Coach Gregg Popovich hosted, alongside Team USA, the best representing basketball in America last weekend in Las Vegas. Although the week long camp was filled with press availability and meet and greets, Pop managed to get in a few scrimmages and drills for the players to test the water and see what kind of talent he has for next year’s FIBA World Cup and then the 2020 Olympics which will be held in Tokyo, Japan. The field included superstars like Blake Griffin, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George. Most notably absent was former San Antonio Spurs forward, Kawhi Leonard. But, the newest Spurs guard was there, DeMar DeRozan, who got his chance to finally work with his soon to be head coach in San Antonio.
Most were curious to see how their relationship would start off since DeRozan was still disgruntled about how the franchise he loved so much in Toronto would trade themselves into a risky and uncertain future with Leonard. Having earned the respect he’s worked for over the past 20 years, Pop and DeRozan hit it off like they’ve been around each other for years. The two were often seen laughing and sharing long conversations between drills. Perhaps this mini-camp was just what the Spurs fans needed to calm the nerves as we head into the next season. The fans will see the kind of team we really haven’t seen before, a young, new, and fresh team. Fans will be excited to see that Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli, and as of right now, Manu Ginobili, are with us from the 2014 Championship team, but fans have never seen a younger and different skill set team in quite a long time. Every single member on the team currently has a skill others on the team don’t, yet there is one skill that they all have in common. They are all willing to learn and adjust. There are players that stick to what they are good at and just settle. For example, centers Andre Drummond from the Pistons and DeAndre Jordan from the Mavericks. Both known for their dominance in the paint offensively and both strong rebounders. Now don’t get me wrong, these guys are both stars and great NBA bigs right now. But, my gosh, they continually hurt their teams late in games with their free throw shooting. Drummond was forced to sit late in playoff games and Jordan would cost crucial points that could’ve put the Clippers farther in the playoffs. With the tutelage of Coach Pop, we’ve seen recent videos of current Spurs guards Bryn Forbes and DeJounte Murray working out their games and underdeveloped flaws, and with noticeably more muscles. These young guards listened and learned. Sure, many fans thought Leonard and his camp created a dark cloud around the Spurs and San Antonio but in reality, they actually did the opposite. This team is learning from their past mistakes, adjusting their game and realizing just how much potential they’ve had all along. This might be the season and team to give the Western Conference of Titans a run for the money. In the words of the great Muhammed Ali “The best ways to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” Time to wake up Spurs, go Spurs go!
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