Gregg Popovich doesn’t care about the public perception of him as a curmudgeon. He honestly doesn’t care what people think. Period.
But he’s not a curmudgeon. He can by curmudgeonly, but there is a lot more to him than that one side. A really good profile of Pops by Joe Posnanski at NBC got at that. If you pique his interest on something, Popovich can be helpful and enlightening.
Here is an example of that side of him, based on what happened before Game 1 of the Spurs series against the Lakers Sunday (a game the Spurs went on to win). From the Spurs blog at the Express-News.
He used the word “discombobulated,” and the following exchange actually took place. A reporter told him, coincidentally, that “discombobulated” had come up in a recent New York Times crossword puzzle. Did Popovich happen to know a word, six letters and ending in “y,” that means the same?
For those who only see the terse side of his interaction with the media: Popovich wrote a note before the game and sent it to the reporter with two suggestions.
Punchy and groggy.
I have no idea if those were correct (in a quick search online I couldn’t find the puzzle in doubt, and certainly didn’t have time to solve it if I had).
But that’s Popovich. He’s not a simple guy easy to paint into a preconceived box, he’s a rounded and complex person. Who just happens to be the best coach in the game.
Up three points and the final seconds winding down, the Mavericks had a great chance to intentionally foul Trey Lyles (a 62% free-throw shooter) with his back to the basket.
Instead, they allowed Rodney Hood to hit this shot and get the Jazz to overtime.
The Bucks led the Celtics led the Bucks by 19 in the fourth quarter and four in the final minute.
But Boston completed its comeback when Jerryd Bayless committed a boneheaded foul on Kelly Olynyk with a second left, shoving Olynyk in the back on the inbound. Olynyk sunk both free throws to tie the game.
Then, Khris Middleton got Bayless off the hook.
Middleton drew a foul on Avery Bradley, who was trying to contest the game-winning shot. The Milwaukee wing made one free throw then intentionally the second, and Jae Crowder couldn’t replicate this.
Par for the course, Gregg Popovich gave curt answers to end his in-game interview quickly.
But David Aldridge tempted the Spurs coach, asking whether he wanted New Hampshire primary results. Popovich walked back to hear the answer.
Told Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump won, Popovich shook his head.
Was that disapproval for the Democratic or Republican candidate – or both?
The Kings reportedly planned to fire George Karl in the coming days.
Then, Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac met with Karl and changed course.
So, Karl must feel secure, right?
Divac on The Grant Napear Show, as transcribed by Sactown Royalty:
If there’s a power struggle between Karl and DeMarcus Cousins – and there’s evidence of one – why would Cousins (or any players against Karl) let up now? Perhaps, Divac is more committed to Karl than that sounds, but by saying “for now” he opens the door to more campaigning for Karl’s ouster.
This is the worst vote of confidence I’ve ever seen.
As it has for months, Karl’s firing still feels inevitable before his contract expires.