony (Parker) and George (Hill).
With the regular season inching closer, how would you assess your game and the state of the Spurs?
First of all, the state of the Spurs is we are still a work in progress. We have a lot of new guys, young guys and with Tim (Duncan), Manu (Ginobili) and Tony (Parker) we are all willing to learn from them as well as Richard (Jefferson) Antonio (McDyess) and Matt Bonner. But us other guys have to find our role, find out how we are going to fit in and let defense be our staple again.
As for me, I just need to relax. Play more like I did tonight. Knock down shots and just guard, guard, guard!
Must be great to finally be heading back home to San Antonio after road games in Mexico City and in Pittsburgh. Speaking of which the next game is against Tiago Splitter's former team Caja Laboral. Has to be exciting not only for him but for the rest of the team.
Yeah Tiago has that injury but he is a great guy. His former team is coming in and he will see his friends but it's just great to come back home. We had a long road trip and we are ready to play again in front of our home crowd at the AT&T Center.
Can't wait for October 27 against the Indiana Pacers can you?
(smiles) No I really can't!